Chartogne-Taillet, Champagne Cuvée Sainte Anne NV
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Fiacre Taillet, winegrower in Merfy in 1485, was the first of a long line of family winegrowers in Merfy.
Another Fiacre Taillet, born in 1700, was an enlightened winemaker who wrote extensive memoirs about his life and his work, as well as the economic, political and cultural environment of the region in the early 18th century. Following this, first Laurent, then Antoine Taillet continued to write logs, passing the family tradition on from father to son, one generation to the next. Today, Alexandre Chartogne-Taillet maintains written logs of his own, as his parents Philippe and Elisabeth did before him.
Since 2006, Alexandre has been dedicated to the family's work, seeking to share with you the wines of the village of Merfy.
Merfy's vineyards are located in the Montagne de Reims, 8 kilometers (5 miles) away from Reims on the southern tip of the Massif de Saint-Thierry, an area that has enjoyed a long winegrowing tradition.
These south- and southeast-facing hillsides have been planted with vines since the arrival of the Romans, and were further developed in the 7th century by monks from the Abbey of Saint-Thierry.
As early as the 9th century, the vineyards surrounding this abbey represented the highest concentration of vineyard land in Champagne. The village of Merfy has long been known for the quality of its wines: Merfy's wines were served at the tables of kings, and were exported as early as the 12th century.
Merfy continues to produce exceptional Champagnes, representative of its distinctive soils and vineyards. Today at Chartogne-Taillet, all of our champagnes are grown entirely in the vineyards of Merfy.
No Meunier this time, though it could return in the future. 80% 2006 and 20% '05-'04,
i.e., a year older than any of the others NVs. 60% CH 40% PN, disgorged late 1/10 and
the rs is about half what it was even two years ago. This is becoming very fine, and
watch out; it's entirely different from its old apples-and-butter form, more oystery and
chalky and ginger and talc, with the apple-butter thing skulking in the mid-palate. It's
racy, on the tensile side. I'd be a lot happier with three more grams of rs, but you won't
agree if you prefer a vigorously dry Champagne.
The terroir in the village of Merfy, where Chartogne-Taillet resides, could be described as over looked'.
Many of Merfy's growers are still selling all of their fruit, replanting vines before they obtain significant age in order to harvest higher yields.
This is why the wines of Chartogne-Taillet stand out because they are in a village where they are the only récoltant-manipulant ("grower Champagne"), forging a place for Merfy's consideration amongst great terroir. The young Alexandre Chartogne is certainly the Grower working most diligently in Merfy. He maintains older vines, cultivates the unique terroir and works toward harmonious and often organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard. "Respect for the terroir means preserving old vines as long as possible, limiting yields and analyzing the soil of each parcel in respect of nature," words of Father Philippe Chartogne.
Understanding of true terroir is tradition in the Chartogne family which has had vines here since 1683!
By putting in this extra effort, Alexandre and his family have been able to grow their vine's root systems to depths of 20 meters or more, where the vines are "living in two different environments," Alexandre says.
One, in the thick top soil made of sand and clay Alexandre claims this is what brings out the soft roundness of fruit in the wine. The sub-layer is pure chalk, where these deep roots extract real minerality.
The Cuvee St. Anne is a gentle crowd pleaser of a wine that makes a wonderful, versatile accompaniment to most any meal.