Domaine La Borderie, Les Devoix Champenois Rouge (2015)

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One plot : “Les Devoix” (Merrey sur Arce).

South-west exposure (good ripeness), plot selected for its capacity to produce coloured wines: 50 years old, massive selection, limited yields, specific work: pruning, disbudding, green harvesting, manual leaf removal, grassing, ploughing.

But why call it ‘La Borderie’ atypically for champagne that mainly carries its maker’s name? ‘Well, the name Champagne Normand wouldn’t really work…’ Simon reasons, but an adopted name also gave them the chance to communicate more about their project. ‘Historically la borderie was used to refer to a small farm, and this in essence what we are, an estate that does not purchase grapes.’ The name also accurately reflects the Burgundian influences witnessed at the domaine.

Technically skilled and meticulous, Simon is clearly driven towards perfecting each aspect of their operation. With the different cuvées possessing only 5-15% of oak-fermented wines, the house style is squeaky-clean, beautifully precise and deliciously fruit-driven. The stainless steel fermented wines go through the malolactic fermentation whereas in barrels it is avoided. Oxidative style is not to his liking whereas tension and fruitiness very much are.

Coteaux Champenois Les Devoix Rouge spends 10 months in casks. The 2015 has smoky-reductive notes and is beautifully silky but very light. The 2017 charms with its delicacy but it is ageing rather quickly showing already some mature aromatics. The 2018, then again, is still a youngster. Darker fruit expression and more structured. I can’t wait to see what Simon achieves with the superlative 2019 harvest!