Deutz is based in the Champagne town of Ay – prime Pinot Noir terroir. In addition, it sources Pinot Noir from Verzenay, Mailly and Mareuil sur Ay.
Yet despite being known as a Pinot Noir house, Deutz also produces two exceptional blanc de blancs – its vintage bottling and Amour de Deutz. Both source Chardonnay grapes from the best sites in the Côte des Blancs: Avize, Mesnil sur Oger, Chouilly and Oger. Today, the house has access to 216ha of vineyards across Champagne, 42ha of which it owns itself. The rest of its grape supply comes from long-term grower relationships. It also owns press houses in Ay, Bouzy and the Côte des Blancs.
During the 19th century and beyond, Deutz’s star continued to rise right around Europe. But by the end of the 20th century, its reputation was in decline having failed to invest and develop.
The decision was then taken by family shareholders to put the estate up for sale. It was bought by the Rouzaud family, owners of Louis Roederer Champagne and a portfolio of wine estates around the world. Jean-Claude Rouzaud quickly installed the autonomous and independently minded Fabrice Rosset as president and CEO. This has proved a brilliant appointment.
Over the last two decades, Rosset has generated income and re-invested around €30m in the cellars, winery and infrastructure. Quality has increased under chef de cave Michel Davesne, who joined in 2003. So too has production, up dramatically from 600,000 bottles in 1996 to nearly 2.4m in 2018.
The Deutz Champagne range
The range begins with its Brut Classic and Brut Rosé non-vintage Champagnes, followed by a vintage, vintage rosé and vintage Blanc de Blancs.
Then come its prestige cuvées: William Deutz, Amour de Deutz (Blanc de Blancs and Rosé) and most recently, its single-vineyard offerings – Hommage à William Deutz La Côte Glacière and Hommage à William Deutz Meurtet.
Winemaking is very traditional, with vinification in stainless steel vats. Oak is entirely eschewed here to emphasise purity and freshness. The base wines are fermented at low temperatures to preserve aromatics and all the wines go through malolactic fermentation. The Brut Classic NV, at one end of the spectrum, spends three years on its lees, while the cuvée William Deutz spends up to 10 years on its lees.
Its three rosés are made by blending Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit with a top quality still Pinot Noir wine from a unique plot of vines, rather than the saignée method. Davesne prefers this technique because he believes it maintains elegance and colour consistency.
The house style
According to Davesne, the Deutz style is a combination of elegance, finesse and vinosity. The wines can be drunk on their own as an aperitif, but the vintage Champagnes are really designed for pairing with food – especially when they have acquired some bottle age.
Founded In 1838 by William Deutz and Pierre Hubert Geldermann
Location Ay, Champagne
Key figures Jean-Claude Rouzaud (owner); Fabrice Rosset (president & CEO); Michel Davesne (chef de cave)