Bérêche Champagne Reflet d'Antan Brut 2016

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Bérêche Champagne Reflet d'Antan Brut 2016
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Country France
Region Champagne
Appellation/Sub-Region Champagne AOC
Grapes Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay
Vineyard/Cellar Practices Biodynamically Grown

Raphaël and Vincent Bérêche are the young innovators behind this old family domaine founded in 1847. The fifth generation to head the estate (Raphaël joined his father in 2004), they are unceasingly curious and meticulous, garnering immense attention in France and now in the US. The estate's vineyards are planted with roughly equal parts of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. They have been turning their attention to natural viticulture, having completely stopped using chemical herbicides in 2003, and converting to biodynamic since 2007. They have slowly been increasing the percentage of oak used in the cellar, and today about three-quarters of the production is vinified in barrel. Disgorging is still done entirely by hand, and they use a traditional liqueur for dosage.

The “Reflet d’Antan” is arguable the most original of their cuvées, made of one third each of pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay that are drawn from a solera of 600L barrels begun in 1985 by their father, Jean-Pierre. This wine was originally given to family and friends but found a foothold in export markets where it has become one of Champagne's still-affordable rarities. Every year two-thirds of the wine in each barrel is drawn off and replaced with that from the latest vintage. The result is a rivetingly complex Champagne that seamlessly marries endless richness, texture and depth and with startling freshness and lift. It is aged in bottle under cork for 41 months before disgorgement, and is light, airy, and gracious. It is wonderfully complex with graphite, crushed rocks, petrol, smoke, and licorice with intense chalky and savory minerality, a model of total precision. A gastronomical wine. Biodynamically grown.