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Everything José does is aimed at making a better wine and assuring him healthier vines. A new cellar was just built, which will increase on-site storage from 100,000 bottles to 200,000 bottles. On-site storage will be much more environmentally friendly, since all the wines are now gravity fed and the facility was designed with fuel and water efficiency in mind. The winery even takes advantage of rainwater by storing it and using it for cleaning equipment. The wines are stored in both steel and oak, depending on the cuvée, and disgorgement

occurs bottles

when the opportunity is available. are disgorged in tranches based on

Essentially, the weather

(when you can’t work in On average, three to four

the vineyards, you thousand bottles are

disgorge). disgorged

in quality, once destroyed by war, did not play into the Echelle de Crus’ hierarchy first established in 1919. Now that vignerons have returned to the region, an insider secret has emerged Berru can yield great wines for a reasonable price!

Outside of Berru, Jacques Picard has holdings in Avenay Val d’Or, and Montbré; interestingly, Avenay d’Or and Montbré are ranked as Premier Crus, yet to my mind,

Jacques another ranking Picard’s 170,000

Picard’s Berru holdings are better. This is yet example of why Champagne’s current Cru

system could use some updating. total vineyard holdings equal 17 ha and bottles produced per year.

Jacques result in

per day, different

and the different disgorgements destinations based on how long the

are

sent

to

wine

will

be

in transit customer.

and the length of Jacques Picard

storage before reaching the does not support printing

disgorgement dates on causes confusion to the that having a general

the bottle because they feel it customer. While they do admit idea of the original cuvée is

worthwhile, they have consumers questioning

suggested that they wish to avoid two bottles disgorged a day apart.

Young Grapes on Picard’s Berru Vines

Berru is a Chardonnay village at heart: the vines are planted to 70% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, and 20% Pinot Meunier. Nonetheless, some exquisite parcels of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are also grown in the village. The Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes on the east facing mid-slope of Mont de Berru receive especially good sun exposure during the morning and cooling shade in the afternoon from the forest on the top of the mountain. Despite the marginal rating of this village (it ranks a good deal below Premier Cru), there is excellent potential across all of the plantings, with some of the best vines flirting with Grand Cru quality. So then, why isn’t Berru ranked higher? True, there are some rather poor- quality vineyards in the village, but there are poor-quality vineyards everywhere. It really comes down to the fact that the World Wars almost wiped this village off the Champagne map. Berru is similar to Merfy (which is also ranked as a Cru Normale). Apparently, previous greatness

As far as the wines go, the house style is one of fresh fruit and minerality in perfect balance; Chardonnay gives excellent structure and sharp citrus and mineral flavors, while the Pinot grapes tend to offer a fuller, rounder, and fruitier style. When blended, the three grape varietials play off of each other almost effortlessly to create a sum greater than its parts. A part of the house signature is likely due to the fact that malolactic fermentatioin is only used for the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. For the Rosé, the wines are left to macerate with their skins for one week before the juice is removed for fermentation. Before 2000, this techinique wasn’t used, and the wine was heavier and meatier in style. It is now much more fresh, fruity, and light, and both I and the Jacques Picard team are much happier with it today. José prefers to separate the red wine for use in a Rosé from that used in still red wine, unlike many other producers who just aim to make a good red still wine and then simply plop it into the Rosé. He believes that different vines, viticulture, and

winemaking techniques are utilized to make red wine for either a Rosé red wine addition wine meant to be a final product.

the perfect a still red

Champagne Warrior

Special Web Sample Edition - October 2010

7

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