After his wine studies in Beaune and some time spent at harvests abroad, in 1999 Olivier arrived at the family domain in Les Riceys, full of ideas and motivation. The specialty of the small village of Les Riceys is the three appellations under which they can produce their wines: AOC Champagne for sparkling wines, AOC Côteaux Champenois for white and red wines, and AOC Rosé des Riceys for the special rosé still wines that are produced from Pinot Noir.
During his first years at the domain, Olivier decides to focus fully on still wines, with the rather unknown Rosé des Riceys at the center of his attention and the Côteaux Champenois red and white on either side. His family have been making Rosé des Riceys for a long time and Olivier is interested to see how he can improve and change the wines by applying the Burgundian winemaking techniques he has learned and tickling the vines to bring more unique terroir expression to his wines.
He consequently convinces his father to operate in a more sustainable way and start working the soil mechanically in order to stop all herbicides and favor terroir typicity, and then chooses two plots, as diverse as possible, to embark on his new endeavor.
The plots, Valingrain and Les Barmonts, are completely different in their soil structures and therefore produce very opposite characters of wine. Valingrain, with its marl and limestone soils, makes for delicate and refined wines, while Les Barmonts, with lots of clay on top of the limestone, brings out more opulent wines due to its thick clay layer covering the limestone. The expressions he achieves are powerful and unique and he can’t understand why the Pinot Noir grapes of the Aube are commonly said to be too overtly fruity and heavy, and often seen as being of lesser quality within Champagne.
“The Aube is still dealing with many different prejudices from all sides,” Olivier resumes. “The big champagne houses still say that wines from the Aube are rich, aromatic, and heavy. This was one of my inspirations to make my first champagne.”
Read the full story in CUVÉE Magazine No. 3 | Spéciale Champagne.Order your copy in our shop