R. Pouillon et Fils
The Pouillon family have been growing grapes in the region for well over a century. In 1947 Roger Pouillon started his own brand of Champagne and the house is now run by the third generation, Fabrice.
Fabrice is passionate about the health of his vineyards and practices organic and biodynamic processes but chooses not be controlled by labels. He works mainly with Pinot Noir (4Ha) in Mareuil sur Ay and the surrounding villages of Ay, Mutigny, Avenay Val d’Or and Tuxieres but also has some Meunier in Festigny.
He allows grass to grow in between the vines during the summer to limit water uptake but not during the winter, where he applies compost. He looks for low yields and high concentration in his wines. He limits the use of copper.
In the winery he uses a traditional press to create 5 different juices. Each single vineyard wine is separated for vinification into these 5 different components. His standard non vintage wines undergo 20% oak vinification. Single vineyard wines see full oak fermentation and vinification. The wines undergo selective batonnage.
Reserve Brut is a blend of most of his villages. Mostly Pinot Noir (70%), it shows great minerality and a playful amount of fruit. The nose conceals an explosive palate, ripe red fruits and spicey notes aplenty.
Blanc de Blancs Brut Premier Cru is a blend of Ay, Mareuil sur Ay and Tuxieres. A touch of smoke and a lovely tension and balance on the palate lead to a delicate smokey finish. It screams Chardonnay from Ay and Mareuil sur Ay and leaves you smacking your lips!
His Solera Brut was started in 1997 and is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Fabrice is looking for balance of oxidation and my has he got it! The nose hits of Pinot noir and salt. The palate is voluptuous and holds a delicate finish. I find this wine fascinating and would love to try it with some bottle age.
His Rose Brut, produced using maceration, is 100% Mareuil sur Ay. It shows super balance on the palate between fruit, salinity and minerality. It is produced using two years.
The remaining wines in his portfolio are single parcel wines:
Les Valnons Ay Extra Brut:
Pure Chardonnay, pure Ay with west exposition on top of a hill. The elevation increases wind and therefore temperature. It rests on chalk. It possesses a lovely fat, juicy nose. You immediately get the tension and excitement from the first sip and it builds and builds and builds. I was extremely impressed with this wine.
Les Blanchiens Brut Nature:
A 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on clay soils in a mid slope, south facing vineyard in Mareuil sur Ay make up this more feminine and elegant wine. You notice the soil change instantly on the nose. Notes of redcurrant, white pepper and bramble with a focused and dry finish.
Chemin du Bois:
I must confess I struggled a little with this wine. Pure Pinot Noir on sediment soil in Mareuil sur Ay it shows a high level of maturity on the nose. Produced using a method developed by Fabrice whereby instead of adding sugar for the second fermentation he uses natural sugar which he develops from the original juice and natural yeasts to create the process. It lacks the structure of the other lieu dit wines and has that worrying prune and quince note on the front end. Although impressive in terms of what he is doing I find this wine lacking. I do feel a little frustrated as I really wanted to enjoy this more given what I had heard…
Fabrice produces some of the fruitiest, juiciest wines from this fantastic village. I was really impressed with his Brut Reserve, Blanc de Blancs and Solera and found his Les Valnons superb. I await another try or two of his Chemin du Bois to raise my opinion even further…
Village: Mareuil Sur Ay
Region: La Vallee De La Marne
Contact: Fabrice Pouillon
Cuvée De Prestige: Chemin du Bois
Year Founded: 1947
Bottles produced: 50000
Style: Terroir driven, juicy, saline, pure.
Terroir: Ay, Mareuil sur Ay, Mutigny, Avenay Val d'Or, Tauxieres, Festigny and Epernay
Vinification: Pressing in traditional vertical press. Parcels vinified seperately. Vinification occurs in barrel, stainless steel, enamel and casks. A portion of the vines with natural yeasts. Batonnage is used. Reserve wines held in barrels and casks. Natural clarification.
Viticulture: Prefers use of organic products. Pheromone confusion method. Grass allowed to grow between vines. Experimenting with biodynamic production in certain plots since 2003.
Recent Tasting Notes from R. Pouillon et Fils