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Chapoutier goes to Champagne

Veteran Rhone winemaker Michel Chapoutier is planning to make Champagne in the Côtes des Bar region of southern Champagne.

Chapoutier has joined the Aube co-operative union (Union Auboise) and has bought half a hectare in the village of Riceys as part of a joint venture with the co-op, which produces its own brand, Champagne Devaux.

‘Champagne Devaux and Chapoutier have had a distribution arrangement for a couple of years,’ said Jean-Noel Girard, marketing manager of Devaux.

‘He distributes our Champagne in the Rhône Valley, while we distribute his Rhône and Australian wines in Champagne. We’ve been talking for awhile about how to work more closely together.’

Girard said the project was in its infancy and it was too early to tell when the first Champagne would be released.

‘We have a general sense of the terroir, but at the moment we are still at the stage of analysing the grapes.’

The Aube is best known for growing Pinot Noir destined for rosé Champagne.

A Rhône specialist, Chapoutier embraces biodynamic farming and makes wine throughout France, including in Alsace. He has his own vineyards – as well as two joint ventures – in Australia. Devaux is the largest Champagne producer in the Aube.

He confirmed that he would be making Champagne but said it was too early to comment further.

Written by Maggie Rosen

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