At the beginning of June we set off with the whole family to take a little wine journey from Champagne through Burgundy to the Jura and to pay a visit to some winegrowers.
You learn best when you can see, hear, feel and taste where the wine comes from. In addition, the personal relationships with our business partners are important to us and such a visit to the property is of course much nicer than just a visit to the exhibition stand ...
A highlight of the five-day trip was the visit to Champagne Moutard in Buxeuil, one of the smallest communes of the Côte des Bar in southern Champagne.
The surroundings alone are fantastic: between the vineyards, which stretch across slightly hilly terrain, there are small, sleepy villages that, with their sometimes very stately sandstone properties and blooming rose bushes, are picturesque and meticulously cared for, but never seem ostentatious or stuffy. We hardly meet a soul, but we see horses and cherry trees and of course one champagne house after the other. Everything is green and blooming and the air is fragrant.
Arriving in Buxeuil, Alexandre Moutard, the eldest son of the four Moutard children, welcomes us. At the same time, he calls his cousin so that he can take care of the customer who is waiting in a driveway to personally pick up the crates of champagne that she has ordered. This is how it works at the Moutards: Business and private customers come to visit almost every day, either to stock up for private use or to do business. And a family member is always on hand. Just not on Sunday, because, as Alexandre emphasizes several times, it belongs to “God”.
After we have moved into our quarters, we are picked up by Alexandre and his younger brother Benoît in their van, because now we are going to visit the vineyards. What we don't know yet: in the trunk of the van there is a cooler full of champagne. Because this will not simply be a visit to the vineyards: we will taste every champagne that the Moutards produce from individual plots, in each plot. After all, it tastes best that way!
Our first stop is the Champ Persin plot, planted with Chardonnay. Looking at the other slopes, Benoît explains that Chardonnay has darker leaves than Pinot Noir, which has lighter leaves. So you can see from afar what is growing where. The brothers explain what work needs to be done in the vineyard and when, how it is with the harvest and the harvest workers, tell anecdotes... At the same time, the cool bag is opened and the glasses taken out.
The Buxeuil boys, as we have now nicknamed them among us, learned their trade from scratch and – in contrast to their younger siblings, who took a different career path – knew early on that they wanted to accept the family inheritance. Despite being just 25 and 27 years old, they radiate a skilled and professional confidence that comes naturally when you know your field through and through and live and breathe your profession.
Accordingly, they chat rather than lecture and so we soon put away our notebooks and let ourselves fall into the wonderful atmosphere to enjoy with all our senses. The sun, the view, the sparkling cool champagne in our glasses. Since we no longer have to drive the car today, we enjoy it down to the last drop and, for once, don't spit it out. Champagne hasn't tasted so good for a long time!
The Champ Persin is a champagne made from 100% Chardonnay. Like all champagnes from the house, it has been aged for 36 months in the bottle and is a lot of fun with its refreshing citrus notes and the long finish, especially under the midday sun and as an introduction.
After a short minute in the van we have reached the next plot and here it is the turn of the Cuvée Richardot from 100% Pinot Noir. We already sell this very elegant champagne and our team is without exception enthusiastic about it. It is also often used in our champagne seminars. In addition to delicate roasted aromas, it shows fruity notes. In the mouth it is almost creamy and the dosage can hardly be tasted.
It harmonizes perfectly with Chaource, but today it also tastes good without cheese and bread...
The next stop is the Vignes Beugneux parcel , home of the eponymous brut champagne, also made from 100% Pinot. The parcel is located in the municipality of Polisy, the vines are 20 years old and this champagne has also been aged for 36 months in the bottle. It is dense and has nice brioche notes, a smooth finish and a long finish. The Pinot Noir character comes into its own.
Finally, we taste the rosé champagne “Dame Nesle”, Brut, again made from 100% Pinot Noir from 25- year-old vines with 36 months of bottle aging. Berry and refreshingly mineral - a nice new discovery for us.
And then it's "already" back to the village, to "Moutard-Ville", as you could also call it, because the 130-strong village is firmly in the hands of the Moutards: every second house bears the name Moutard, accommodates one basement or storeroom. We also meet an aunt and a cousin on the street. Later there are even more, because in the evening the christening of one of the younger family members is celebrated.
For lunch - we have a barbecue in the courtyard - there are at least five other champagnes, including the Vigne Chienne, another champagne made from 100% Chardonnay that we will order next time, as well as the Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume , because the Moutards also have vineyards in nearby Burgundy and also make excellent red and white wines.
Since the many fine wines are slowly getting to our heads, we retire after the meal, but soon meet Alexandre again, who is now showing us through the impressive cellars. We feel like time and space travellers, because firstly there are some very old bottles stored in the cellars and secondly the entire village seems to have a cellar: although we went down into the cellar behind the house, we come out somewhere else!
At the end, Alexandre shows us his newest facility, where he can pursue his true passion: He had let it be known time and again that he had a soft spot for schnapps. And so we now visit the in-house distillery, in which fruit brandies typical of the region and Marc de Champagne are produced, but more recently also classics such as whiskey, gin and vodka, the latter interestingly made from grapes and not from grain or potatoes, as is usually the case here . Very exciting!
However, the facility is currently at a standstill and so we are already certain: we will be back!
Many thanks to Alexandre, Benoît and all the Moutard family for their hospitality. See you soon in Berlin or Buxeuil!