Thursday, June 19, 2008

Françoise Bedel, Crouttes-sur-Marne

While there are an increasing number of producers in Champagne working with biodynamic viticulture, there are very few who have committed to it entirely. One of the most prominent of them is Françoise Bedel in Crouttes-sur-Marne, in the Vallée de l’Aisne. Bedel arrived at biodynamics through a roundabout road: in 1982, she sought homeopathic treatment for her son Vincent’s medical condition, and she credits this homeopathic practitioner, Robert Winer, for steering her towards a biodynamic worldview. Over the following years, she became increasingly disillusioned with the methods and practices at her family-owned winery, and wanted to incorporate the ideas and philosophies that she had learned from Mr. Winer into her professional life. “There was a philosophic element that was missing in my work,” she says. “I knew I wanted to do more, but I didn’t know what.”

The answer came in 1996, when she met Jean-Pierre Fleury of Champagne Fleury, who had begun biodynamic viticulture in 1989. After tasting the wines of Fleury and other biodynamic practitioners from various wine regions, she decided to convert two hectares to biodynamics in 1998, and the following year began conversion of the entire estate. Today Bedel farms a total of 8.4 hectares (20.75 acres), all certified biodynamic by Ecocert. Bedel notes a pronounced difference in the wines before and after biodynamics. “There’s a certain rectilinear character in the wines now,” she says. “The flavors are more intimate, with a greater profundity and expression.”

Bedel’s wines are aged for an extremely long time on the lees, and they need plenty of air to show their best once they’re opened. I wouldn’t hesitate to decant these wines, and depending on the individual wine, I often find that I prefer them in tulips or wider glasses rather than traditional champagne flutes. The brut sans année (sold only in France) is called Origin’elle — the current release is based on the 2000 harvest, composed of 81 percent meunier, 12 percent pinot noir and 7 percent chardonnay. Six years of lees aging is virtually unheard of for a basic brut, and the yeasty, autolytic character here is almost overpowering, although there’s plenty of spicy, earthy depth underneath to back it up.

Located in the far west of the Champagne region, Crouttes-sur-Marne lies only about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Paris, and the soils in this area are largely argilo-calcaire (a mix of clay and chalk), with some limestone and stony terrain in the neighboring village of Charly. Bedel offers a geological comparison in the form of two cuvées: Dis, Vin Secret, from limestone parcels, and Entre Ciel et Terre, grown on argilo-calcaire. The current release of Dis, Vin Secret is made of 86 percent meunier, 8 percent pinot noir and 6 percent chardonnay, and it’s based on the 2003 vintage, which gives it a richly spicy, roasted apple character. It’s broad, round and full in flavor but it’s not at all heavy, and the finish is dominated by a deliciously savory, brothy minerality that makes me think of grüner veltliner. Its intense minerality makes it feel quite dry, and I was shocked to find out that it actually has 11 grams of dosage. The balance is impeccable.

Entre Ciel et Terre is currently based on the 1999 vintage, composed of 72 percent meunier and 14 percent each of chardonnay and pinot noir. Upon first being opened, it’s nutty and intensely leesy, needing some time to reveal more complex flavors of orange peel, dried apple, spiced plum and blackcurrant. It’s sleek and racy under the rich flavors, showing a vividly energetic fragrance and persistent length on the finish. Bedel told me that limestone produces a rounder wine, while argilo-calcaire gives a greater sense of verticality and cut. I would have expected the reverse, but these two wines certainly back up her statements.

Bedel’s vintage wine is called L’Âme de la Terre, and as it’s selected by a blind tasting of base wines in the cellar, the composition can differ radically from vintage to vintage. The current release, 1998, is composed of roughly equal parts of all three varieties, showing ample aromas of apple, white peach and redcurrant that expand with terrific dimension and persistence on the finish, all backed by subtly stony minerality. It’s an intriguing comparison with another 1998 vintage wine called Comme Autrefois, which is fermented and aged in barrel, bottled by hand and finished with cork instead of capsule for its second fermentation. This is largely meunier (78 percent), and feels even deeper in flavor than the Âme de la Terre, with a baroque, palate-staining presence not unlike a Smaragd by Nikolaihof. It’s an expressive and compelling wine, and I wanted to explore it further — I purchased a bottle to drink later that evening, but upon arriving in Paris, I discovered to my utter dismay that it was corked. I suppose I’ll just have to go back and get another.

