“It’s me. It’s mine. That’s all, just drink.” The simple, yet stongly indicative words of Flavian Nowack, winemaker at Champagne Nowack. He is one of several young and inspiring winemakers within, or better yet, creating this generational shift in the wine world. More and more I am finding wines that take me, pleasantly, by surprise with their focus, finesse and drive to show terroir – regardless of new or old world. I feel like we’re coming to a point where the designation between “new” and “old” isn’t giving us an insight into the experience of the wine. It’s more of a generalization of the history of wine in a country. Now, both viticulture and viniculture are changing – I would say for the better. It’s moving into a less is more approach.
I’ve become fascinated with the agricultural philosophy of biodynamics, and am ecstatic to see more and more wineries switch to organic, if not fully biodynamic. We’re moving away from money and quantity driven producers, and seeing a rise in men and women seeking quality, and trying to deliver place in a bottle.
This generational shift couldn’t be more obvious than in Champagne, where the land of negociants and blending has turned to growers and singularities. While, I think, most of the general public are still celebrating with flutes of Veuve Clicquot, those of us in the wine industry are gouging ourselves with wine glasses full of Cedric Bouchard’s Roses de Jeanne. I’m finding a surge of producers bottling single varietals, single vineyards and single vintages, which used to be a rare practice in Champagne. What’s exciting is the variation in vintages. These producers aren’t relying on replicating a certain “house style,” instead they are simply trying to produce the best wine, telling the tale of that year, in that place.
I had the GREAT honor to be invited to an intimate luncheon with these wine rockstars. Literally, I would liken these dudes to The Stones circa 1964, that may just be me though. It hit all of us – we were part of history in the making. This single moment that we all will look back on and say, damn, that’s when the world changed…ok, our world of wine geekiness. For these young guys to be making the waves they are, especially in a region like Champagne, well, it’s truly inspiring.
Here was the set list for the afternoon:
NV Prisme.11 Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay
2008 Le Mont Aigu Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay
Champagne Louis Nicaise with Clement Préaux
NV Réserve Brut, 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier
2007 Cuvée Louis par Laure, 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir
Champagne Pierre Paillard with Quentin Paillard
2010 Les Mottelettes Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay
2010 Les Maillerettes Grand Cru, Blanc de Noirs, 100% Pinot Noir
Champagne Nowack with Flavian Nowack
NV La Fontinette, Extra Brut, Blanc de Meunier, 100% Pinot Meunier
NV Les Bauchets, Extra Brut, Blanc de Noirs, 100% Pinot Noir
Champagne Cédric Bouchard with Cédric Bouchard
2011 Roses de Jeanne Ursules, Blanc de Noirs, 100% Pinot Noir
2011 Roses de Jeanne La Haute-Lemblée, Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay