As is so often the case I am running late. Trying to get in ‘just one more producer’ has left me scrambling for time on my way up to Perseval-Farge, a fantastic producer in the village of Chamery in the North-Western part of the Montaigne de Reims. I ring ahead and explain that it might be best to reschedule as it is my last visit before getting the Eurotunnel back to Britain. I am greeted with silence on the phone. Ashamed, I of course say I will come, but need to make it a short visit.
I am greeted at the door by radiant smiles from both Isabelle and Benoist. The Perseval family dominate the landscape of Chamery and this particular line has been growing vines since 1808. They own 4 hectares in Chamery, with a breakdown of mainly Chardonnay 50%, Pinot Noir 30%, Meunier 15% and other grape varieties making the 5%. They produce roughly 30,000.
Their range is quite extensive but what you get throughout is a wonderful balance of oxidation and freshness. This is something I really love in Champagne. A richness and a freshness all rolled into one. We sat down in their house for a comprehensive tasting:
The Brut Reserve is a simple offering to begin. A blend of all three grape varieties served up on the fresher end of the spectrum. Well balanced and with delightful finesse but not enough of that delicious richness that I like.
Terre de Sables is a blend of all three with the focus being the sandy soils that dominate the region. The style, again fresh and fruit dominated with nutty hints.
The Rose is a similar blend with again the focus being the sandy soils. Addition of red wine seems to add something delicious for me. Redcurrants and spice and all things nice.
Now this is where it gets serious. Tasting the 2010 base C de Chardonnay is a delightful experience. Pure Chardonnay with grapes going back to the 2001 harvest. It has that lovely juicy maturity, notes of toffee, but with that lemon freshness and zest. Great wine.
C de Pinots is a blend of Pinot Noir and Meunier. A similar construction is used with vintages back to 2006. You sense more of the terroir on the nose. Notes of Sand and chalk. There is an impressive salinity, with a touch of brioche, apricot and white pepper. Great length.
La Pucelle Brut Nature is a pure Pinot Noir from one parcel of that name. The cuvee tried was from the great 2012 base. It was extremely focused and had delightful texture but you sensed it needed that maturity to broaden the slightly linear palate. I must get some to put down!
We were fortunate enough to try several Millesime. The 2007 is a blend of Meunier and Chardonnay 36% of which is vinified in oak. Very fresh but with a hint of brioche. It needs time. The 2002 showed some maturity on the nose but, with that freshness and balance on the mid to late that is just delightful. You never feel that this is going to falter at all. Superb. 2003 was served, interestingly, after the 2002 and you get why. A lot more developed, a blend of 95% Chardonnay and a touch of Pinot Noir, it lacked the structure of both the 2007 and 02 and if I were picky I would say the finish was a bit short.
We are rushed onto the last bottle. The fantastic Cuvee Jean-Baptiste. A blend of 1998, 1999 and 2000. 30% oak, partial malolactic. It is all mocha, coffee and toffee on the nose with a brilliantly balanced palate. So fresh given the age, yet so delightfully mature.
The reason for being rushed is made clear as we are shepherded through to the kitchen for lunch. As they say wine is great on it’s own but with food…amazing. Needless to say we missed my train.
Region: La Montagne de Reims
Contact: Benoist Perseval
Cuvée De Prestige:
Recent Tasting Notes from Perseval-Farge