Every year, around April I visit the Champagne region for what has now been named ‘Champagne Week’. A week where producers gather together and show off their wines and vin clairs. For the last two or three I have had much fun collating my notes and registering my ‘favourite’ producers and wines from what is an epic week or so of tastings (I generally end up tasting over 750 different wines and countless vins clairs). Many names top that list, most of which I am sure you will know; Pierre Peters, JL Vergnon, Emmanuel Brochet, Vilmart, Benoit Lahaye…the list goes on. One other name however, continues to hit that list that you may not know. Marc Hebrart.
Jean-Paul works with 15 hectares broken up into 75 parcels mainly in Mareuil sur Ay but with holdings in Oiry, Chouilly, Avize, Ay, Louvois, Bisseuil, Avenay Val d’Or, Dizy and Hautvillers. He works mainly with Pinot Noir but has 30% Chardonnay with some important holdings in the Cote des Blancs. It is the Chardonnay from Mareuil sur Ay, however, that fascinates me so much. Ripe, fruity with oodles of sweet juicy strawberry and forest fruits as well as a surprising hit of minerality.
His wines represent a perfect balance between fruit and elegance. He never looks for too much body working with steel and old oak (3 years plus and does not use batonnage). All parcels are vinified separately and he is producing a new single parcel cuvee from Clos de Lion, a vineyard of Chardonnay in Dizy. 2015 will also see the release of a Rose de Saignee. He uses MCR for all his cuvees for dosage.
His Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru uses a significant chunk of this delicious Chardonnay from Mareuil sur Ay (80%) blended with wines from Oiry and Chouilly. Forest fruits, strawberry all wrapped up in a well balanced mineral palate and a touch of salt.
Brut Selection, a 70/30 blend of Pinot Noir from Mareuil sur Ay and Chardonnay from Oiry and Chouily. It is the perfect representation of Jean-Paul’s desire for fruit and elegance. The mousse is so delicate and there is an impressive bitter note that balances the palate perfectly.
Brut Rose 1er Cru shows a soft pink hue being a blend of Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from Mareuil sur Ay (50/43), and Pinot Noir rouge from the same village vinified in oak. It is so gentle, but yet again, has that elegant presence on the palate that makes his wines so special.
In 1985 Champagne Marc Hebrart joined the Club Tresor de Champagne, one of the groups that form ‘Champagne Week’. As part of this group all producers are given the task of producing a Special Club wine in an equally special bottle. Marc Hebrart Special Club 2011 is a 55/45 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend from old vines in Mareuil sur Ay and Chardonnay from Mareuil sur Ay, Oiry and Chouilly. It is a fabulous step up in mouthfeel and texture. The minerality present in all his other wines is replaced with delicious honey notes and a fabulous touch of chalk.
Rive Guache/Rive Droite is a wonderful step into vinification in oak. Natural yeasts, unfiltered and no cold stabilisation. A blend of old Chardonnay vines in Oiry, Chouilly and Avize and Pinot Noir from Ay. It is delightful play between smokey oak notes and sweet toast, honey and always returns you to the red fruit so present in all his other cuvees.
Every time I get an opportunity to try these wines I am left with a smile on face. They are so fruity and playful and yet have that wonderful added bonus of demonstrating the complexities of Champagne in their balance and elegance. Superb!
Village: Mareuil Sur Ay
Region: La Vallee De La Marne
Contact: Jean-Paul HEBRART
Cuvée De Prestige: Rive Gauche/Rive Droite
Year Founded: 1964
Bottles produced: 110000
Style: Balanced, fruity, vinous.
Terroir: Mareuil sur Ay, Oiry, Chouilly, Avize, Ay, Louvois, Bisseuil, Avenay Val d'Or, Dizy, Hautvillers
Recent Tasting Notes from Marc Hebrart
Hebrart Rose Brut Premier Cru
Tasted:April 23, 2013
Floral pink. Floral, fruity, easy.read more…
Hebrart Prestige Millesime 2007
Tasted:April 23, 2013
Soft red fruits. Good palate and continuity. Crisp jammy toast. Perfumed red fruit.read more…