In 2010, at the age of 26, Etienne decided to take control of his grandparents’ 2.8 hectares of vineyards scattered in and around Avize, which had previously been sold off to the grandes maisons.
Stewardship of the terroir is the basis for great Champagne, so Etienne set out to ensure that all the vineyards (all the vines are at least 30 years old) are planted with grass cover crops, plowed (mostly by horse), and farmed following lutte raisonnée methods (they are farming organically since 2013 but aren’t certified).
Etienne himself had overseen the pressing of the grapes before they were sent off to the big houses, and he decided to maintain the strict quality controls already in place while adding a few personal touches. Each parcel is vinified separately, with a small percentage of the Rose de Craie and Infiniment Blanc aged in old barrels. All bottles are aged on the lees for 36 months, and an additional 3 months is given after disgorgement before the wines are released.
Calsac has an eye for experimentation, so expect to see new releases over the next few years, including Pinot Noir from family vineyards in the Aube and an extremely limited bottling from the monopole Clos des Maladries in Avize, planted by Etienne’s grandfather. His potential is unlimited – though his highly sought-after wines are not.