We are huge fans of Fabrice Pouillon's work at his Domaine R. Pouillon et fils. He is making champagnes that are expressive, powerful and wonderfully seasoned with carefully judged oxidative elements. I was hooked ever since tasting the wonderfully complex 'entry-level' cuvée réserve and it's particularly exciting now to have the opportunity to present a sweeping range of expressions from the domaine.
Fabrice has made organic farming a priority since taking over fully in 2004, and utilizes biodynamic preparations as well. Cover crops are abundant in his vineyards and the yields are kept low. His diligent work is clearly paying off in these Champagnes whose vibrancy ís impressive and whose sense of delineation between cuvées is clear. Fabrice is very fortunate to have holdings in the prime villages of Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and he certainly makes the most of them. Coursing through all of these cuvées is a masterful combination of concentrated fruit and vivid minerality.
Grande Vallée is the rechristening of the Cuvée Réserve which we had difficulty keeping any stock of. Mostly Pinot Noir with a touch of Meunier and Chardonnay, this wine sees a healthy dose from the perpetual cuvée. It is a fantastic introduction to the Pouillon style, with aromatics of ripe quince, dried sweet fruits and a touch of nutmeg. If you love gently oxidative, ripe and Pinot dominant Champagne, you'll be very happy with this bottle.
Le Montgruguet is a site on the hill Les Goisses, with very little topsoil, so that impressive hunks of chalk can be seen. The cuvée is entirely Pinot Noir and there is a thrilling interplay here between ripe red fruits and strong chalky minerality.
The 'Valnons' from the lieu-dit 'Valnons Froid Cul' is an intriguing Blanc de Blancs from the Pinot Noir stronghold of Aÿ. It's a ripe and fascinatingly textural expression of Chardonnay.
Les Blanchiens is an equal parts blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Mareuil. It is a Champagne of notable aromatic complexity and depth. The nose has beautiful aromatics of bitter orange and Lapsang Souchong, while the palate has satisfying drive. The combination of brioche and crystalline citrus is invigorating. Not to be missed...