I just returned from my two week long trip to Champagne and Burgundy where I visited 38 properties and tasted over 536 different wines. It was a great trip, and both the 2014 & 2015 vintages are showing a lot of promise in both regions. One of the properties I visited was brand new to me; Champagne Arthur Marc in Fleury-La-Riviere.
Gregory and Patrice Marc are a father and son team with a tiny ten acre property in Fleury-La-Riviere. They represent the 11th and 12th generation of a family that has been working these vineyards since 1683. The village of Fleurie-La-Riviere might be the most beautiful village in all of Champagne, it is part of the valley of Brunay, which descends the hill from Hautvillers and goes down to Damery where it meets the Marne. In October, it looked like a river of green, red and yellow vines flowing into the mighty Marne.
In the winery the Marc family uses a traditional Coquard basket press and a combination of stainless steel and barrique. They never allow the wine to go through malolactic fermentation and sell no wine before it ages a minimum of three years. They have five years of stocks in their cellar and make approximately 40,000 bottles a year. They sell off everything except for the cuvee or first press as juice and their vineyards average 30 years old.
We are very proud to be working with this small, top quality property. The wines have excellent texture and poise and are made in an effortless, transparent style. Because of the incredible strength of the dollar and our direct purchase, we are able to offer the wines at great prices. I hope you will try them. Here is what we have:
Arthur Marc "Initiale Noir & Blanc" Brut Champagne $29.99: This Champagne is composed of even parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Marc estate in Fleury-la-Riviere in the heart of the Marne valley. The wine does not go through malolactic fermentation and is aged a minimum of three years on the lees. This elegant, restrained Champagne is dry and has the pin-point streamer of bubbles that fans of the expensive stuff love. The nose has the honest baguette toast of long ageing and the finish is citric and bracing. At the price, it is a no-brainer to try at least once! I served this as the aperitif to my Champagne team when we had our annual meeting.
Arthur Marc Grand Cuvee Brut Champagne $39.99: This is also half and half Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but this bottling is aged for a minimum of five years on the lees. The Grand Cuvee has the texture and complexity of a big house tete de cuvee and surprisingly also the restraint. I love the elegance of this wine- it manages to balance brioche richness with chalky raciness and do it effortlessly. If you like long finishing, subtle Champagne on the drier side, you will love this.
2014 Arthur Marc Fleury Rouge Coteaux Champenois $34.99: Still red wine made from Meunier in Champagne? Sadly, not all of you will get to taste this… I was only able to talk them out of three cases this time! This is the best red wine that I have had from Champagne. It is light bodied, but has impressive wild fruit and leather flavors and a long finish from the crackling acid that a cold climate like this brings. Unlike Pinot Noir from Champagne, this Meunier is ripe enough to avoid the strained tea like flavors I often find in reds from the region. This is a walk on the wild side!
A toast to you!