The fact that the Maison Gonet-Médeville has just turned 20 years of age should not mislead us from the actual importance of this winery in Bisseuil, on the south-eastern side of the Montagne de Reims, in Champagne. The owner couple, Xavier Gonet and his wife Julie Médeville, are in fact the respective descendants of a famous family of Champagne winemakers (the Gonets) and a family with several properties in Bordeaux, including Château Gillette and Château Les justices (the Médevilles). Having met at a tasting in Reims, Xavier and Julie married the following year and when, in 2000, they had to proceed to the division of the lands owned by Xavier’s grandfather, they took over 2 hectares, the first winery’s plot of land, mainly located in the 3 villages of Bisseuil, Ambonnay and Mesnil-sur-Oger. The land purchase policy then proceeded slowly, until the current extension of about 12 hectares, divided between 8 municipalities, 3 Grand Cru (Mesnil-Sur-Oger, Oger and Ambonnay) and 5 Premier Cru (Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ, Bisseuil, Billy Le Grand, Trépail and Vaudemange).
According to what the same couple tells, the choice of production style was born from the fact that Xavier and Julie agreed that the taste of Champagne of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s had a much higher quality level than that of the following years. At the end of the day, the couple realized that, in order to reproduce the style of those old Champagnes, they had to start from the vineyards, abandoning modern chemical remedies (fungicides, fertilizers, herbicides, etc.) and returning to an organic approach. The result has been a “subtraction” viticulture that employs very few natural aids (such as manure-based fertilizer) and obliges the vines to dig deep into the chalky soil, looking for nutrients, producing a smaller amount of fruits of greater complexity. In this perspective, the work in the cellar has become the logical continuation of that in the vineyard, where wines are not clarified, filtered or cold decanted, in order to give back the taste of the bunch in its entirety.
From one of the most prestigious lands of the whole Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur-Oger, originates the Grand Cru millesimé Extra-Brut Champ d’Alouette, one of the most representative wines of the winery. Located in Le Mesnil, Champ d’Alouette is obviously a pure Chardonnay, grown on soils rich in chalk, cultivated following the principles of biodynamic agriculture. Once harvested, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed before fermentng, in used barriques, and aging on their lees, in bottle, for 12 years. After disgorgement, the bottles are refilled with a low-sugar liqueur d’expedition, just 2g/l, and left to rest at least another six months before marketing.
The 2004 vintage shows a straw-yellow color of medium intensity with a persistent fine-grained perlage, and an olfactory range that opens on notes of kumquat, peach in syrup, gooseberry and croissant, followed by cedar peel, hawthorn, strawberry tree honey and custard cream, with final echoes of wet chalk and combusted shell. The palate is perfectly balanced between the citrine freshness, the slight glyceric softness, the subtle and incessant perlage and the savory/ mineral component; all enriched by the return of citrus, yellow fruit and shell that accompany the sip to a juicy closure.
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