Joli Vin imports
Domaine Marie Courtin - Côte des Bar
With the desire to produce single-vineyard, single-varietal and single-vintage Champagne, Dominique Moreau created her estate in 2001, taking its name from her great-grandmother, whom she describes as a “woman of the earth,” frequently to be found working in the vineyards. Her first wines did not appear until 2006. The domaine of 3 hectares, all from a single southeast facing exposure, is located in Champagne’s southern most Côte des Bar, where the vast majority of vineyards are planted to Pinot Noir. For Champagne, the Côte des Bars’ Kimmeridgian, marly-limestone based soils are distinct from much of the chalk based soils one finds to the north of Champagne, around the Montagne de Reims, and excel at producing fruit which is at once both rich and textured while retaining acidity and freshness. Most of the fruit grown here finds its way north and is valued in blends for its roundness and structure alongside the more edgy Chardonnay. There are relatively few Récoltant-Manipulant (RM) or Grower Champagnes in the south in relation to the surface planted, but since the turn of the century, the region has become a hotbed for sustainably minded growers, taking their inspiration from Burgundy and crafting terroir-focused Champagnes.
All of the domaine fruit comes from a single vineyard of massale-selection Pinot Noir, with tiny additions of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, planted in the 1970s by her father-in law. The parcel is farmed organically and as of the 2010 vintage certified as such. Having all of her vines within one vineyard is an enormous advantage in minimizing the undesired affects of neighbors who farm conventionally. The vineyard work for any domaine following sustainable principles is primordial and includes plowing early in the season and a rigorous work of debudding. Debudding is in fact at the core of Dominique’s work for several reasons. First, it reduces the risk of rot later in the season, always a risk in Champagne, by increasing aeration on the vine and by limiting the number of buds and superfluous vegetative growth. It also lowers yields, increases concentration, and promotes the ripening process. Furthermore, a grower who focuses on non-dosé wines exclusively, such as Dominique, not relying on the final dosage to round out hard edges, must ensure that their fruit is sufficiently ripe. This combination of diligent vineyard work and low yields gives these wines both power and precision.
The domaine began with two cuvées, Résonance and Effloresence, but the range has since expanded, each one offers a unique snapshot into the terroirs of a vast and diverse landscape called Champagne, clearly one of the most exciting and changing wine regions in in recent years. Dominique Moreau is making a delightful contribution to the evolving understanding of what Champagne is and Joli Vin is delighted to bear witness alongside her.
RésonanceRésonance is a real stand out, and also a terrific introduction to the unique, compelling Champagnes of Marie Courtin.
EfflorescencePlenty of aromatic presence, soft edges and lovely overall balance. Perfumed orchard fruit and floral notes are expressive in the glass.
ÉloquenceWhite flowers, lemon peel, mint and white pepper are some of the signatures, while distinctly mineral-inflected veins of salinity recall the wines of Chablis…
ConcordanceFirst created in 2009, Concordance is a careful selection of the oldest Pinot Noir for the domaine planted in 1968.
IndulgenceAll the elements come together beautifully in a Champagne that brings together expressive fruit and bracing minerality, with a savory edge that kicks the finish into high gear.