Chapoutier launches Champagne with Devaux

Renowned Rhone-based winemaker Michel Chapoutier has unveiled his first Champagne, which has been made in partnership with Devaux.

cuvee stenope 75cl

Sténopé will be produced every year

The new fizz is a vintage Champagne made solely with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and has been called Sténopé, from the French word for a pinhole camera, in reference to the fact that the Champagne aims to create a photographic image of a terroir every year.

Only 3,400 bottles and 620 magnums were produced for the inaugural vintage – 2008 – and only 160 bottles and 30 magnums will be on sale in the UK through importer Liberty Wines and retailer Berry Bros & Rudd, who will sell Sténopé for £150 (75cl) and £310 (150cl) from an official launch date of 1 November.

The pair of producers plan to release a vintage every year, which will “faithfully capture the image of the vintage”, according to Chapoutier – “rather than simply the expression of terroir in a declared vintage”.

As previously reported by the drinks business, Chapoutier bought half a hectare of 35 year-old Pinot Noir vines in the village of Les Riceys in the Côte des Bar with Champagne Devaux back in 2008, and decided to focus on wines aged in casks made from oak from the Champagne region.

According to Lauren Gillet, president of Union Auboise – Champagne Devaux cooperative, the vineyard has a southeast exposure, and is capable of producing Rosé des Riceys as well as Champagne.

The Chardonnay for Sténopé comes from a range of parcels owned by growers supplying the Devaux cooperative, and Gillet told db that the new cuvée would use only white grapes from the chalky slopes of the Montgueux hillside, close to Troyes.

In terms of vineyard practices, Gillet said that Chapoutier would like to employ biodynamics, but presently the co-owned vineyard was farmed “sustainably”, using “very few pesticides and no weedkiller”.

Union Auboise – Champagne Devaux holds almost 1,500 hectares in the Aube and Côte des Blancs and acquired the Devaux brand in 1986, although the cooperative was already producing wine for the Champagne house.

Chapoutier, who is a lover and avid drinker of Champagne, makes wine from several appellations in northern and southern Rhône, as well as from Roussillon and Alsace and has collaborative projects in Portugal and Australia.

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