Champagne Suenen

Buoyed by a long family history of grape-growing and winemaking dating back to 1898, Aurélien Suenen cut short a professional career in the sports world and returned to the family’s Cramant-based Domaine to assist his ailing father in 2009. In doing so, Aurélien has since carved his own path of pre-eminence in the great Côte des Blancs region and is one of the highest rising stars of the artisanal grower-producer movement in the past 15 years.

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A Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) specialist, Aurélien cultivates just over 3ha of vines across the Grand Cru villages of Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry in the Côte des Blancs, as well as a small parcel of ungrafted Meunier in the village of Montigny-sur-Vesle at the very edge of the Champagne appellation. Aurélien expounds a powerful argument to protect the health of the individual as much as the vine, as ‘we are part of the terroir’. It’s an issue close to his heart, especially after witnessing his father and other vignerons succumb to the illnesses associated with long-term chemical use in conventionally managed vineyards. And so, in 2012, Aurélien converted his practice to 100% organic (employing some biodynamic principles) with certification arriving in 2019. Aurélien produces very small quantities of both vintage and non-vintage champagnes that showcase a single village or vineyard. With 50% of the Domaine’s total holdings located in Oiry, Aurélien is currently the only grower-producer vinifying Blanc de Blancs cuvées purely from Oiry vines (Oiry Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut NV), precisely extracting the profound depth of minerality and salinity from the compact Campanian chalk. Similarly crafted to ‘find another expression [of terroir]’, Aurélien’s C+C Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut NV is a blend of nine parcels from Cramant and Chouilly, through which the interplay of each village’s distinct Chardonnay profile delivers a wine of magnified complexity and vinous synergy.