Etienne Calsac - Grand Cru Clos des Maladries 2016

Etienne Calsac - Grand Cru Clos des Maladries 2016

Regular price $129.00 $129.00 Sale

100% Chardonnay

Organic, Vegan

Avize, Côtes des Blancs, Champagne, France

From the importer-

Clos des Maladries is a Grand Cru clos located in the village of Avize. The clos itself is quite small, at only 0.16 ha. It's named after a Maladries, a middle age hospital where contagious patients were kept, that was located on the site hundreds of years ago. The vines were planted in the early 1970s by Etienne's grandfather. The soil here is virtually pure chalk and is composed of a particularly prized type of chalk known as Belemnite, which thought to impart greater minerality and acidity to grapes grown in it. The exposure is due south and the walls of the clos also retain heat which aid in ripening. The vineyard is planted at a high density, farmed without any chemical inputs, and is plowed by horse. After harvesting with manual sorting in the vineyard, the grapes are pressed (for this cuvee Etienne keeps both the cuvee and the taille as an homage to the old way of making Champagne where the full press cycle was used). After pressing one third of the juice is transferred to a neutral 350 liter barrel and the rest is kept in stainless steel. After fermentation the wines were kept on their fine lees in those same vessels without racking for 7 months. Malo completed on both portions. The wine then undergoes secondary fermentation and stays on the lees for 48 months before disgorging in June. Base wine 2015 vintage. Dosage is 2 g/liter and done with MCR. 1000 bottles produced.

In 2010, at the age of 26, Etienne decided to take control of his grandparents’ 2.8 hectares of vineyards scattered in and around Avize, which had previously been sold off to the grandes maisons. Stewardship of the terroir is the basis for great Champagne, so Etienne set out to ensure that all the vineyards (all the vines are at least 30 years old) are planted with grass cover crops, plowed (mostly by horse), and farmed following lutte raisonnée methods (they are farming organically since 2013 but aren’t certified).

Etienne himself had overseen the pressing of the grapes before they were sent off to the big houses, and he decided to maintain the strict quality controls already in place while adding a few personal touches. Each parcel is vinified separately, with a small percentage of the Rose de Craie and Infiniment Blanc aged in old barrels. All bottles are aged on the lees for 36 months, and an additional 3 months is given after disgorgement before the wines are released.

Calsac has an eye for experimentation, so expect to see new releases over the next few years, including Pinot Noir from family vineyards in the Aube and an extremely limited bottling from the monopole Clos des Maladries in Avize, planted by Etienne’s grandfather. His potential is unlimited – though his highly sought-after wines are not.