Bereche et Fils
Champagne Bérêche et Fils have been making Champagne since 1847 but up until 1950 production was miniscule, drawing only on the 2.5 hectare family estate vineyard in Ludes. Since then the estate has grown through acquisitions to 9.5 hectares spread over three main areas on the Montagne de Reims (including Ludes, Trépail, Chigny-les-Roses, Ormes) and in the Vallée de la Marne (Mareuil-la-Port and Festigny).
In 2004 Raphaël Bérêche joined his father, Jean-Pierre, in the family business and now drives the future direction of this dynamic house. It is since then that their star has begun to shine so bright. Still shy of 30, Raphaël is already recognised of one of the leading minds of Champagne’s current generation of growers.
Bérêche have roughly equal areas of the three classic grape varieties under vine. All vineyards are now managed with a bio/organic philosophy using plant tonics to compliment copper and sulphur, and cover crops with cultivation to replace the need for herbicides. Since 2007 a portion of the vineyards has been converted to biodynamics as a trial for the whole estate. Average vine age is over 35 years. Raphaël’s brother, Vincent, has managed the vineyards since 2008.
In the winery both Raphaël and his father favour labour-intensive traditional techniques. Parcels are vinified separately, long and slow natural yeast fermentations take place mainly in old enamel lined concrete tanks and barrels before extended lees aging. Oak is also used for the aging of some cuvees. The malolactic is blocked and the wines are bottled without filtration. The secondary fermentation and bottle aging on lees is increasingly on cork instead of crown seal with a belief that this adds character and complexity. All disgorging is by hand, and a traditional liqueur d’expédition is used in place of grape concentrate, albeit with very low dosage.
The result is a range of Champagnes that have great vinosity. Dry and complex they are intensely concentrated displaying exotic perfume and fruits, deep spice and layers of evolved characters while possessing fresh mineral acid structures thanks to the absence of the malolactic. These are a must-try for champagne aficionados.