In Epernay, in the Champagne region, there is a small Maison that is worth tasting. I discovered it from dear Umberto Cosmo, aka Bellenda, during this Vinitaly 2018. Filipe Mertens and his partner reserved for me not only the tasting of the three labels on the market, but also 2 novelties that do not yet have a name in Italy and were presented here for the first time at this Vinitaly. Before I tell you about the Maison and the tastings, I would like to say that those of Victor and Charles Champagne are particularly elegant wines. They have slightly oxidised notes typical of the type, but retain their freshness and are all endowed with an excellent drinkability, capable of conquering even the simplest of enthusiasts.
A bit of history...
The name of the company was born from the union of the name of the grandfather, Victor, and the name of the father, Charles, of Felipe Martens, who today produces splendid Champagnes honouring their names. This is a very small production of just 12,000 bottles destined for a high-end clientele of prestigious boutiques and restaurants. In fact, Felipe's philosophy is the same as that of my favourite architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 'Less is more', which translates into less treatment in the vineyard, fewer corrections in the cellar and less dosage for more product quality.
Victor and Charles Champagne: Le Brut
60% Chardonnay (Cru Mancy, Côtes des Blancs, Meunier), 30% Pinot Meunier (Damery and 1er Cru Hautvillers)10% Pinot Noir (Damery and 1er Cru Hautvillers) | Production year 2017: 9,700 bottles 80% Vintage 2013 and 20% Reserves from previous vintages. 36 months on the lees.
It has a pale, brilliant straw yellow colour, with a well-dosed bubble forming persistent perlage. The nose is very floral: one recognises a fine bouquet in which hints of rose, magnolia, violet and orchids fade into a hint of white chocolate. In the mouth it is elegant, very fresh, crisp and intense. You can feel the dosage (6-7 g/l), but it is very pleasant. The acidity is well balanced by softness. Nice persistence.
Victor and Charles Champagne: Le Blanc de Blanc Vintage 2009
100% Chardonnay (Cru Mancy, Côtes des Blancs, Meunier) The 15% matures in barriques | Production year 2017: 1200 bottles 100% Vintage 2009 | Sugars 4 g/l.
An 'old fashion style' Champagne that matures for at least 72 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. It is a beautiful bright straw yellow, very clear and with a numerous bubble forming a persistent mousse. The nose has warm notes of Dominican cigar, chocolate, banana, vanilla, zygopetalum, caramelised hazelnuts, coffee yoghurt. In the mouth the bubble is creamy, the taste is ripe but still fresh. The bubble could use a little extra push. Persistent and very elegant.
Victor and Charles Champagne: Le Rosé
It is a beautiful salmon pink with orange highlights. Fine and very numerous perlage. The nose is 'ripe' with hints of strawberry jam, caramelised hazelnuts and dried rose. In the mouth it maintains the ripe note with great elegance. Persistent, quite fresh and very balanced.
Victor and Charles Champagne: 'Secret name' Blanc
100% Chardonnay | 7 years on the lees | Sugars: 2 g/l
Victor and Charles Champagne: 'Secret name' Rosé
75% Pinot Noir 25% Chardonnay (a part does a passage in barrique) | 2 g/l | 72 months on the lees
It has a beautiful salmon pink colour with orange highlights. The nose is very elegant with notes of hibiscus blossom, cinnamon, milk chocolate, violets, and on the palate it is creamy, fresh, persistent and with a long finish.
In short, it was a wonderful tasting! I hope to taste some of Felipe's new wines or find out the name of the two new and secret champagnes during Vinitaly 2019! In the meantime, I suggest you take a look at the company's website by clicking HERE!
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