Dhondt Grellet
Les Terres Fines NV
Premier Cru
Champagne, France

$155.00

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

Style: Finesse, concentration & mineral

Producer: Dhondt-Grellet

Region: Champagne, France

Grape: 100% Chardonnay

Vintage: NV (70% base 2016 vintage / 30% perpetual reserve back to 1986)

Soil: Mixed

Farming: Organic & Biodynamic

Oak: Mixed

Alcohol: 12%

Glassware: Champagne or Riesling Stem

Decant: Not required

Serving Temperature: 10 – 12°C

The Wine: Coming from nine different plots all from the limestone rich soils of Cuis & Chouilly with an average age of 45 years, Les Terres Fines is a pure expression of Chardonnay. Super open and expressive. Lots of layers and precision. Fine tuned grapefruit and lemon rind that drifts into the stone fruits – white peach. The intense mineral concentration is top shelf. Chalk and layers of it! The palate is a wave of finesse and elegance. Dosage is 2g/L.

Sebastian Crowther MS

Producer Profile

Dhondt-Grellet

One of the most exciting emerging talents of the Côte de Blancs is Adrien Dhondt, born in 1991, whose cellars are located in the sleepy village of Flavigny, a mere four-minute drive from more-glamorous Avize. This small estate came into being in 1986, when Adrien’s father, Éric Dhondt, married his mother, Édith Grellet. The Dhondts were Belgian farmers in origin, and Adrien's grandfather had purchased vines in the Sézannais in the 1960s; the Grellets, by contrast, are natives of Cuis and Cramant. Amounting to a mere two hectares on its inception, today the domaine has tripled in size; and the vinous, intensely characterful Champagnes that Adrien has been producing since he took the reins a decade ago seem set to win the estate a celebrity disproportionate to its modest scale.

An autodidact whose methods are informed by his own experiments and the work of vignerons he admires in Burgundy and Champagne, Adrien Dhondt believes in living soils, practicing what he calls “peasant viticulture.” While he has thus far eschewed organic certification, he employs no synthetic products of any kind, cultivating his soils and periodically enriching them with homemade compost. In the vines, there’s a lot of manual work: Dhondt prunes short and debuds severely to limit yields and produce ripe, concentrated fruit at harvest time, a commitment that’s immediately evident in the glass.

In the cellar, Dhondt is a partisan of barrel fermentation with ambient yeasts, filling his fûts after a very short six hours’ settling (or débourbage) and adding minimal sulfur dioxide. His cellar isn’t air-conditioned, so it fluctuates in temperature throughout the year, tracking the seasons; and the vins clairs spend eight months on the lees before tirage without cold stabilization, filtering or fining. During those eight months of élevage, the wines are topped up when Dhondt deems it judicious, “about every month and a half, I’d say, but I decide whether to top up—and whether to perform bâtonnage—by tasting.”

The Dhondt family have worked with a perpetual reserve since they began estate bottling in 1986. After drawing off 30% of his reserves for the new year’s tirage, Adrien replenishes the loss with wine kept back from the new vintage and racks the resulting blend to barrel—accompanied by the fresh lees of the latest vintage—in May. Come harvest time, when empty barrels are needed, the perpetual reserve is returned to tank. Each year, the process is repeated, ensuring the domaine’s barrels are never empty.

The influence of Burgundy is palpable in the wines’ texture and vinosity, and it is both direct—Dhondt cites Coche-Dury, Vincent Dancer and Jean-Yves Bizot among his inspirations—and also mediated by his neighbor Anselme Selosse. Indeed, Dhondt readily testifies to Selosse’s importance in his journey as a winegrower. “Anselme has influenced me a lot, because he succeeded in realizing his own conception of wine: whether one likes or dislikes them, his wines are unique in the world. He showed me the path I was looking for,” Dhondt says. And with such a defining figure so close at hand, it is evidence of Dhondt’s potential that his wines, while nodding to Selosse’s, are already very much his own. Robertparker.com

Description

Review

Style: Finesse, concentration & mineral

Producer: Dhondt-Grellet

Region: Champagne, France

Grape: 100% Chardonnay

Vintage: NV (70% base 2016 vintage / 30% perpetual reserve back to 1986)

Soil: Mixed

Farming: Organic & Biodynamic

Oak: Mixed

Alcohol: 12%

Glassware: Champagne or Riesling Stem

Decant: Not required

Serving Temperature: 10 – 12°C

The Wine: Coming from nine different plots all from the limestone rich soils of Cuis & Chouilly with an average age of 45 years, Les Terres Fines is a pure expression of Chardonnay. Super open and expressive. Lots of layers and precision. Fine tuned grapefruit and lemon rind that drifts into the stone fruits – white peach. The intense mineral concentration is top shelf. Chalk and layers of it! The palate is a wave of finesse and elegance. Dosage is 2g/L.

Sebastian Crowther MS