Many of you have joined us in enjoying the Grand Cru Champagnes of vigneron Eric Rodez for years now. The wines have always been excellent, but seem to have been getting better and better over the past few years.
With the past two years’ releases, though, Eric’s handcrafted Champagnes have taken a new step up – they are simply the best wines we’ve seen from him ever and certainly rank among the elite in all of Champagne.
Eric’s vineyard work certainly is part of the story. The Rodez family has farmed its 15 acres of Grand Cru vineyard in Ambonnay – one of Champagne’s top growing regions – for more than nine generations. When Eric took over in 1982, he quickly moved to what he called “ecological” farming, eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to create a healthier vineyard. Now he’s moved to full biodynamic practices to bring quality up further still.
And, his winemaking remains meticulous and heavily influenced by his early training at Krug. He’s divided his vineyard up into nearly three dozen separate plots and harvests and ferments each grape variety within each plot separately – nearly 70 separate lots in all! Once the base wines are made, some are held in tank while others spend time in used barrels to take on more complexity and depth.
For a producer his size, Eric is unusual in his willingness to hold back “reserve wines” from previous vintages for use in all of his cuvees. Grand Vintages is the benchmark, this year including seven vintages going back to 2000. But even his Rosé and Crayeres Champagnes get a healthy dose of reserve wine. While most “grower Champagne” contains only two or, at most, three vintages, Eric uses four years in his Rosé and up to 40% older wine (sometimes back five vintages) in Crayeres!
The result of all this hard work and careful blending is an astounding line-up of Grand Cru Champagnes in a style somewhere between Krug and Bollinger. These are Champagnes for wine lovers – plenty of power and depth married to finesse and elegance.
And, they are Champagnes for value lovers, too! Unlike more famous name Champagnes, Eric wastes no money on fancy packaging, gift sets, or advertising. And, by buying directly from Eric’s importer, Olivier Daubresse, we’ve cut out the middle man and can bring you this fantastic line-up of world class Champagne at rock-bottom prices.
If you only buy Champagne by the case once this year, these are the wines to buy.