Unlike most Grower Producers, Champagne Agrapart, or more accurately Agrapart et Fils has been producing and bottling their own Champagne since the late 1800s. Located in the village of Avize in the Côte de Blancs, they produce only between 6000-7500 cases of wine per year so they can maintain a very high and artisanal level of quality.
Agrapart has 9 1/2 hectares of vineyards, the mostly Grand Cru, in the Côte de Blancs, mostly the villages of Avize, Cramant, Oger, and Oiry. There are 62 parcels, with an average age of 35 years, and the oldest vines are over 60 years old. Most of the vineyards were acquired in the 1950s and 60s by Pierre Agrapart, grandson of the founder Arthur Agrapart, and now run by the 4th generation, brothers Pascal and Fabrice.
Although they seem to have zero interest in being labeled organic, biodynamic, or anything else, the wines speak for themselves. No chemical pesticides or weed killers, manually worked vineyards, homeopathic formulas for parasite control and proper pruning, both technique and timing, to control other vineyard issues. Some of the vineyards are plowed by horse as that compresses the soil less than tractors do. Pascal has stated his belief that it is important to work on the vines and in the cellar according to "natural rhythms and sensibilities."
The grapes are pressed with a traditional press, they are rarely chaptalized, fermentation is with natural yeasts, and malolactic fermentation is completed for all the wines. Bottling is usually in May (at the full moon or close) with no fining, no filtration, and no cold stabilization. Some of the best wines are aged in very old, 600-liter barrels (demi-muids) which impart as little new wood flavor as possible.
August Agrapart lived until the age of 96 until he passed away in 1996. He reports his secret to long life was “1 bottle of Champagne a day.”
Their Non Vintage wines include the NV Les 7 Crus Blanc de blancs made from 7 villages in the Côte des Blancs, the Terroirs Grand Cru, 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay from 20 to 40 year old vines midslope in Avize, Cramant, Oger and Oiry, Les Demoiselles Rosé, made using Terroirs Grand Cru as the base with Pinot Noir purchased from René Geoffroy from the village of Cumières, and three different vintage wines, all with a different character: Minéral, made from 40 year old vines in Cramant, Cuvée l'Avizoise, from vines up to 40 years old North of Avize, and Cuvée Vénus, from 55 year old vines in Avize worked by their mare named Vénus. These three vintage wines all express their respective terroirs and it will be interesting to try them side by side some day.
Tasting Note: Agrapart L'Avizoise 2004 Extra Brut Blanc de blancs - July 2013 - rated A-
The nose is orange blossom water, pear, a slight tinge of fascinating gunpowder, high toned minerals. A fun light, spritey nose. Some chalk with air. Seemingly almost a touch of oxidation, but non-obtrusive and well integrated.
On the palate, spicy Asian pear, sweet orange, orange juice without the acidity. Minerals which become more pronounced with air and warming, although this wine is more about sweet orange/orange blossom and Asian pear.
An elegant wine certainly.
This is my favorite of all the Agrapart wines I've tried so far, although the Les Demoiselles Rose is not far off.
Tasting Note: Agrapart Mineral 2005 Blanc de blancs - March 2013, rated B+
This is a step up from the Les 7 Crus below, and no surprise as it's all Grand Cru fruit.
The nose is apple, orange citrus, minerals, a slight spicy Asian pear quality with just a touch of ugly fruit.
The palate is creamy, with a slight spiciness, minerals, slightly sweet, long, with a touch of light orange citrus.
It's a nice wine, but it could use a touch more something - veuve, elegance, body, etc. I wouldn't have guessed 40 year old wines, but then again 2005 is not a fantastic year either. A pleasure to drink.
Tasting Note: Champagne Agrapart NV Les 7 Crus - March 2013, rated B
An all Chardonnay sparkler (Blanc de blancs) made from 7 Côte des Blancs villages.
Tasted twice with consistent notes.
The nose has fresh cut apples, bread dough, a touch of pear, and chalk.
It's fairly light on the palate with apples and a little bit of creamy orange and other citrus. Light spicy minerals.
Quite pleasant and certainly no rough edges and not mmissing anything, but I'd like this much more if it had more "ommmphh" or "elegance." Amazed that when served with Agrapart's much better (and Grand Cru) Avizoise a few weeks ago, a friend thought they were the same wine!
Tasting Note: Champagne Agrapart Les Demoiselles Rose NV
A light salmon pinkish color with lots of medium sized bubbles. 93% Chardonnay and 7% Pinot Noir.
Very delicate and delicious on the nose, with bread, strawberries, pink flowers, some underlying cherry.
Extremely elegant and creamy, instantly captivating. Delicate underlying minerality and gentle red fruits. Apple. This may be an elegant wine, but it is no wimp either!
Their US Importer, Polaner Selections, states that the Rose (and Les 7 Crus) can easily age and improve for 10-15 years. I don't doubt it.!