Day Three

Today we visited three houses: Penet-Chardonnet in Verzy, Faniel & Fils in Cormoyeux, and Roger Brun in Ay.

Verzy is a Grand Cru village located in the Grande Montagne de Reims.  Its 408 hectares are planted 77% pinot noir, 22% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier. This village is especially known for its mostly north facing Pinot Noir vines. Verzy was elevated from Premier Cru to Grand Cru status in 1985, along with Chouilly, Oiry, Oger, and Mesnil-sur-Oger increasing the number of Grand Cru Villages from 12 to 17.  There are three single vineyard sites: La Blanche Voie, Les Epinettes and Les Fervins from which Penet-Chardonnet produces distinct champagnes.

The village of Cormoyeux is located in the Marne valley on the right bank of the Marne river in a side valley formed by the small stream Le Brunet. The vineyards are on mild slopes of varying exposures.  Its 76 hectares are planted 60% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir.  There is a single vineyard site, Les Gimprés, southeast of the village with south-west facing vines from high in the slope to the edge of the forest. Bochet-Lemoine produces a vineyard-designated Champagne from this vineyard, based on Chardonnay vines planted in 1955.

The Grand Cru village of Ay is one of the largest villages in Champagne, located in the center of the Grande Vallée de la Marne just north of Épernay. It is noted for powerful Pinot Noior wines.  Most of the 367 hectares of vines are south facing and planted 89% Pinot Noir, 8%Chardonnay and 3% Pinot Noir.  There ae several specific vineyard sites in  Aÿ including La Pelle, a south-facing slope from which Roger Brun produces a vineyard-designated Pinot.  Ay is home to the Villa Bissinger, which houses the “Institut International des Vins de Champagne.”

Penet-Chardonnet, Verzy

Maison Penet is a family owned grower’s champagne house of 5 generations heritage which is currently headed by Alexandre Penet. The house owns 6 hectares of vines located across the ‘Montagne de Reims’ in the Grand Cru villages of Verzy and Verzenay. The Maison has two brand labels:  Alexandre Penet and the Penet-Chardonnet. Alexandre creates unique styles of Champagnes focusing on the expression from the terroir as opposed to creating Champagnes that are blended for consistency year on year.  He is known for zero dosage or very low dosage Champagnes. We Tasted with Alexandre Penet.

Cuvées Tasted:

  • Alexendre Penet – Extra Brut, Premier Cru
  • Alexandre Penet – Brut Nature, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – Terroir Escense, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – Terroir & Sense, Blanc de Blanc, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – Les Fervins 2009, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – Les Epinettes 2009, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – La Croix L’Aumonier Millésime 2010, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – Les Blanches Voies Millésime 2011, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – Coline & Candice Millésime 2009, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Penet-Chardonnet – Cuvée Diane Claire, Extra Brut, Grand Cru

 Faniel & Fils, Cormoyeux

The house of Faniel & Fils founded three generations ago by Andre Faniel. It is now headed  by Jacques and Brigitte Faniel and their son Mathieu. Their south facing vines are farmed with respect to nature. We toured and tasted with Mathieu Faniel.

Cuvées Tasted:

  • Appogia, Blanc de Blancs
  • Brut Nature
  • Oriane, Brut
  • Perlane, Rosé, Brut
  • Agapane, Brut

Roger Brun, Ay

We were pleased to meet with one of our favorite vignerons, Philippe Brun. The Brun family has been generations of grape growers and winemakers dating back at least to the French revolution. His wines are known to be full bodied yet focused. We currently import two of his cuvees: Grande Reserve and Romance Rose de Saignee Millesime 2014. We discussed wine and politics as usual with Philippe and even tasted his cuvées!

Cuvées Tasted:

  • La Pelle Millésime 2013, Blanc de Noirs, Extra Brut, Grand Cru
  • Cuvée Des Sires Millésime 2014, Brut, Grand Cru
  • Romance, Rosé de Saignée, Millésime 2015, Brut, Premier Cru

Visit What’s Open to learn more about these cuvées.

Continue the tour with Day Four!