Françoise Bedel is imported into the United States by Jon-David Headrick Selections, Chapel Hill, NC.


Henri Vasnier said...

Eternal Champagne-making truth (courtesy of Tom Stevenson): don't be afraid to use a sufficient dosage, if the acid structure will balance it.

Serious meunier from serious growers is amazing. So, so different from generic 55% meunier NV Big House Brut.

On the subject of comparing Austrian wines and Champagne, we enjoyed a bottle of 2004 Brundlmayer Brut last night, which tasted as if grown on quartz rather than chalk but otherwise might have been good Champagne.

J David Harden said...

Be super awesome if Headrick might get these to somewhere near the West Coast. I believe he imports David Leclapart as well. And we hardly ever see those either. Quel dommage!

Brooklynguy said...

hi peter - excellent post. i always appreciate the background you provide when describing a wine. and your tasting notes too, obviously, are evocative and detailed. a few weeks ago i attempted to write about entre ciel et terre and was only marginally successful, as the comments will clearly show.

yours is an inspiring post.

Peter Liem said...

Thanks, Neil. But I don't think there was the slightest thing wrong with your post at all — on the contrary, I enjoyed it very much. It inspired me to go out and buy a bottle of Bedel, (although I ended up buying Dis Vin Secret that day instead of ECT).

Denisa Cretu said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. , , said...

coach outlet store online
adidas ultra boost
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton outlet
hermes handbags
coach outlet online
vans shoes outlet
christian louboutin outlet
louis vuitton outlet
coach outlet
rolex watches
michael kors handbags
adidas shoes
coach outlet
celine outlet
adidas yeezy
ralph lauren polo
adidas trainers
coach outlet
coach outlet
true religion jeans
coach factory outlet
nike factory outlet
mont blanc pens
true religion outlet
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton handbags
ray bans
jordan concords
toms outlet
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet
oakley sunglasses wholesale
timberland boots
christian louboutin sale
retro jordans
ray ban sunglasses
adidas ultra boost

sarah saad said...

شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام التفاؤل شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر كما انها افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل نقل عفش واثاث بالجبيل والخبر والقطيف والدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل اثاث بالقطيف

said omara said...

Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future
If you are being attentive to learn several strategies then you ought to browse this article, I am certain you'll get much additional from this article
شركة نقل اثاث بالقطيف
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
وفر شركة شامكو –0593757728 – ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل وكذلك نقل عفش بالخبر ونقل اثاث بالدمام والقطيف العمالة المدربة على فك وتركيب العفش والاثاث بكل احترافية دون أي اخطاء لضمان عدم اتلاف أي قطعة اثاث او الحاق الضرر بها, بالإضافة الى توفير العمالة الخاصة بعملية نقل العفش والاثاث
ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام 0593757728 |شركة شاكمو لنقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والقطيف ومن افضل شركات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر لامتلاكها المقومات التى تساعد على إنجاح وانجاز العمل بافضل مايكون وما يجعلها فى صدار كل شركات نقل العفش الذين سبقوها فى هذا المجال لانها قدمت المزيد
This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years.
This is really the sort of data I have been attempting to discover. Much obliged to you for composing this data.
شركة نقل الاثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل العفش بالخبر
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

said omara said...

After exploring a handful of the blog articles on your web site, I really like your technique of blogging. I added it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future
I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it
Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
شركة تنظيف بالخبر
شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
شركة تنظيف بالجبيل
شركة تنظيف بالدمام

said omara said...

Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful
شركة مكافحة الحشرات بالقطيف
شركة مكافحة البق بالدمام
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام
I got what you mean , a debt of gratitude is in order for posting .Woh I am cheerful to discover this site through google
شركة مكافحة البق بالقطيف
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالقطيف
شركة مكافحة الحشرات بالدمام
شركة مكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
شركة الوطنية بأمكانها تقديم خدمات المكافحة لحشرة النمل الابيض و التخلص منها في اسرع وقت وبنسبة 100% في جميع ارجاء المنزل

Obat Alternatif Sakit Kepala said...

Thank you for presenting information of interest .. wooow outstanding

Cara Mengobati Sakit Ulu Hati
Obat Kurap Paling Mujarab
Cara Mengobati Masalah Telinga
Pengobatan Pneumonia Secara Efektif
Pengobatan Miom Tanpa Operasi
Cara Menurunkan Kadar Leukosit Tinggi