Champagne Benoît Marguet in Ambonnay is one of many extremely interesting small producers in Champagne. He is the kind of producer that you rarely find, unless you know exactly where to go. (Or join a BKWine wine tour…)
Benoît also belongs to the small number of growers in the region that have started to grow vines organically. He has actually been doing it for a while and will get his certification this year. He has around 10 hectares of vineyards mainly in Ambonnay and Bouzy. This is actually quite a lot in this area; his neighbours are more likely to have between 3 and 5 hectares.
We met Benoit recently during a wine tour in the Champagne region, with a small group of wine enthusiasts, and he showed us one of his Bouzy vineyards. “The conversion to organic farming has been a challenge”, he says. “Diseases in the vineyards are common and that explains why less than 1% is organic in Champagne. Also, being organic is not necessarily seen with a good eye by the neighbour… Or by the chemical industry…” But Benoit sees it as an important step. “The soil is dead in conventional farming, there is no worm activity,”
In the Bouzy vineyard where we are standing we also get the chance to greet one of Benoit’s two horses that he uses for ploughing. It’s a sturdy Ardennes horse. I ask the “driver” if it is hard work to plough with a horse. “Yes”, he says with emphasis, “very hard”. But hopefully it is worth the time and the effort.
Whatever the reason – organic farming or the skills of Benoit (or probably both) – the champagnes are very good.
Back in the wine cellar we taste some of Benoît Marguet’s wines of course. The Rosé, made with mostly chardonnay and 9 % of red wine is tasty, elegant and dry, the Reserve Grand Cru non-millésimé (non-vintage) is a very high quality champagne, complex and full-bodied and the Vintage 2006, mineral and crispy, ready for a long life in bottle if you like, but also very enjoyable right away.
Champagne Marguet, or to be more exact Champagne Marguet Père & Fils, is just one example of the kind of winemakers and champagne producers that you will meet on a wine tour with BKWine.
Why not join us next time and you will see for yourself? And certainly taste quite a few excellent wines!