Founded in 1846 by the brothers Jules and Auguste Devaux, today Devaux is owned by the Union Auboise in the Côte des Bar – the heartland of Pinot Noir in Champagne. Physically closer to Chablis than Reims or Épernay, the vines grow on Burgundian soils of Kimmeridgian marl and Portlandian limestone. Chef de Cave since 1999, Michel Parisot was named the ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ at the 2020 International Wine Challenge – an achievement that is testament to Michel’s pioneering approach to winemaking.
Devaux are Pinot Noir specialists. The majority of their vineyards are located in the Aube where Pinot Noir is the dominant variety. This location, on the slopes of the Côte des Bars, is important; it gives this variety a lovely Pinot Noir richness on the nose and a long finish, yet retains the finesse. Some Chardonnay is included in the blend; this is also grown in the Côte des Bar, with a proportion from the fine chalky soils of the Côte des Blancs to give liveliness and elegance. The high quality of the fruit from these vineyards ensure that the final dosage is low.
The base wine was fermented in stainless steel, followed by malolactic fermentation to give extra suppleness. The blending of wines from different vineyards and from different harvests ensures the consistency of the NV Grande Reserve. The blend comprises 20% reserve wines, half of which are aged in French oak vats. Following bottling, the liqueur de tirage was added and the wine underwent a slow second fermentation in bottle and extended ageing on its lees for 36 months (the legal minimum is 15 months). This resulted in a wine with a finer, more persistent mousse and greater potential for complexity. After disgorgement, the wine received a light Brut dosage of 9g/l.
The wine has a lovely Pinot Noir richness on the nose, with aromas of baked apples and vanilla. On the palate, it is full, rounded and well-balanced, with a lively, persistent finish.