Frédéric Savart & 
Dhondt Grellet
Champagne, France
3 Pack

$440.00

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

Included in this Pack:

1 bottle NV Frédéric Savart L’Ouverture
1 bottle NV Dhondt-Grellet “Dans un Premier Temps…”
1 bottle NV Dhondt-Grellet Les Terres Fines

NV Frédéric Savart L’Ouverture: This is Fred Savart’s entry level Champagne but it is far from one-dimensional. It is 100% Pinot Noir all from the village of Ecueil, half of which was fermented in mostly neutral barrel with the other half is fermented in stainless steel. The wine only sees partial malolactic fermentation. Fred doesn’t guide the malolactic fermentation, instead it is the inclusion of reserve wine that goes through malolactic fermentation because it has gone more temperature swings. The wine is in equal parts a blend of three successive vintages (13, 14 & 15) and aged under cork, not crown cap. Dosage is 7g/L.

The fruit here is always picked when the grapes have lovely ripe flavours. Cherry, blood plum, and wild raspberry dominate the fruit profile. Under this is a depth of non fruit character provided by the reverse wine. Nutty, smoke, butter and toast are intwined. It’s the palate where things get really interesting. A beautiful pristine line of acidity runs through this wine, while the fruit lingers off the sides. Again, the minerality lingers with a smoky edge. This is truly a classy champagne.

NV Dhondt-Grellet “Dans un Premier Temps…”: Adrien’s intention with this cuvée is to represent three of the main villages he works with – Sezanne, Cuis, and Avenay Val d’Or. The blend is 50% Chardonnay from Sezanne, 30% Pinot Noir from Avenay Val d’Or and 20% old vine Pinot Meunier from Cuis. The base vintage (2017) makes up 70% of the blend with the remainder a perpetual reserve going back to 1986. Such a wonderful introduction to the range. Citrus, white peach and savoury nutty complexity meet you on the nose. There’s much intensity to the mineral lift too. Very attractive chalk is a welcomed addition. The palate is fine elegant and graceful. Beautifully poised with great fruit concentration. Dosage is 3g/L.

NV Dhondt-Grellet Les Terres Fines: 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.

Producer Profile

Frédéric Savart

Frédéric was born into a family of vignerons, but his real dream was to be a professional footballer. He even signed a youth contract with Stade de Reims, playing as an attacking midfielder, but after meeting the woman who was to become his wife, he refused a potential transfer to another club, and decided to return home to work with his father, Daniel. 

The family estate was founded by Daniel's father, René Savart, who purchased his first vines in 1947. Daniel himself took over the winemaking in the 1970s, although production remained extremely small until the mid-1980s, when he significantly expanded the family's vineyard holdings. Since 2005, Frédéric has been at the helm of the estate, although Daniel continues to be very much present, cheerfully greeting visitors and happy to share a glass of wine.

Today, the Savarts farm four hectares of vines, three in Ecueil and one in the neighboring village of Villiers-aux-Noeuds. Nearly all of it is pinot noir, with just a half-hectare of chardonnay: "Historically, Ecueil is a pinot noir terroir," says Frédéric Savart. His philosophy in the vineyards is to prevent disease as much as possible, rather than treat it—towards this end, he prefers a holistic approach, creating an environment within which the plant is better equipped to resist malady on its own. The soils in this area can vary: many parcels in Ecueil are notably sandy, although there's more clay on the mid-slope, and a few areas that are relatively chalky. The soils of Villiers-aux-Noeuds are generally chalkier than those of Ecueil, and Savart's vineyards here are particularly prized for their sélection massale of the renowned pinot fin d'Ecueil, planted here by Daniel and René.

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

Included in this Pack:

1 bottle NV Frédéric Savart L’Ouverture
1 bottle NV Dhondt-Grellet “Dans un Premier Temps…”
1 bottle NV Dhondt-Grellet Les Terres Fines

NV Frédéric Savart L’Ouverture: This is Fred Savart’s entry level Champagne but it is far from one-dimensional. It is 100% Pinot Noir all from the village of Ecueil, half of which was fermented in mostly neutral barrel with the other half is fermented in stainless steel. The wine only sees partial malolactic fermentation. Fred doesn’t guide the malolactic fermentation, instead it is the inclusion of reserve wine that goes through malolactic fermentation because it has gone more temperature swings. The wine is in equal parts a blend of three successive vintages (13, 14 & 15) and aged under cork, not crown cap. Dosage is 7g/L.

The fruit here is always picked when the grapes have lovely ripe flavours. Cherry, blood plum, and wild raspberry dominate the fruit profile. Under this is a depth of non fruit character provided by the reverse wine. Nutty, smoke, butter and toast are intwined. It’s the palate where things get really interesting. A beautiful pristine line of acidity runs through this wine, while the fruit lingers off the sides. Again, the minerality lingers with a smoky edge. This is truly a classy champagne.

NV Dhondt-Grellet “Dans un Premier Temps…”: Adrien’s intention with this cuvée is to represent three of the main villages he works with – Sezanne, Cuis, and Avenay Val d’Or. The blend is 50% Chardonnay from Sezanne, 30% Pinot Noir from Avenay Val d’Or and 20% old vine Pinot Meunier from Cuis. The base vintage (2017) makes up 70% of the blend with the remainder a perpetual reserve going back to 1986. Such a wonderful introduction to the range. Citrus, white peach and savoury nutty complexity meet you on the nose. There’s much intensity to the mineral lift too. Very attractive chalk is a welcomed addition. The palate is fine elegant and graceful. Beautifully poised with great fruit concentration. Dosage is 3g/L.

NV Dhondt-Grellet Les Terres Fines: 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.