Champagne André Beaufort
Les Champenois – that is people from Champagne region – are smart. Through astute campaigns of marketing, they managed to identify their wines with luxury products. Champagne is a brand, no doubt, but is its image of excellence always justified ?
Associated with festive events, all sorts of celebrations and success, the unescapable consumption on every occasion of mediocre Champagne receives too often a benevolent indulgence. Unfortunately, it is most unlikeky that you will be served a ‘grand Champagne millésimé’ at your retirement party. But let us leave these cleverly served chilly bubble drinks and dedicate our attention to what boasts life and emotion in this region where the crisis is unknown.
In 1969, Jacques Beaufort develops an agressive allergy to synthetic products and in 1971 decides to convert his vineyard to organic agriculture. An allergy at the origin of a completely new trail.
But the chosen path was all but an easy one. Not only due to the difficulties of meeting all the requirements of clean viniculture in Champagne, the northernmost terroir of France, but because of the neighbours’ hostility (who continue to use pesticides and consider you as the village madman and of the necessity to fight against the CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne) which does its best to put you back on the ‘right’ track.
Today, having passed the reins to his children, Jacques Beaufort has passed the reins to his children and has more time to dedicate to his clients, and it is with infinite kindness that he received me in his wine storehouse. We have tasted a dozen of different millésimes of Ambonnay (Grand Cru-Marne) of Polisy (Aube), from 2007 back to 1996.
Everything here is done according to the rules of the art to produce grand wines with great ageing potential: first alcoholic fermentation from concentrated grape sugar, long sojourn on laths after which the ‘dead’ yeasts will constitute the famous deposit on which Champagne will very slowly age. This marvellous chemistry generates microscopic bubbles of an exceptional refinement, which are the only gage of a long ageing potential.
The legislation imposes a minimum of 3 years of ageing before the commercialization of a ‘vin millésimé.’ The ‘Brut Réserve’ are excellent, the ‘Millésimés’ are unparalelled.