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Champagne Agrapart

Grand Cru Avize from one of Champagne’s Great Artisans

Pascal Agrapart is, without doubt, one of Champagne’s most outstanding growers and, for Chardonnay alone, probably the reference. Pascal Agrapart is now routinely compared to his neighbour Selosse, even though the style of wine produced by these two men is markedly different. If you were looking for a Burgundian analogy, you could think of Selosse as Lafon to Agrapart’s Coche. Both are in the same village, crafting wine of exceptional quality, yet making wines that are very, very different. To compare, Agrapart picks earlier and uses larger, older wood and bottles earlier, resulting in wines that are less influenced by oxygen. Avize has always been a special village, and today, thanks to Agrapart and Selosse, it is at the heart of the great grower movement in Champagne.

“For readers who want to discover what the Côte des Blancs is all about, I can’t think of a better place to start than here.” Antonio Galloni

Under his stewardship, this producer is considered a benchmark source of genuinely great grower Champagne. Ambroise Agrapart, Pascal’s oldest son, recently joined his father at the Domaine and is already having an impact. Together they work an astonishing 70 micro-plots spread across nine and a half hectares in the Côte des Blancs, mostly in Avize but with plots in Cramant, Oiry and Oger. All of these parcels are ploughed (many by horse), no chemical pesticides, fertilisers, or herbicides are ever used, and the fruit is harvested manually. Production is tiny, and vine age is among the oldest in the Côte des Blancs (between 35 and 60+ years old with around 70% of the vines at 40+ years). Yields are kept very low, and the average potential alcohol at harvest is very high for the region, typically around 11 degrees, an intentional and risky technique employed by Agrapart, resulting in this producer rarely, if ever, having to chaptalise. 

The grapes are pressed with a traditional Coquard vertical press, and fermentation is carried out with natural yeasts, which Agrapart feels is crucial to the expression of terroir. Malolactic conversion is completed for all the wines, and aging is, for the most part, in old, 600-litre demi-muids. Dosage, done with a traditional liqueur d’expédition of cane sugar, varies from wine to wine, although it is usually around 3-4 g/L. The wines are typically bottled around the full moon of May following the harvest, with no filtration and no cold stabilisation. Extended lees aging is the norm for this producer.

You only need to look at the range of wines to understand how special and unique this grower is. Despite being one of the entry wines in the portfolio, Terroirs is already one of Champagne’s most compelling Blanc de Blancs. It is 100% Grand Cru with the fruit sourced from exclusively great sites across four villages. The Domaine then offers three vintage-dated parcellaires cuvées from what Agtapart considers the three main terroirs of Avize: Minéral, Avizoise and Vénus -the latter is simply one of the greatest cuvées of the region. In addition, there is now the Complantée, from a single parcel in Avize that Agrapart co-planted with six varieties, the Vieux Millésime, a late-disgorged Minéral aged on cork, and Expérience, which, without giving too much away, is one of the most unique wines in Champagne. Together, these represent a remarkable line-up of Avize mousseux (with a little Cramant), all grown in historically significant vineyards by a grower with few peers in his region.

Currently Available

Champagne Pascal Agrapart Grand Cru Minéral Blanc de Blancs 2017 (Disg. Jun 23)

Champagne Pascal Agrapart Grand Cru Minéral Blanc de Blancs 2017 (Disg. Jun 23)

Disgorged June 2023. Minéral is blended from two adjacent vieilles vignes plots (50-plus years old) on the border between Avize and Cramant, where the vine roots plunge straight into the chalky bedrock. The fruit from Le Champ Bouton in Avize fermented in tank, while the component from Les Bionnes in Cramant was vinified in 600-litre oak casks. The wine spent just over five years on lees and was dosed at 3g/L.This is typically the saltiest, most mineral wine in the Agrapart range. Like all the Agrapart wines, the quality is remarkably consistent, with the only variation due to vintage. Right now, it is a model of compressed intensity, a ball of citrus and chalky energy with a long, tapering, salty close. Mineral by name, mineral by nature. 

Champagne Pascal Agrapart Grand Cru Minéral Blanc de Blancs 2017 (Disg. Jun 23)

“Agrapart’s wines are of uniformly excellent quality, with a naturally vibrant and vinous character that makes them feel grown rather than made.” Peter Liem, champagneguide.net

“…this is a model source of fine-drawn Champagnes … Because there are no large marketing budgets to factor in, these are also some of the best value wines in Champagne.” Michael Edwards, The Finest Wines of Champagne  

“Pascal Agrapart embodies the best of the artisan tradition in Champagne, and his wines show it.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous

“Three Stars: Ils represent L'excellence du vignoble français” Les Meilleurs Vins de France 2022, La Revue du Vin de France (The same rating granted to Selosse, Egly-Ouriet and Krug)

“Agrapart’s wines are of uniformly excellent quality, with a naturally vibrant and vinous character that makes them feel grown rather than made.” Peter Liem, champagneguide.net

Country

France

Primary Region

Champagne

People

Winemakers: Pascal and Ambroise Agrapart

Availability

National

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