Under Alexandre Chartogne’s guidance, the wines of Chartogne-Taillet are some of the most sought-after Champagnes being produced.
Alexandre worked with Anslem Selosse, who he describes as his "wine father”, returning home in 2006. The first wine that he produced was the 2006 vintage of Les Barres, a very special parcel of ungrafted Meunier, planted in 1952. The soil in this parcel is sand for almost 3m before the roots reach the chalk bedrock, allowing the vines “to live in two environments”.
In the vineyards, Alexandre does not follow any certifications; his goal is “to respect the soil populations as much as I can”. Sheeps and chickens are used for fertilization and focus is put on the health of the soil as Chartogne believes that the transmission of terroir comes only though careful work in the vineyard. Horses are kept on the property and used for ploughing and a majority of the work in the vineyard is made by hand.
He now produces wines from 8 different parcels - each planted with a different variety, but he is adamant about the variety not being important, “It is the soil and the place that is most important. The variety is just the transmission of the feeling of that place”. In addition to the very small production parcelled wines, he produces a Rosé, which he considers to be the wine that carries the biggest imprint of the winemaker, as well as a non-vintage called Saint-Anne, which expresses the different terroirs of Merfy. Sainte-Anne is a village wine, and an excellent lesson in just how fine wine from “cru normal” made with expertise and care can be. - Terry Theise