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Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy is a winemaker through and through. His 14 hectares of vineyards in the Grande Vallée de la Marne are largely located in Cumières, where the estate named after his father René Geoffroy was originally based. Since 2008, vinification has taken place in the Grand Cru commune of Aÿ, a ten-minute drive away, where the family acquired a beautiful - and space-saving - château in 2006. There, grape processing follows natural gravity from delivery to barrel.
Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are Geoffroy's main grape varieties, with Chardonnay accounting for about 20 percent. There is also a parcel with a mixed set, which also includes the historic varieties of Champagne Petit Meslier and Arbanne. Virtually all of the vineyards in Cumières are south-facing, allowing for very good grape ripening. Cumières is one of the first communes in Champagne to begin harvesting each year.
A great deal of commitment and innovative spirit is evident in terms of vineyard work, as Jean-Baptiste chooses approaches that are quite unusual in Champagne. He recently uses acacia stakes for the wire frame that supports his vines with four wires. In summer, the shoots of the vines are not pruned, but wrapped around the top wire. Planting density is very high and winter pruning is done using the methods of Gentle Pruning. Geoffroy now farms several hectares biodynamically.
In the cellar, Jean-Baptiste works with two traditional Coquard presses, each holding 4,000 kilograms. He ferments the juice, foregoing cold stabilization, preferably in old enamel tanks. He avoids malolactic fermentation in favor of freshness and uses as little sulfur as possible. Only wooden barrels with weak toasting are used, not barriques but 600-liter barrels, for example, also from Austrian cooper Stockinger. Little, if any, wood tones are to be released into the wine. Particularly important to Geoffroy is the long aging of the wine on the lees. Champagne sur lattes are aged for an average of six years.
Jean-Baptiste has a very clear vision of what he wants to express in his champagnes, and he has the talent to bring all these components to the bottle as well. His style is on the one hand expressive and flavorful, yet extremely precise and punchy, never soft and round, but harmonious with plenty of drinkability. Geoffroy's champagnes also have an elegant and powerful fruit with present minerality and perfectly integrated acidity.
Facts: R.M., Aÿ, Vallée de la Marne, 14 ha., 120,000 bottles / year
Video of our visit in 2017: Youtube
Link to blog article: Visit FEB20