Louis Roederer’s chef de cave, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, has told Decanter.com that he plans to make a still Pinot Noir from the 2015 harvest from a specially planted vineyard in Champagne.
Lécaillon, who is also executive vice-president at Louis Roederer, said he has been experimenting with both ‘Coteaux Champenois’ still red wine and white wine for several years.
‘I planted the [Pinot Noir] vineyard in 2002, so it’s been 13 years of work,’ Lécaillon told Decanter.com in an interview in London.
‘This year, I thought the taste of the fruit was starting to show something, so I said let’s do a 2015 red wine. So, we have a red wine, and we have a white wine as well [Chardonnay], from older vines.’
It would be labelled as Coteaux Champenois, but Lécaillon said a final decision has not been taken on whether the wine will be sold commercially. ‘It’s not my first trial, but it’s a learning curve, very exciting,’ he said.
There is enough from the one-hectare, biodynamic Pinot Noir vineyard to produce between 3,000 and 4,000 bottles.
‘I planted the Pinot vineyard with some massale selection [of vines] from Burgundy. Originally, it was a global warming project. I thought one day maybe we would have to be a red wine producer in Champagne,’ he added.
The Pinot Noir vineyard is located in Mareuil-Sur-Ay, just east of Épernay. Lécaillon said he investigated several areas before deciding where to plant in 2002. ‘I looked at Cumières but it is very spicy, while Bouzy and Ambonnay are a bit too cherry-like.
‘But, in Mareuil-Sur-Ay there is more freshness, more red fruit. It’s more Côte de Nuits, but obviously it’s not Côte de Nuits,’ he said.
There is also a Chardonnay vineyard and a second Pinot Noir vineyard, as part of around 100 trials on different winemaking techniques currently underway at Roederer.