The family Rousseaux is well represented in the village of Verzenay. Great grandpa Rousseaux and his forbears had been grape farmers for generations but in 1920 he decided to make champagne under his own name. Nowadays there are three different arms of the family making and selling champagne.
Celine Rousseaux is a charming and highly experienced vigneron who currently runs the original entity. She is also heavily involved with both the Mayor's Office and the association of wine makers.We met her in the afternoon of a warm day in April and were immediately lured out to see teams of horses ploughing the strips between the rows of vines. By all accounts Bollinger run a stable with teams of horses and a ploughman to keep the weeds down in the vineyards in a traditional manner. Celine as a major supplier of grapes to Bollinger can also benefit from them when they are in the area. It was an extraordinary sight. Set against the backdrop of the Verzenay lighthouse (Le Phare) and a clear blue sky, the stocky little horse forged its way up the rows of single Guyot pruned Chardonnay whilst on the neighbouring plot the contemporary specialist vine tractor buzzed back and forth.
On a tour of her winery Celine has a wonderful diagram to remind visitors of the process of making champagne.
The essence of making champagne is to be found not only in the use of the best techniques or modern equipment but also in the correct use of time and cool cellar storage.
The complex and utterly natural process of secondary fermentation and absorption of all the myriad of flavours and essences takes at least 15 months.
Only an artisan would take that amount of time to produce an item of such virtuosity.
The base year for the wines for this blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay is 2013. The parcels of land are located near the famous lighthouse in Verzenay.
The approach in the palate is smooth and fresh which metamorphoses into luscious fruitiness and finally the minerality comes through. A bold full finish is accompanied by a mellow sensation.
This is an accessible champagne whose hallmark is a fruity footprint. Best drunk at temperature of 9 to 14C and goes well with bold gourmet dishes.
This wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir predominantly from 2014. It has a luminous dense raspberry pink appearance which announces a rich fresh wine.
The nose is dominated by a basket of fruits with blackcurrant, raspberry and cherry to the fore. The palate is orchestrated around fruitiness, with well integrated pomelo acidity and clay-chalky minerality. The finish is fresh and harmonious with an aromatic return.
It is an ideal aperitif with tapas or with delicate inspired dishes.
Salmon spring rolls with mascaropone and Espelette pepper
Ray terrine with tomato and basil
Diced strawberries and chopped peppermint.
Older Pinot Noir vines contribute 70% of this wine and the remaining 30% is Chardonnay. All the grapes are from the plots of land that are considered the best. The quality of the wine allows it to improve with age.
Two very different Rose champagnes which are nevertheless intriguing and delightful on their own.