Integral to the Bérèche "style" is the systematic suppression of malolactic fermentation, a method that allows the Le Cran to showcase the complexity of its 40 year-old, Premier Cru fruit while retaining the nervy acidity of Ludes.
The “Cran” vineyard was planted to Chardonnay on west–facing hills in 1969, and the “St. Jean” vineyard was planted to Pinot Noir on east-facing hills in 1973. Together these two vineyards, in dense, chalky soil provide the structure for a long-lived, powerful yet elegant Champagne from the two varieties.
The wine is fermented and aged in neutral barrels before the vin clair (the final blend) is assembled. Then the wine receives its second fermentation in bottle under cork–a hugely labor-intensive practice, which produces discreet, elegant bubbles. A small dosage, usually 3–6 g/l, depending on the vintage is added after the manual disgorgement.
About this wine producer: The original Bérêche estate is centered around 2.5 hectares of vines established by Leon and Albert Bérêche in 1847. Successive generations expanded the property, and today there are a total of 9.5 ha in and around the communes of Craon de Ludes, Ormes, Trépail, and Mailly, all in the Montagne de Reims, as well as the area around Mareuil-le-Port on the left bank of the Marne. The 0.15 ha Mailly parcel, acquired in 2012, is their first Grand Cru vineyard. Since joining their father Jean-Pierre in 2004 and 2008 respectively, Raphaël and Vincent Bérêche have risen to the head of the class of Champagne’s corp of elite grower producers. Most of their wines are sold directly to private customers, who drive from Brussels and Paris and London to pick up their six or twelve bottle allocations at the winery in Craon de Ludes. Almost all the rest goes to Michelin-starred, like Gérard Boyer’s iconic Les Crayères in Reims, or to specialist retailers like Le Verre Volé and La Cave de Papilles in Paris.