Pascal took over from his father in 1982 to become one of the most sought after growers in Champagne. Making very much terroir driven wines from own vineyards located in the best villages of Côte des Blancs. Starting from the vineyard carefully managed with biodynamic principles and followed by the winemaking style creating pure wines where terroir speaks.
Mineral was Pascal’s 1st special Cuvée introduced in 1985. It’s blend of grapes coming from Avize and Cramant. Half vinified in steel tanks and half in old oak large 600l barrels. Like Venus it is bottled around May after spending about 6 months with natural yeasts and aged on lees for almost 6 years.
His 2nd Cuvée Avizoise came out in 1989 which is the blend of two different parcels in Avize.
Venus 1st vintage was in difficult 2001 when not many growers risked to declare the vintage. Pascal created a masterpiece named after his horse which ploughed his vineyards. Single vineyard Brut Nature wine coming from the outstanding part of Avize with Southern exposition. Bottled after 6 months spent in neutral old oak barrels. 6 years on lees as well.
All wines tasted show its unique terroir through chalky minerality and amazing ripeness of the fruit through the vintage variation.
Let me start with my Venus tasting notes with 🏅rating in brackets.
Venus is a single vineyard of ‘Fosse aux pourceaux’ in Avize. Chalky mineral, pure and amazingly fresh. Despite the fact they are all Brut Nature, which some may argue it compromises the longevity, I can assure you, Venus is age worthy like no other wine even with high dosage. The vertical has just proved that.
One additional observation is that all wines were reflecting the vintage variation quite nicely, like in textbook.
Both Venus 🍾2012 (🏅93) and 🍾2009 (🏅93+) are in their infancy, tight and reserved at this stage. Honeysuckle floral and focused. Saline, lean with high acidity. The latter is slightly more open and has this pharmacy aromas where the former has more ripeness of the fruits. Both have great potential.
🍾2008 (🏅96) was my favorite of the vertical. Oh, this fruit ripeness and chalky minerality! Very precise and lean. Outstanding vintage. Even it showed some development, I would put it away and drink from 2025+.
🍾2007(🏅92) has mellow mouthfeel developed with bottle age, but still in its primary stage — edgy with green apples dominant. Not the best Venus.
🍾2006 (🏅95) and 🍾2004 (🏅94+) are both ripe and rich, where the 1st is at its very peak, drink now stage. ’04 has more finesse, very clean and pure and should be shining in just 2 years.
🍾2002 (🏅95) is great vintage showing very well now. Ripe & flinty-chalky mineral. Secondary & already tertiary aromas are present.
Earlier releases of Venus had about 3 years of aging on lees. Later Pascal increased it to 6 years believing it is the ideal time to develop the desired structure and keep the terroir character.
Followed the vertical of Venus Agrapart, I had the chance to taste other champagnes of Pascal as well.
What makes 🍾Complantee Extra Brut NV (🏅90) so special is the blend of heritage grape varieties, which Pascal keeps as a tribute to Champagne tradition. To usual 3 he adds Arbane, Petit Meslier & Pinot Blanc. Fruit come from Avize terroir and usually is the blend of 2 consecutive vintages. It’s floral with berries, apple, citrus. Seems sweeter than any other cuvee of Agrapart with just 5g/l dosage.
Mineral gives great value for money. That is also very much terroir driven cuvee. Grapes come from rich chalky soils with thin top soil in Avize and Cramant.
🍾’08 (🏅93+) bit reductive, mineral and with sharp acidity, however it gives an overall feeling of perfect balance with its ripe fruits.
🍾’00 (🏅91) Older label. Very different from Venus. Terroir variation shows nicely. This wine is soft & fragile, already declining.
🍾’95 (🏅89) We might blame the bottle variation, but great ’95 isn’t singing in this one. Already fading away.
🍾1976 Millesime BdB GG Extra Brut (🏅90) was made by Pascal’s father. Most likely the blend of all house terroirs with higher dosage. It was showing its age with darker color, tertiary aromas of kombucha, tea & even wet cellar with underlying minerality.
🍾Experience 07 (🏅96). That’s the 1st vintage of this unique cuvee coming directly from Agrapart cellar. 1st ever made champagne with no additives. 100% grapes only. Pascal is using natural must of the following vintage as liqueur de tirage to bring on the 2nd fermentation. Freshly pressed grape juice naturally contains about 24 g/l and natural yeast sitting on berries. It’s then aged for 3 years under natural cork. Recent releases see 6yrs aging on lees as all millesimes of Agrapart.
Exp. 07 is indeed the unique experience. It feels both like champagne & still wine. The word ‘pure’ is the best descriptor for it. Feels and tastes very natural. Flowers, wet chalk, sea breeze, orchard fruits.