La Closerie (Jérôme Prévost) Les Béguines Extra Brut LC18
Almost all Pinot Meunier with small percentages of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. Jérôme Prévost and his estate of Champagne La Closerie are part of a small but powerful coalition of tiny producers making intense, terroir-transparent, vinous Champagnes. Rather than follow the traditional Champagne model of blending grapes, vintages, and vineyards to produce a "standardized" product, Jérôme and his fellow "Champagne Renegades" produce terroir-specific bottlings primarily dedicated to one grape and one vintage. In the mid-1990s, Jérôme began working at Jacques Selosse and in 1998, with the help of Anselme Selosse, he began producing tiny quantities of his own wine in the Selosse cellars in Avize. He continued to produce his wine there until 2001 when moved production to Gueux. Today, modern and minimalist home and winery sit on the edge of the vineyard. Jérôme was most certainly influenced by some of the unique techniques of Anselme Selosse, including fastidious attention to detail in the vineyard, with extremely low yields (about half the legal limit!) and no chemical additives used in his farming. Jérôme inherited a two hectares parcel known as Les Béguines from his grandmother, who grew up on the same road in the Montagne de Reims village of Gueux where the winery and family home are located. In Les Béguines, Pinot Meunier reigns supreme, but there are assorted vines of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay interspersed throughout the parcel, which represents about 5% of the final blend. The vines were planted in the 1950s and are harvested by hand while fermenting is done with native yeasts in used barriques and demi-muids. The champagnes are disgorged about 16 months after bottling and finished with no dosage and very little sulfur so as to preserve the sanctity and purity of the wine underneath. This short period sur lattes is unique in Champagne, but Jérôme maintains that the most interesting evolution in his wines occurs in the bottle in the months and years following disgorgement, as he points out, more like regular still wine than a Champagne. The intensity, power, and precision of Prévost Champagnes, combined with Jérôme's thoughtful, comedic approach (along with minuscule quantities), has resulted in a cult following for the man and his wines.