La Vallée du Petit Morin, Côte des Blancs, Champagne, France
“I was impressed by these releases from Jeaunaux-Robin, a producer in the Vallée du Petit Morin hitherto unknown to me. Their 5.7 hectares of vines are in the process of organic certification, and around a quarter of the base wines are fermented in used barrels, with the balance vinified in stainless steel. These are intense, flinty wines with the ripeness and concentration to sustain their low dosage, and I look forward to visiting soon.”
-William Kelley, Issue #242 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate - “Champagne: Recent and Forthcoming Releases” April 2019
Truly a treasure, this tiny family domain was founded in 1964 by Michel & Marie-Claude Jeaunaux and is now run by husband and wife Cyril & Clémence Jeaunaux-Robin. The estate is only 5.7 ha, with vineyards beginning at the end of the family garden, just behind the children’s trampoline, where the grass of the lawn merges into the grass between rows of vines. With the proximity of the vineyards to the family home, it’s no surprise that they’ve been fully biody-namic since 2010 and organic for far longer.
Jeaunaux-Robin is located in the village of Talus Saint-Prix in La Vallée du Petit Morin, so named for the Le Petit Morin river (a tributary of the Marne), at the very southern tip of the Cote des Blancs. The entire village has only 39 ha of vineyards planted on south facing slopes . La Vallée du Petit Morin is known for its flint-rich, silex soil which imparts unmistakable texture and minerality to the wines. Average vine age on the family’s property is 40 years, which is ancient by Champagne standards and only increases the depth and richness of the wines.
Jeaunaux-Robin produce only about 40k bottles in their tiny cellar. There are two basket presses in the garage and grape must flows by gravity into settling tanks under the back door and into the winery beneath the house. Cyril uses old oak barrels to vinify around a quarter of the wines, with malolactic fermenta-tion, with the rest in stainless steel, also with malo.
Champagne Eclats de Meulière Extra Brut NV
60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir & 10% Chardonnay. 20% barrel fermented in large oak foudre, 30 months on the lees. Eclats de Meulière means "Burst of millstone" recalling the nature of soils. The wine starts with a juicy, fruity attack, a medium/full mid-palate and an exceptionally long, mineral finish.
“Disgorged in January 2018, the NV Extra Brut Éclats de Meulière opens in the glass with a gently reductive nose of smoky orchard fruit, wheat toast and iodine. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, bright and incisive, with a ripe core of fruit underpinned by a tangy spine of acidity, concluding with a saline, mouthwatering finish. 90 Points.” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate #242, April, 2019
Champagne Rosé Le Dessous de la Cabane Brut NV
60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir & 10% Chardonnay . 20% barrel fermented in large oak foudre, 30 months aging on the lees. “The underside of the hut" is the name of the Pinot Meunier plot which gives the wine its color. The grapes are macerated for 48-72 hours to extract color. Light strawberry notes and tart, lip-smacking minerality.
“The latest rendition of Jeaunaux-Robin's NV Brut Rosé Le Dessous de la Cabane is performing very well indeed, unwinding in the glass with notes of smoky blood orange, pomegranate and dried flowers. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with an ample but crisp core of fruit, ripe but tangy acids and terrific concentration, with a long, sapid and mouthwateringly direct finish. Composed of 75% Pinot Meunier (of which some 15% was still red wine), 20% Pinot Noir and 5% Chardonnay, it's among the most compelling of these recent releases from this under-the-radar grower. 92 Points” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate #242, April, 2019
Champagne Les Grands Nots Brut Nature 2006
33% Pinot Meunier, 33% Pinot Noir & 33% Chardonnay. 100% barrel fermented in large foudre, 10 years on the lees. “Nots" means springs in old French. A yeasty brioche-like character with notes of green apple, lemon curd, peach, white flowers and crushed stones. The palate is beauti-fully balanced with notes of cream, fresh lemon, green apple and a concentrated finish.
“This recently disgorged bottle of the 2006 Brut Les Grands Nots unwinds in the glass with a pretty bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, citrus oil, honeycomb and marzipan. On the palate, it's full-bodied, broad and powerful, with a youthfully frothy mousse, surprisingly incisive acids for the vintage and a precise, saline finish. The combination of broad shoulders and tangy acidity bodes very well for its evolution, and a bottle I followed over several days only improved; indeed, I would love to try this again after the better part of a decade on cork. It's a blend of equal parts Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Vallée du Petit Morin, fermented together in small barrels before seeing at least ten years sur lattes. 93+ Points” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate #242, April, 2019
Champagne Le Talus de Saint Prix Extra Brut NV
60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir & 10% Chardonnay | 20% barrel fermented in large oak fou-dre, 42 months aging on the lees. "The Slope of Saint Prix“ - Similarly juicy to wine above but softer and rounder due to the additional time on the lees.
“Disgorged in March 2017 with no dosage, the NV Brut Nature Fil de Brume offers up a lively bouquet of lemon oil, smoky green apples and oyster shell and shows little discernible evolution despite its time on cork. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, racy and incisive, built around a bright spine of ripe but assertive acidity, with a pinpoint mousse and a mouthwateringly chalky finish. 92 Points” - William Kelley, Wine Advocate #242, April, 2019
Champagne Fil de Brume Brut Nature NV
80% Chardonnay & 20% Pinot Noir 20% barrel fermented in large oak foudre. 42 months aging on the lees. Zero dosage. Fil de Brume means "Wire of Mist," which is inspired by the mist banks that top the valley in the early morning. Chardonnay gives extra structure and density to this wine which remains balanced and full despite the lack of dosage; tremendous persistence.
“Disgorged in March 2017 with just over five grams per liter dosage, the NV Extra Brut Le Talus de Saint Prix is beautifully expressive, bursting with aromas of yellow orchard fruit, acacia honey, dried white flowers and chamomile. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with a fleshy but succulent core of fruit, bright acids, a pinpoint mousse and a penetrating, distinctly mineral finish. This is another persuasive, beautifully integrated, Pinot Meunier-dominated cuvée from Jeaunaux-Robin. 90 Points” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate #242, April, 2019