Michel Lenique’s house of Champagne was founded in 1768 in Pierry. The estate is a little less than 7 hectares and yearly production is close to 50.000 bottles. The vines are located in Mardeuil, Vauciennes, Vincelles and Epernay. A large share of the production is sold directly on the property, and 30% of business comes from exportation.
Upon booking (which is preferable), Mme Lenique will invite you to come to the estate and suggest a 5-euro-discovery tasting. This includes the tasting of 4 different Champagne wines (prices run for 2017). You’ll then get a good sense of the vineyard without having to buy, or feeling that you have to buy in large amounts.
Wine-making at Michel Lenique’s estate (and a tour of the vineyard) :
During the harvest, grapes are juiced in a 4.000-kilo-wine press. It is a slow process that can last up to four hours. The juice then goes on to a refrigerated plate so as to avoid fermentation before going into tanks for settling.
Juices are separated according to their vintage and villages. They will then undergo a first fermentation with the adding of yeast and sugar for 15 days at a 15 C° temperature. After that, the Champagne wines will go through a second malolactic fermentation, except for the vintage one.
In January, Alexandre Lenique – who is a wine-taster – does the blending. During this process, the whole family’s opinion is asked for. Once the blendings are done, wines are cooled up to -5°C and are then filtered. In April, they are poured in bottles. The regular wines are turned with a gyropalette.
Some wines, such as vintage and special sized-bottles are manually turned every day, such as shown on the picture below. Marks are made with a piece of chalk in order to keep track of the process.
Disgorging happens when freezing the bottleneck up to -25°C (thanks to the device shown on the picture below by Corinne Lenique). Then, a MCR expedition liqueur is added and bottles are stored for 3 to 6 months, until the liqueur is properly integrated.
Touring the winery is very interesting. Indeed, some of the stone-dug vaults are up to 170 years old.
As most clients are French or British, a presentation of the estate is also available in English.
Champagne wines :
All these Champagne wines contain a small dose of expedition liqueur. Prices run for 2017.
Sélection Brut : Blend of Chardonnay (50%), Meunier (45%) and 5% Pinot noir. 6g/l of expedition liqueur. This is a fruity Champagne, in which you can definitely get a taste of Pinot Meunier. It is grown for 2 years in wine cellars. Price is 15,15 euros on the estate.
Noirs de réserve Brut : 6g/l . We cannot complement this Champagne enough. It is superbly balanced, with sharp fruity notes. Its Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier blend has won us over. Price is another convincing argument, as a bottle costs 16,40 euros on the estate. This wine is grown for 2 years in wine cellars.
Blanc de réserve : 6g/l. This Champagne wine is 100 % Chardonnay, with 60 % coming from the ongoing year’s harvest and 40 % from a stored wine. This is also a beautiful Champagne, as much so as the Blanc de Noirs. It is salty, sharp, so tasty that you cannot just have one sip. Its price will convince customers as well (starting at 17,10 euros)
Brut cuvée Excellence : 5 g/l. This Champagne wine is named after Alexandre Lenique, the family’s wine-taster. It has grown for a long time in vats. It is a blend of this year’s harvest (30 %), stored wine (40 %) and Pinot Meunier (30 %). This is a light and fine Champagne, with citrus and apple overtones. The bubbles are very thin and brisk. A very nice Champagne wine indeed. (19,90 euros on the estate)
Rosé Brut : 6 g/l. We will be tasting this vintage very soon (17,50 euros on the estate).
Vintage : 5g/l. Blend of Chardonnay (70 %), Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir from a single year’s harvest. (23 euros on the estate)
Blanc de Blancs vintage Grand cru 2007 : 100 % Chardonnay Grand cru. There’s a lot of energy and salinity in this vintage. It is an absolute delight. (29 euros on the estate)
Family secret : A very special Lenique’s recipe. Great structure and long-tasting. This Champagne can either go before or during a meal. (39 euros on the estate)
Champagne Michel Lenique
40 minutes away from Reims
Bookings can be made on : +33 3 26 54 03 65