Reverberating with intense, ravishing minerality, Les Robarts 2015 Blanc de Blancs presents a powerful and pristine statement of terroir that is both extraordinary and sublime in its expression and dimension—simply magnifique.
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An outstanding terroir, the vineyard of Les Robarts straddles the border between the Grand Cru villages of Cramant and Avize in the mighty Côte des Blancs. Renowned as one of two sources that make up Champagne Agrapart’s legendary Avizoise cuvée, Aurélien Suenen’s parcel of vines lies at the top of a small hill in the Cramant section of this vineyard. Planted largely by sélection massale (the traditional practice of vineyard propagation with exceptional old vines), the average age of Suenen’s vines is approximately 40 years.
Les Robarts sits on clay-rich soil over upper Campanian chalk, creating a powerful Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) champagne with notable tension, salinity, concentration and an incredibly polished texture derived from pervasive terroir and meticulous winemaking.
The 2015 vintage was aged in a single 20 hL oak barrel for 10 months before bottling, and spent a minimum of5 years on its lees until disgorgement in July 2021. Dosage is set at 2 g/L.
Aromas of fresh, crisp fruit weave gently through threads of manuka honey, emanating an air of promise as the first sip beckons. Luminous and deep, flavours of ripe stone fruit, yuzu and pomaceous fruit perfuse the palate with shimmering, golden purity as the vividly palpable lattice of sapidity intensifies, each crystalline layer of saline minerality more riveting than the last. The finish reverberates long, precisely tuned and radiating with enchantment. Simply magnifique.
Best enjoyed from the Lehmann P. Jamesse, Synergie 60 Ultralight handmade glass.
Enjoy with a classic eggs Benedict for breakfast; crumbed and fried king prawn in a petite brioche roll with herb mayonnaise for lunch; or pan-seared, crispy-skin salmon served with a squeeze of lemon and a side of seasonal asparagus drizzled with hollandaise sauce for dinner—or simply relish Les Robarts on its own throughout the day, savouring each magnificent sip one at a time.
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.
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.