View all newsletters
Receive our weekly newsletter - World Of Fine Wine Weekly

2012 Champagne Telmont Lieux-Dits Parcelle Sous Adrien: Playing with plots

A "smoldering" 100 percent Pinot Meunier.

By Anne Krebiehl MW

A pure Pinot Meunier from a special site in Damery is Telmont’s successful first foray into single-plot winemaking, says Anne Krebiehl MW.

It all started in 2011, with the arrival of seven large foudres in Champagne Telmont’s cellars in Damery. Each of them holds 5,000 liters of wine and, says cellar master Betrand Lhôpital, presented him with “a great opportunity for specific winemaking.” In September, Lhôpital was in London to present Champagne Telmont’s first single-plot Champagne, a pure Pinot Meunier from lieu-dit Sous Adrien, also in Damery.

“Obviously,” he says, “it was a great opportunity. Single-plot winemaking was evident.” He lost no time. For the 2012 harvest, he says, “I determined four different plots in Damery and further plots from grape growers.” He vinified them separately in the foudres. “My idea was to understand the terroir. Why? Because it is the elementary part of blending. A blend is like a sports team: If you want the team working together, you need to understand the individual players and their personalities. I needed to understand,” he explains. But tasting the different base wines from these single plots was not enough to build his understanding. “I needed to go forward in bottle,” he says—meaning that he also wanted to see how the different plots would turn out after the second fermentation. Each of the barrels was thus bottled separately and aged under natural cork. “We did seven different bottlings: two of Meunier, five of Chardonnay,” he says. The Pinot Meunier from the Sous Adrien plot in Damery is thus the house’s first séléction parcellaire to be released. “With this one, the aging is done; it is ready to be presented,” Lhôpital says.

“It was 11 years ago that we made this wine. My surprise is still here. This is something much more than agréable; it is a great satisfaction, a discovery, because after 11 years, the wine is still fresh,” he says. “That proves that you can do single-plot wines if you pay attention to the vineyard, to the selection of the single plot, and the right winemaking—even if it is Meunier. Most people say that Meunier is unable to age. But if you do it properly,” he asserts defiantly, “Meunier can age easily.” I suggest that people who say that have probably never tasted Les Beguines from Jérôme Prévost’s La Closerie. Lhôpital agrees, of course, and his own wine affords further compelling evidence. It spent nine years on lees, Lhôpital explaining, “It needed time, because it was non-malolactique. It was aged under cork, and we made the wine with bâtonnage. We did all we could to make this style of Champagne that could be aged.”

The 0.79ha (1.95-acre) Sous Adrien plot is close to the Telmont winery in Damery, facing south and reaching from the middle to the bottom of the slope. “The parcel is ideally located on the hillside, not too high up. This means that it benefits from beautiful, relatively deep brown limestone soil, much more so than the parcels higher up the hill,” Lhôpital relates. “The most important feature of this rich, brown soil, which retains moisture well, is that it provides ideal conditions for the vines. They flourish more, have more color to them, and are less affected by possible droughts. These were some of the factors that played a key role in 2012. This brown soil also generally produces more consistent, well-rounded wines, with greater body and charm.” The vines were planted in 2006 on Fercal rootstock. “2012 was an extraordinary year weather-wise, which enabled these vines to showcase all their youthful potency and expressiveness in quite an exceptional way. They certainly have further surprises in store for us in the future,” he promises.

There are no specified plans yet for the release of the other single-plot wines. “We taste them regularly and then determine the right time for release,” says Lhôpital, who does not vinify single plots every year. “But when I have the right balance, I am playing,” he smiles. 

2012 Telmont Lieux-Dits Parcelle Sous Adrien (12% ABV)

Content from our partners
Wine Pairings with gooseberry fool
Wine pairings with chicken bhuna 
Wine pairings with coffee and walnut cake 

An initial hint of plum is laced with candied lemon. The palate has a note of rye crumb and more of that lemon-laced plum, with a superb edge of acidity. This is immensely youthful still—taut, bright, vivid. The house’s telltale, bright, fine mousse leads to slightly smoky umami depth. It is that smoldering smokiness that gives the Meunier away in all its smoky, plummy glory and brightness. The 100 percent Pinot Meunier base wine was vinified in a 5,000-liter foudre, and malolactic fermentation was avoided. It spent nine years on lees under natural cork and was disgorged in the first quarter of 2023, with a dosage of 5g/l. Only 920 bottles were made. 93

Topics in this article : ,
Select and enter your email address For award-winning content from the world’s most respected and intellectually satisfying wine magazine, sign up to our newsletter here
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Websites in our network