Etienne Calsac

In 2010, at the age of 26, Etienne decided to take control of his grandparents’ 2.8 hectares of vineyards scattered in and around Avize, which had previously been sold off to the grandes maisons. Stewardship of the terroir is the basis for great Champagne, so Etienne set out to ensure that all the vineyards (all the vines are at least 30 years old) are planted with grass cover crops, plowed (mostly by horse), and farmed following lutte raisonnée methods (they are farming organically since 2013 but aren’t certified). Etienne himself had overseen the pressing of the grapes before they were sent off to the big houses, and he decided to maintain the strict quality controls already in place while adding a few personal touches. Each parcel is vinified separately, with a small percentage of the Rose de Craie and Infiniment Blanc aged in old barrels. All bottles are aged on the lees for 36 months, and an additional 3 months is given after disgorgement before the wines are released. Calsac has an eye for experimentation, so expect to see new releases over the next few years, including Pinot Noir from family vineyards in the Aube and an extremely limited bottling from the monopole Clos des Maladries in Avize, planted by Etienne’s grandfather. His potential is unlimited – though his highly sought-after wines are not.
“Etienne Calsac is one of the most exciting young producers in the Cotes des Blancs. His incisive and pure Chardonnay-based champagnes are an exceptional interpretation of the chalky terroir surrounding Avize.” – Josh Adler, Paris Wine Company

Wines

Champagne ‘Clos des Maladries’ Grand Cru Avize

Varietal: Chardonnay

Color: Champagne

Farming Practice: Organic

Organic. 100% Chardonnay. Clos des Maladries is a Grand Cru clos located in the village of Avize. The clos itself is quite small, at only 0.16 ha. It’s named after a Maladries, a middle age hospital where contagious patients were kept, that was located on the site hundreds of years ago. The vines were planted in the early 1970s by Etienne’s grandfather. The soil here is virtually pure chalk and is composed of a particularly prized type of chalk known as Belemnite, which thought to impart greater minerality and acidity to grapes grown in it. The exposure is due south and the walls of the clos also retain heat which aid in ripening. The vineyard is planted at a high density, farmed without any chemical inputs, and is plowed by horse. 2013 was a pretty optimal vintage for Chardonnay with Calsac. In Spring and early summer the temperatures were cool and flowering was delayed. July and August were warm and dry which allowed for slow and even ripening. A little bit of rain at the start of Sept helped the vines and from there on it was an Indian summer with day-time temps regularly in the 70s. Harvest, which started at the end of Sept and went into early Oct, was one of the latest in the past quarter centuries as a result. Especially for Chardonnay, 2013 is a vintage for ageworthy wines. After harvesting with manual sorting in the vineyard, the grapes are pressed (for this cuvee Etienne keeps both the cuvee and the taille as an homage to the old way of making Champagne where the full press cycle was used). After pressing one third if the juice is transferred to a neutral 350 liter barrel and the rest is kept in stainless steel. After fermentation the wines were kept on their fine lees in those same vessels without racking for 7 months. Malo completed on the wood portion and was blocked on the steel portion. The wine then undergoes secondary fermentation and stays on the lees for 48 months before disgoring. Dosage is 2 g/liter and done with MCR. 1000 bottles produced.

Champagne 1er Cru Extra Brut Les Rocheforts Blanc de Blancs

Varietal: Chardonnay

Color: Champagne

Farming Practice: Organic

Organic. 100% Chardonnay. Base 2014 vintage. Sourced entirely from a single called called Les Rocheforts, situated in the town of Bisseuil, a premier cru village in the Cote des Blancs. Vines average 30 years in age- the soil is chalk and the exposure is southeast. Only the coeur de cuvee juice is used. Primary fermentation in tank with malolactic fermentation in a combination of barrel and tank. Bottled in May 15 and disgorged in Feb 17. Dosage 4 g/L (MCR)

Champagne 1er Cru Rosé de Craie

Varietal: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Color: Rose Champagne

Farming Practice: Organic

Organic. 86 % Chardonnay 14% Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay (2014 vtg) is sourced from the same terroir that produces the Rocheforts parcel. The Pinot Noir comes from the Montagne de Reims. Average vine age of 30 years. Limestone and chalk with South and Southeast exposure. Plowing by tractor and horse to fully express the complexity of the terroir. Direct press of the entire harvest with only the coeur de cuvée kept for the vinification. Wine aged on the lees for 7 months with natural malo before bottling. 10% of the wine is fermented and aged in used barrels purchased from Bereche, unfiltered and not cold-stabilized. 24 months minimum on the lees. Dosage 7 g/l (MCR). 72 cs produced.

Champagne Extra Brut L’Échappée Belle

Varietal: Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Color: Champagne

Farming Practice: Organic

Organic. 100% Chardonnay 30 year old avg vines. Clay-limestone soils. Sourced from 1er cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs village of Grauves with North and Northwest exposure. Direct press of the entire harvest with separation of the juice. Only the “cuvée” is kept for the vinification. Wine aged on the lees for 7 months before bottling. Base wine 2013 vintage. Base wine aged on the lees for 7 months before bottling. 36 months sur lattes. Dosage 3 g/L.

Champagne Infiniment Blanc de Blancs

Varietal: Chardonnay

Color: Champagne

Farming Practice: Organic

Organic. 100% Chardonnay. Sourced from two villages: Avize (grand cru) and Bisseuil (premier cru). Vine age is 29 years on average. Limestone and chalk with South and Southeast exposure. Plowing by tractor and horse to fully express the complexity of the terroir. The parcel in Avize comes from the Clos des Maladries, a monopole of 0.17 ha planted by Etienne’s grandfather in the 1960s which faces due south and sits on chalk soils. Made entirely from the 2011 vintage. Very slowly pressed with just the coeur de cuvee going into the blend. Wine aged on the lees for 7 months with naturally occuring malo before bottling. 15% of the wine is fermented and aged in used barrels which he gets from Bereche and the rest is aged in stainless steel. 26 months sur lies. Disgorged in July 14. Dosage 6 g/l (MCR). 292 cs produced.

Press