Attending producer: Pascal Agrapart
Founded in 1894 by Arthur Agrapart, this outstanding estate in Avize acquired much of its present vineyard land during the 1950s and ’60s, thanks to Arthur’s grandson Pierre. Since 1984 it has been run by Pascal Agrapart and his brother Fabrice, who have taken the domaine to ever-greater heights, emphasizing natural viticulture and the expression of terroir.
The Agraparts’ vineyards are spread over 62 parcels, the majority of which lie in the grand cru villages of Avize, Cramant, Oiry and Oger. Average vine age is about 35 years, with the oldest vines in Avize over 60 years. Pascal Agrapart (pictured) is uninterested in being labeled as either organic or biodynamic, but he does feel that it’s important to work according to natural rhythms and sensibilities and both the vineyard work and the work in the cellar follow this philosophy. No chemical pesticides or weedkillers are ever used, and all of the vineyards are worked manually, encouraging the roots to descend deeper. The Agraparts place great importance on the proper technique and timing of pruning to control vineyard maladies, and some homeopathic treatments are also used in the vines to control parasites.
As expected for a Champagne estate that places a strong emphasis on viticulture, the average potential alcohol at harvest is very high here, normally around 11 degrees, and Agrapart virtually never chaptalizes any of his wines. The grapes are pressed with a traditional Coquard vertical press, and fermentation is carried out with natural yeasts, which Agrapart feels is crucial to the expression of terroir. Malolactic fermentation is completed for all the wines, and a portion of the best wines of the harvest are aged in old, 600-liter demi-muids: “the older the better,” says Agrapart, as he hates the flavors of new barrels. The wines are typically bottled around the full moon of May, with no fining, no filtration and no cold stabilization.
Information courtesy of Peter Liem's ChampagneGuide.net ©