n.v. Etienne Sandrin, Extra Brut Champagne “A Travers Celles” Celles-sur-Ource, France.
The vivid and beautiful A Travers Celles Extra Brut Champagne by Etienne Sandrin, a sublime hand crafted all biodynamic bubbly made from 80% Pinot Noir, great for structure, and 20% Pinot Blanc, is crisply dry, aromatic and extremely dry on the palate with lemon, white peach, apple and pear fruit, subtle leesy brioche and bread dough accents, hazelnut, chalky stones, clove spice and cool mineral tones. This Champagne is wonderfully focused and the mousse is small beading with electric vibrancy, making this a sparkling wine in the Agrapart Mineral style, with poise and floral delicacy. This wine gains texture and length in the glass, even though it is racy and high toned, it is best to enjoy this Champagne with a meal or small bites, of course oysters and or caviar would be good companions here. A new producer to me, Etienne Sandrin uses biodynamically-farmed old vines, with this wine “A Travers Celles” is from three different plots in the Celles-sur-Ource, Mouiile-Brant, Grille Besace and Vieux Moulin, with different soil types, exposition and micro-climates adding to the complexity. Fermented in stainless steel exclusively, It was then aged on the lees in bottle for 3 years, with excellent results, this is exceptional and distinctive grower fizz that will certainly appeal to enthusiasts.
The grower producer Champagne house of Etienne Sandrin is based in the Côte des Bar village of Celles-sur-Ource, and is new rising star in this part of the region hand crafting small lot Champagnes that highlight the elegant and stony terroir influence here. I’m told that Etienne and Anne Sandrin took over the family’s 10 hectares of vineyards in 2006 after his parents and grandparents had traditionally farmed it and sold grapes to the local coop for many years. To strike his own path, and make an impact, he focused on converting the vineyards to organic and biodynamic farming, finally getting certified by Demeter in 2018. The winery started making the A Travers Celles cuvée in 2014, as mentioned above, it is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and uniquely 20% Pinot Blanc, sourced from different parcels across the village. This cuvée has become the signature wine of the winery, and with its very limited production it has also become a scarce treasure. The reputation is growing here and the minimalist style with zero to ultra low dosage and without the use of wood, these sparklers are steely fresh, vibrant and nuanced, which is very much right up my alley, I will be following this label closely. This producer is imported to in California by Pépite Wines, who’s bringing in mostly natural and organic Domaines from France, and I’ve been impressed by what I’ve tasted, especially this one.
($80 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive