The domaine has gone from strength to strength under the guidance of brothers Vincent and Raphaël Bérêche, who’ve been working alongside their parents Catherine and Jean-Pierre since 2004. Located in Ludes where a good portion of their 11ha are found, they also own a clutch of well-placed vineyards in and around Ormes (Petite Montagne) and Mareuil-le-Port (Vallée de la Marne), as well as isolated parcels in Trépail, Rilly-la-Montagne, and Chigny-les-Roses. To complete the picture, they recently added small plots in the grand crus of Mailly, Ambonnay and Aÿ, taking the domaine into a different league altogether. The brothers currently produce nine champagnes and one still coteaux champenois from over 20 parcels of vines averaging a high 40yo.
Vincent is in charge of viticulture aided by a team of ten full-time employees – around one hectare per person – the work is fastidious, restricting yields, ploughing both between the rows and vines (during plant growth but not in summer) and hand harvesting with a large team of pickers. They work without herbicides or pesticides, bouillie bordelaise is applied against oidium/mildew although fungicide might be used in case of extreme pressure, "approximately one vintage in three", the brothers comment.
Raphaël's work in the cellar is equally detailed and thoughtful. Wild ferment is the norm and, increasingly, the champagnes are aged for extended periods under oak – about three quarters of the wines are now vinified in 350ltr barrels, the taille goes into 205ltr barrels and the reserve wines in 600ltr demi-muids. Due to their low pH and high level of acidity, the wines generally don’t go through malolactic fermentation, which helps preserve finesse and ensure longevity. In addition, all the Bérêche top wines are now aged under cork (for additional complexity) as opposed to the more traditional capsule. As cork nuts, we have to compliment Raphaël for selecting the highest grade called 'Fleur', with an extra density and strength that ensure a much lower incidence of 'chevillé' – where the bottom of the cork turns in and there is a risk of a little oxygen ingression.
As well as letting nothing slip in the cave, Raphaël is one of the most passionate ambassadors for growers’ champagnes, a fervent believer that joining forces with other like-minded Champagne growers generates a more powerful message and much more interest. He is at the forefront of arranging many tastings around the world, such as the Terres et Vins group that he co-founded with Aurélien Laherte, La Fête du Champagne in New York, and was recently invited along as the guest grower to one of Spain’s most anticipated celebrations, Comando G’s Fiesta de la Floración. Raphaël’s effervescent personality and driving, relentless energy, and the brothers’ attention to the smallest details is producing stunning results.
Raphaël vinified this exceptional quality rosé from 40yo vines in the village of Ormes, with its delicate colour coming from the addition of 5% Coteaux Champenois (pinot noir). It was aged 'sur lattes' for three years and disgorged in March 2020 with a dosage of 3.5g/l. It is fragrant and floral with delicate aromas of roses, raspberry and pomegranate; similarly the mouth has succulent flavours with a fresh, vital cut and saline stamp. 5,200 bottles produced.