Champagne village profile: Courteron in the Barséquanais, a village with several biodynamical producers

Diagram Courteron 201606Key facts

Located in subregion/area: Côte des Bar / Barséquanais
Vineyards and grape varieties: 84.5 hectares (208.8 acres), of which 89% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay, and 0.7% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: “Autre cru” (80%)
Noted for: home village of Fleury

Maps

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Google Maps view with the villages in the Barséquanais highlighted.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile (if it exists).

Neighbouring villages within the Champagne appellation

North and west: Gyé-sur-Seine
Northeast: Loches-sur-Ource
East: Essoyes
South: Plaines-Saint-Lange

The village

Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Jeanpierrecd, 2015)

Courteron is located in the southern part of the Aube department, at the Seine river. This area is sometimes called the Seine valley, Vallée de la Seine.

The Courteron commune has a surface of 1033 ha and has 110 inhabitants (as of 2013), referred to as Coutreniots and Coutreniottes.

In Courteron there are 12 cadoles, a type of older stone huts typical for this area.

Vineyards

The vineyards in Courteron are primarily located in the northeastern part of the commune, in a block that stretches across the communal borders to Gyé-sur-Seine and Essoyes. There is also some vineyards in the southern part of the commune. The vineyards are dominated by Pinot Noir.

The current vineyard surface in the Courteron commune is 84.5 hectares (208.8 acres). There are 75.2 ha Pinot Noir (89.0%), 8.3 ha Chardonnay (9.8%), 0.6 ha Pinot Meunier (0.7%), and 0.4 ha others (0.5%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 66 ha. There are 22 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

An unusually high proportion of the vineyards in Courteron are cultivated biodynamically since the early 1990s. The three producers Fleury, Alain Réaut, and Erick Schreiber together have about 32.5 ha of vineyards in Courteron and surrounding villages, and their entire vineyard holdings are biodynamical since the early-mid 1990s. As far as I know, this is an unsurpassed concentration of biodynamically oriented producers in a single village, given the size of the village and its vineyards.

Champagne producers

Champagne houses/négociants

The producer status NM = négociant-manipulant means that purchased grapes can be included in the Champagnes. NM producers can be anything from small producers that supplement their own grapes with some that they buy in, to large Champagne houses that primarily rely on purchased grapes.

  • Cottet-Dubreuil (NM), whose range includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Fleury (NM), a well-renowned Champagne house with 15 ha of vineyards planted to 85% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay, 3% Pinot Blanc, and 2% Pinot Noir. The vineyards are cultivated biodynamically. Their own vineyards are supplemented by bought-in grapes from an additional 8 ha that are also run biodynamically, from two other Courteron growers: Alain Réaut and Erick Schreiber (who both sell a smaller proportion under their own name). The average annual production at Fleury is 200 000 bottles. The wines are partly vinified in oak barrels, with a higher proportion of iak in some vintage Champagnes. The regular vintage Champagne is partly sold with a high age, so several vintages can be found on the market; the composition is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay (refers to the 1995 vintage). At least the 1995 vintage has been sold with three different levels of dosage – Extra Brut, Brut, and Doux – under the name  Trilogie. Cépages Blancs is a vintage Champagne from 100% Chardonnay (refers to the 2005 vintage). Formerly, also Pinot Blanc was included. Robert Fleury is a vintage Champagne from old vines and is composed of 30% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, 25% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier (refers to the 2004 vintage). A proportion of Pinot Blanc has been used since the 1997 vintage. Notes Blanches is a 100% Pinot Blanc which is non-vintage, but that started to be produced in the 2009 vintage. Sonate No 9 is a non-vintage 100% Pinot Noir bottled without any sulfur, and was introduced using grapes from the 2009 vintage. Given the viticulture and vinification at Fleury, this is a “natural wine” type of Champagne, although I don’t see them using that term.
    History
    The producer was founded in 1895 by Émile Fleury, who then left over to Robert Fleury, who in 1929 produced his first own Champagne, which was early for Barséquanais. Jean-Pierre Fleury took over from his father in 1962. He started to use organic methods of cultivation in the 1970s and in 1989 was the first in Champagne to convert his vineyards to biodynamic cultivation. Initially, 3 ha were converted and in 1992 the entire holdings. Erick Schreiber and Alain Réaut followed suit, and became suppliers. Fleury is a member of the biodynamics organisation Renaissance des appellations since its founding in 1999. Pinot Blanc has a long history in Fleury’s vineyards, and was cultivated already by Émile. This wasn’t unusual at the time, but not all have kept this grape variety.

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name.

  • Maurice Deguise (RM), has 6.5 ha of vineyards in Courteron, Gyé-sur-Seine, Buxeuil, Celles-sur-Ource, and Loches-sur-Ource.
  • Dubreuil Frères (RM)
  • Bernard Hubschwerlin (RM), has 4,3 ha of vineyards. Blanc Prestige is a non-vintage cuvée of 90% Pinot Blanc (“Blanc Vrai”) and 10% Pinot Meunier. The range also includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Ambroise Laurent (RM, Facebook page), has 7 ha of vineyards in Gyé-sur-Seine and  Neuville-sur-Seine with 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay.
  • Mannoury (RC), also Mannoury E&M, the range of which includes a vintage Champagne composed of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2010 and 2011 vintages).
  • Alain Réaut, formerly Réaut-Noirot, has 11 ha of vineyards, mostly in Courteron. The vineyards are run biodynamically since 1992 with Demeter classification since 1995. The grapes are mostly sold to Fleury, but a smaller part is sold under the Alain Réaut name. (Grapes from about 1 ha were at least earlier sold to a larger “conventional” Champagne house, since the plot was affected by herbicides from neigbouring vineyards.) Also produces Champagnes for Erick Schreiber.
  • Erick Schreiber, has 6.5 ha of vineyards in several villages with 70% Pinot Noir, 17% Chardonnay, 6% Pinot Blanc, 4.5% Pinot Meunier, and 2.5% Pinot Blanc. Sells the produce of 2.5 ha under the Erick Schreiber name, corresponding to about 25 000 bottles annually. The vineyards are run biodynamically with a Demeter classification since 1993. Erick Schreiber is one of two biodynamical growers in Courteron that sell grapes to Fleury. The Champagnes are specified as produced by Réaut-Noirot.
    History
    Erick Schreiber was initially working under Jean-Pierre Fleury and then acquired vineyards of his own, which he started to convert to biodynamical cultivation. Half of them were converted in 1990 and all in 1992. Older Erick Schreiber bottles are indicated on the label as produced by Fleury.

Comment: the list may be incomplete.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016, senaste uppdatering 2016-07-21

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