In a region where our fundamental point of entry tends to be producer rather than place, it’s understandable that most of our discussions about Champagne center on producer style. One side effect of this particularity is the implicit pressure producers feel to consciously define a house style, which presumably becomes the unifying feature of her wines. ‘Lean, low-dosage,’ and ‘textural, oxidative’ have become meaningful headings under which innumerable producers have sought a clearly marketable direction for their wines.
Fabrice Pouillon’s intelligent and intuitive approach tends to result in wines that are great vinous aggregators; they resist categorization, and impress instead through their unusual singularity and quiet force of expression. And his cuvée ’Solera’ - maddeningly hard as it is to find - is perhaps his magnum opus. There is a lot of mature wine in the blend, and the resulting vitality-meets-developed aromatics are so seamless, so beautifully integrated. If you’ve had one too many teeth-numbing Blanc de Blancs this summer, perk up! This wine convincingly reminds us that the first step to singularity lies not in choosing, but in the very refusal to do so. - Jason
As with Anselme Selosse’s lieux-dits the idea of this Champagne is to foreground the expression of a particular terroir (here Mareuil) by limiting the effect of vintage variation in blending many years. I’m not sure that the character of Mareuil-sur-Äy (or any village) is best represented by this method*, in the final analysis, but I know that this Champagne is delicious, complex, vinous and, as with the best wines anywhere, deeply its own.
This Champagne is 50% Chardonnay and Pinot Noir all from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The perpetual cuvée contains wines of every vintage since 1997. About 70% of each bottling consists of this solera which is then racked off to be blended with 30% new wine prior to secondary fermentation. As with some bottlings of Selosse, this is a wine to decant- or indeed to cellar for another couple of years (or more). This Solera is complex, bright and energetic but most of all intensely savory. Aromatics of pear, red currant, and white flowers meet toasted baguette. It’s a welter of layers that reveal themselves over time, like opulent fabrics piled to heaven. I encourage you try a bottle now and to cellar another couple as this splendid cuvée is clearly holding much in reserve.
*Perhaps an infelicitous comparison but consider a solera of Vosne, Clos Saint Jacques or Montrachet…