I was very excited to visit Pierre Callot and meet Thierry as he is one of the few producers in Avize still making an unadulterated wine from Avize terroir. I first tasted his wine blind and loved the ripe apricot and orange notes, that you get from this small town in the Cote des Blancs, and couldn’t wait to meet the producer and hear his story.
With most of his 7 hectares positioned in the village of Avize (small amounts are found in grauves and Cramant) he creates a straightforward but rich style of wine. Minimal use of oak (only in Clos Jacquin and only in oak sided vats), malolactic fermentation for his cuvees (vintage exluded). He choses not to use any herbicides and likes to allow the grass to grow between his vines to facilitate in deep root growth.
Nothing out of the ordinary then, but you really notice with his passion and understanding, that he is looking for the absolute best Chardonnay in Avize and, he really likes to push to see what each parcel can offer.
His main plots in Avize are, Les Chemins Paradise, Les Avats (2 parts of which are used for the vintage) and Clos Jacquin (not a Clos as the name suggests but a beautiful east facing hill side vineyard used to create his Prestige Cuvee of that name). The wonderful undulating geography of Avize creates a veritable smorgasbord of colours and flavours from these vineyards which ripen at different times even on the same plots due to staggering temperature differences on these rolling hills.
His vineyards over the hill in Grauves, Les Essarts, are used to create his Grande Reserve. A wine with lovely sweet red apple notes and superb minerality for the village and a delicate salinity. I was very impressed with it’s balance and was surprised to hear that he uses 10 g/ltr or more for all his cuvees, a rarity these days for wines of such great balance.
His Grand Cru Brut, a blend of Avize and Cramant is a truly great NV wine with apricot and white chocolate notes layered with that beautiful steely Cramant direction. I loved this persuasive direction and superb balance.
His Millesime, a blend of his two plots in Les Avats, is a lot richer on the nose, due to a significant increase in vine age. It’s palate is a lot more focused and needs a few years to allow it to properly open and give access to its fruit.
Clos Jacquin is the anomaly, being the only wine to see a touch of oak. The oak contact (oak vats rather than barrels) does not detract from the honest Avize focus creating a beautiful spicey buttered nose leading to layers of peach and apricot. I was astonished at the complexity of the palate and found the finish superb.
Region: La Cote des Blancs
Contact: Thierry Callot
Cuvée De Prestige: Clos Jacquin
Year Founded: 1955
Style: Rich, mineral,
Terroir: Avize, Cramant, Chouilly and Grauves
Vinification: Steel and small use of oak (vats not barrels). Malolactic used except for vintage.
Viticulture: No pesticides. Grass grown between vines.
Recent Tasting Notes from Pierre Callot