Champagne Stephane Regnault Dorien Grand Cru No.45 750ml
From vines planted between 1950 (half) and 1980 (half) in the Hautes-Mottes parcel from Les Mesnil. The Dorien cuvée is the most reticent and complex, and needs time in the bottle in order to express its potential as an epic, rich, and structured wine.
If you haven't heard of Stéphane's wines before, that comes at little surprise as his first release was in 2018. This was not a project put together in haste, but a culmination of over 10 years of careful reflection, experimentation and trials. Prior to 2007, Stéphane had worked as a sommelier in London as well as an aerospace engineer in Paris. One day he gave it all up to take over his family's domaine. Lucky for him, their vineyards (most 40-60 years old) are based in 2 of the best Grand Cru villages in all of champagne - Le Mesnil and Oger, not too shabby!
Inspired and influenced by the conversations he had with other young producers, Stéphane decided to stop using herbicides in the vineyards, and gradually converted to organic and biodynamic farming. He uses natural plant products, teas, essential oils, and biodynamic preparations made from dung, silica, and valerian on his farm. Stéphane also uses macerated nettles at the beginning of the vegetative process to strengthen the vines’ resistance against disease, which allows him to decrease the amount of copper and sulfur used to protect against mildew and powdery mildew.
In the cellar, each parcel is fermented and vinified in a similar fashion - ⅔ in stainless steel tanks and ⅓ in used barrels. Malolactic fermentation is neither blocked nor encouraged - Stéphane allows the wine to take its course each year, tasting regularly to determine the right moment to blend the barrels and tanks into one of the three perpetual solera that are kept separately for each of the three cuvées.
All this leads to an incredible expression of terroir that is unique, unparalleled, and unmistakably alive. Also a note on these distinct labels, in addition to being a winemaker, Stéphane is a passionate jazz saxophone player, and has named his three cuvées after a different jazz mode that each wine reminds him of (talk about spark!). Production is teeny tiny and these are virtually nonexistent stateside.