Françoise Bedel, a single mother of two sons and a new winery found herself in a tight spot. Her oldest son was very sick and she could find no doctor or hospital that could cure him. There were many weeks and months searching for an answer. As a last desperate measure, she took him to see an older couple in a nearby village who practiced homeopathic medicine. Under their guidance, Vincent, Françoise’s son and current winemaker at the estate, was on the mend. She swore off modern medicine and within months had removed every chemical or synthetic material from her tiny winery, Françoise became a biodynamic winemaker before virtually anyone in the wine trade had ever heard of the term.
Today the estate is still small (8.4 hectares) and Françoise and Vincent are doing things their own way. While others champion the better-known Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, they are in love with Pinot Meunier and this variety features heavily at this address. This is not uncommon as the Marne Valley is know for the quality of its Pinot Meunier and Françoise and Vincent only farm small amounts of Chardonnay (13%) and Pinot Noir (9%). In addition to their reliance on Pinot Meunier, Vincent and Françoise are also patient with their champagnes and it is not uncommon for a wine to spend more than 6 years on the lees, and frequently far longer. Low or zero dosage is the rule chez Bedel.
Located on the margins of Champagne, Vincent and Françoise farm vines near the village of Crouttes-sur-Marne on the far western edge of the Marne Valley – they are far closer to Paris than the city of Reims! The terroir here is dominated by clay with touches of limestone and gravel. This, combined with the Pinot Meunier grape, lead to wines with heft and weight with long, lingering acidity. We don’t often think of decanting champagne, but these are wines that are transcendent when exposed to air – they are wines of great soul and depth.
A suitable name for a biodynamic Champagne – between heaven and earth or Entre Ciel et Terre comes from vineyards planted on calcareous clay soils and is a blend of roughly equal parts Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. It is aged 5 years sur latte and bottled with a modest dosage of 4.55g/L.
Aged 5 years sur latte, hand riddled and disgorged, 4.55g/L dosage, 30mg/L SO2.
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