Récoltant Manipulant (Grower Champagne)
One of the few woman-owned French wineries
A Vigneron Independant
The association’s most important parts of their charter stipulate that members must:
- Respect their terroir
- Work and harvest their own vineyard
- Make the wine themselves
- Bottle their wine themselves
- Keep viticultural traditions
Like all Récoltants Manipulant, this Grower Champagne House uses only fruit they grow, allowing Marie-Laure Copinet and her winemaker husband Alexandre Kowal to create wines that purely reflect their estate’s terroir. Originally working for Taittinger, her father Jacques founded the family estate winery in 1975, and stopped selling to Moët the fruit from their vineyards in the tiny Champagne village of Montgenost (population 140) in the Marne Valley.
Copinet is not bound by a House Style, like those created by many Maisons which override natural vintage variations. Only 5,500 cases annually. Creative in approach, they are experimenting with tiny lots of single vineyard vintage Champagnes, and Coteaux Champenois.
Distinctive for the high percentage of Reserve Wines (50-70%) from at least 3 vintages blended into each cuvee, made without any new oak and minimal dosage , resulting in a Chardonnay-dominated style with racy acidity, freshness and finesse.
Hand-harvested before sunrise, then rigorously table-sorted at the estate before pressing within the hour, the wines have no oxidative quality. Using only the free-run and first press, yield is only 400 pounds of juice from 2,000 pounds of grapes. Primary fermentation in concrete tanks, bottle fermentation and aging all take place in the frigid 45°F cellar, temperatures that slow the fermentation for maximum aromatics and complexity. Dosage is always unflavored and only 5-6 g/L. Using the first egg-shaped Stainless Steel fermenter in winemaking (they had it custom-made to keep acidity bright) they bring subtle richness to their cuvees, using tank convection currents to gently stir the lees (without using oak or the more vigorous battonage technique).
Vineyards and Terroir:
With the same chalky dolomite soils of Epernay and Reims that retain very little water and create grapes of great concentration, the mean temperature is 51°F, actually colder than Vancouver, Canada. With this very cool climate, the Vin Claire (once-fermented juice) has astronomical acidity, ensuring wines that are gracefully cellar-worthy. Their 16.5 acres are within the village of Montgenost, mostly south- facing slopes and are planted primarily to Chardonnay for its finesse, freshness and bright, dancing lightness on the palate. Organically farmed with no herbicides or pesticides, using plowing, cover crops, and the greenest possible methods, they are now accredited Terra Vitis for meeting strict winery and vineyard standards.
Brut NV, “Extra Quality” Organically farmed 12.0% alcohol
90 Points, Wine Spectator: “Elegant with bright acidity and a finely detailed texture paired with pleasing notes of pastry, green pear, citrus and anise.” 90 Points, Burghound: “Expressive nose, soft citrus, yeast and green apple scents. Citrus-tinged acidity, crisp and clean. Solid quality.” 33% each Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Munier. Based on 2010 vintage, with 2011 and 2009. 3 years on lees, dosage 6 g/Liter. 1,400 cases.
Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay, Brut NV Organically farmed 12.0% alcohol 91 Points, Burghound 256 234 / 2 Single 3.0 L Jeroboam $175; Single 1.5 L Magnum $98; Half Bottles [6 pk] 136 128 / 2
91 Points, Burghound : “Aromas of green apple, floral, yeast, citrus and Meyer lemon. The crisp, intense and delineated flavors, fine mousse deliver quality depth and length.” Bright flavors of apricot, honeydew melon, hazelnuts framed with white citrus on a focused, laser-like frame of pure white fruits. Made with 50% Reserve Wines and vintages 2009, 2010 and 2011. Bottle-aged for 4 years on lees; 5 g/L dosage. 1,000 cases.
Brut Nature (No Dosage), Blanc de Blancs, Brut NV Organically farmed 12.0% alcohol. 91 Points, WA; Gold Medal, Paris
Unique many ways: no dosage, extremely rare for Blanc de Blancs. It is blended from their 3 most recent Declared Vintages (2008, 2009 and 2010) then bottle-aged on lees for 5 years. Fermented using their custom-made first egg-shaped Stainless Steel Fermenter in the world to keep the acidity bright (cement-egg fermenters lower acidity), convection-stirring the lees gently for lush-texture but still racy with acidity. No oak. 800 cases.
2008 Vintage Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Monsieur Leonard Organically farmed 12.0% alcohol 93 Points, Wine Spectator: “Spring blossom and citrus notes lead to flavors of crunchy pear and Marcona almond in this firm, minerally Champagne. Tightly
knit and racy, with a creamy finish. drink now through 2030.” Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne co-author Tom Stevenson: “2008 is one of the greatest champagne vintages of my lifetime. So fine and focused, unbelievably long, with great precision, purity and intensity, yet barely perceptible weight.”
100% Chardonnay, this Tête du Cuvée is from the best Chardonnay lots of 2008. The entire 2008 production was imported to US. 6 grams/L dosage. 9 years on lees. 250 cases. Single 1.5L 2009 Magnum
Rosé Caractér Brut NV Organically farmed 12.0% alcohol
91 Points, Wine Spectator: “Aromatic, with star anise and graphite notes, this vinous version is soft and creamy in texture, featuring citrus acidity that frames the flavors of wild cherry, dried thyme and fragrant smoke. Distinctive.” 30% Reserve wines, from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages. Bottle-aged 4 years on lees, with a 5 g/Liter dosage. 50% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 30% Saignee Pinot Meunier. 830 cases. Half Bottles
White Still Champagne – Coteaux Champenois EA Blanc Organically farmed 11.0% alcohol Wine Advocate: “The bouquet is subtle, round and elegant, with good ripeness, some yeasty-creamy bâtonnage notes, discreet toasty and refreshing lemon aromas. Lean, fresh and mineral on the palate, this is light, lean, intense, structured and remarkably persistent. Bone dry and with very fine tannins. A blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunieur and Chardonnay. Unfined and unfiltered.” Only 86 sixpacks made! 1 bottle Coteaux Blanc made per 24,000 bottles sparkling.
Red Still Champagne – Coteaux Champenois EA Rouge Organically farmed
This rarely made Pinot Noir ranks with Grand Cru Burgundy. Wine Advocate: “A remarkably good red wine from Champagne.” Smooth and round but dry, fresh and well-structured, this is full-bodied, intense and very elegant Pinot Noir. Fine, elegant, fruity, toasty floral bouquet that indicates freshness and finesse. Beautiful dark cherry, blackthorn, violet, licorice, toast and dark chocolate, mineral freshness and fine tannin structure. Only 86 sixpacks made!
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