It pains us a little to admit it, but when looking at history, culture, and terroir, France remains the homeland of sparkling wines, without wanting to belittle the work of small and large Italian producers who have made tremendous strides over the years. Champagne is an enormous region just outside Paris, a territory ravaged by numerous wars but filled with a constant strength and will to rise again, which have become its characteristic traits over the centuries.
Among the over fifteen thousand houses present in the region, at Mota, we have selected a few for our cellar. It is a passionate and careful work that holds the dual value of satisfying our passion for sparkling wines and offering our customers and friends labels of the highest quality.
Therefore, as we find ourselves in front of a glass in our wine shop, we thought of compiling a list, in no particular order, of our top 5 favorite Champagnes, absolutely not to be missed during a stay at Mota.
The Blanc de Noirs by Fleury, produced with Pinot Noir grapes, is an elegant and mineral sparkling wine, complex in terms of taste and aromas but also characterized by a pronounced acidity. The history of this house dates back to 1895 when the master grafter Emile Fleury planted the first Pinot Noir vineyards in Courteron, a small village with a strong viticultural vocation located in the heart of the Côte des Bar, the southernmost part of Champagne. After various phases, from generation to generation, the vineyards were first converted to organic farming and later to biodynamic practices. Today, Jean-Sebastien, Benoît, and Morgane Fleury produce Champagne using entirely natural methods, both in the vineyard and in the cellar.
Moving towards the Montagne de Reims, the most prestigious region of Champagne, we encounter Bérèche et Fils and their Brut Reserve. This champagne, with fruity undertones and a bouquet that conveys floral and spicy notes, is a true collector's item for sparkling wine enthusiasts. The historic cellar of the Bérèche family was founded in 1847 and is now managed by the young brothers Raphael and Vincent, who carry on an ideal of viticulture and winemaking that translates into unique, artisanal labels with a strong territorial appeal. To make their production even more expressive, the Bérèche brothers divide their vineyards among hills with different terroirs, allowing them to create unique and inimitable blends. The Brut Reserve Champagne is composed of a blend of the three main grape varieties of Champagne: 35% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier, and 30% Chardonnay. The grapes come from three vineyards located in the main Cru of Ludes, Ormes, and Mareuil le Port.
Another essential label in our cellar is the Terre de Vertus from Maison Larmandier Bernier, an undosed vintage of great precision and purity that expresses the best characteristics of Chardonnay from the famous Premier Cru of Vertus. Terre de Vertus is born from the cultivation of vines using biodynamic agriculture, where each year the grapes are meticulously hand-harvested, selecting only the best clusters. The result is a highly concentrated complexity and elegance. Terre de Vertus is a Champagne of great tension and energy, characterized by a fresh and profound sip and a rich aromatic wealth. It is definitely worth trying.
And when it comes to Champagne that is always worth tasting whenever you have the opportunity, there is one label that stands out among all the others: Le Mont Benoît. This Extra Brut, produced in very limited bottles, is a blend of three classic Champagne grape varieties, namely Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay, following the methods of one of France's most esteemed vigneron, Emmanuel Brochet. After inheriting the family vineyards in Villers-aux-Nœuds, a few kilometers south of the city of Reims, Emmanuel Brochet stopped producing for others and began creating his own Monocru of excellence. Le Mont Benoît is the perfect example of the excellence of a small cru, a true surprise for the palate and the heart: try it to believe it.
Last but not least, our recommendation falls on the Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature by Charlot Pére et fils, a monocépage produced from Chardonnay grapes according to the principles of biodynamic agriculture in the lieu-dit Sous le Bois, in the heart of the Marne Valley. In a region dominated by large houses, Charlot Pére et fils is asserting itself as an increasingly important reality, thanks to its shift towards biodynamic practices in the mid-2000s and the great skill of vigneron Pierre, capable of emphasizing two fundamental aspects: craftsmanship and quality. The bottle, beautifully designed, is characterized by a red cross on a white field, but it is its content that truly makes the difference. Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature is a Champagne of great elegance and finesse, with significant gustatory and olfactory complexity that we will always be delighted to uncork for you!
Cheers, or rather, Santé!