Providing a unique opportunity to taste an exclusive Grand Cru terroir, Aurélien Suenen’s Oiry NV Blanc de Blancs is for those who enjoy travelling off the beaten track to find pure treasures.
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With 50% of the Domaine’s total holdings located in the Grand Cru village of Oiry in the Côte des Blancs, Aurélien Suenen is currently the only grower-producer crafting Blanc de Blancs champagnes derived solely from Oiry vines, precisely extracting the profound depth of rocky minerality and salinity from Oiry’s compact Campanian chalk soils.
Thoughtfully visualised on the beautifully detailed label, Oiry NV Blanc de Blancs is assembled from five separate parcels with both north- (67%) and south-facing exposures (33%), with an average vine age of 45 years. This and Suenen’s single-vintage, single-vineyard La Cocluette cuvée are the only pure Oiry wines on the market.
The current release is based on the 2018 vintage with 50% reserve wines from the previous three vintages. Following spontaneous fermentation, the base wine spends 9 months aging in enamelled tanks (65%) and 6-year-old Burgundian oak barrels (35%), with no fining, filtration or cold stabilisation. Disgorged in September 2021 after at least 26 months on lees, the champagne is finished with 3 g/L dosage.
Oiry NV is tense and lean at first, offering high tones of green apple, lime, nashi pear and apricot skin over a piercing line of acidity and minerality. The cuvée then carefully unfurls into flavours of fresh cream and yoghurt before finishing long and chalky with a savoury edge of lightly toasted almonds and crushed rock.
Best enjoyed from the Lehmann A. Lallement, No. 4 Ultralight handmade glass.
Perfect with freshly shucked oysters and salmon sashimi or paired simply with Comté cheese.
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.