"Climate change is a reality," says co-owner and winemaker Antoine Malassange. "The challenge for the future of Champagne is to be able to bring as much freshness as possible to our reserve wines. At the end of each harvest, we observe that acidity levels are much lower than they used to be. Reserve wines now need to add complexity and richness but also freshness. Ageing a portion of our reserve wines in magnums under cork and staple makes this possible."
As soon as they arrived at AR Lenoble nearly 25 years ago after taking over from their father Jean-Marie Malassagne in 1993, sister-and-brother co-owners Anne and Antoine Malassagne made the decision to start conserving their reserve wines in 225-liter barrels using the principle of the perpetual reserve, a process that continues to this day. A few years later, they invested in 5,000-liter casks to allow for an ageing process that was slower than in barrels. In these containers, reserve wines were able to obtain additional brightness and freshness.
More recently, in 2010, as part of their constant research for ways to improve the quality of their wines, they decided to add an additional element to the perpetual reserve by conserving some of their reserve wines in magnums under natural cork and staple. The magnum format has the ideal "liquid to oxygen" ratio, and as these reserve wines age under 1.5 barres of pressure and are therefore protected from oxygen, a subtle, exceptional aromatic palate develops over time - and yet the reserve wines remain fresh.
Following the 2014 harvest, and for the very first time, Antoine Malassagne decided to blend these unique reserve wines into his non-vintage champagnes. He created these "new" non-vintage wines using 40% reserve wines and 60% wines from the 2014 harvest. The final blends were then placed in our cellars and after three and a half years, the first two wines are ready to be enjoyed. It's been a very long and expensive process, but we can now say proudly that AR Lenoble is making some of the most ambitious brut non-vintages in all of Champagne, and at a very critical moment in the time for the environment.
Champagne AR Lenoble Brut Nature Dosage Zero "mag14" will be released in 2019 while Champagne AR Lenoble Rose Terroirs Chouilly-Bisseuil "mag14" will be released in 2020. AR Lenoble's non-vintage releases of "mag15", "mag16", "mag17" and "mag18" will be released in the years to come!
AR Lenoble Intense “mag 14”
AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly “mag 14”
1 Nov 2019