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N°166

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Champagne De Sousa

17/12/2019
20 years already

In 2020, De Sousa champagnes will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the commitment of the estate into biodynamics. On this occasion De Sousa markets a special box consisting of the cuvée Les Caudalies 2010 - the first officially certified - and a young vine - Chardonnay - that can be planted in the ground and thus cultivate his own vine ... according to the precepts of biodynamics of course.
 

De Sousa champagnes are three generations of winemakers, settled in Avize, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs area since 1950, and who cultivate ten hectares of an exceptional estate made up of 70% Chardonnay—mainly Grand Crus from the Côte des Blancs region—20% Pinot Noir Grand Cru from the Reims mountain and 10% Meunier from the southern slopes of Epernay. First there was Antoine, who came from post-war Portugal to marry Zoémie and take care of his vineyards, then Erick and his wife Michelle, and today their three children, Charlotte, the eldest, a graduate of OIV, the globetrotter Julie, the youngest, and Valentin, head of the vineyard.

Erick is the one who made the decision to abandon conventional viticulture for organic and biodynamic production in 2000. He never regretted it. The multiplication of synthetic treatments in the vineyard from the 1970s seemed like an endless escape. And a betrayal of the soil. And then, visiting other vineyards, he could taste wines crafted biodynamically and he had been struck by their fruitiness, their minerality, their freshness. As a result, applying one's principles to one's own domain had become obvious to him.

With the help of François Bouchet, Loire winemaker expert in biodynamics, Erick began his conversion. Deprived of chemical fertilizer, his vine seemed to suffer first. The plowing of the soil, carried out by plow and horse, cuts its roots spread on the surface and forces it to dive straight into the ground to find its nutrients. The first years the vine seemed to get disinterested from its grapes. Yields fell. Then the plant found a new balance and now give fruits where the terroir expresses itself with strength and purity. From then on all Erick De Sousa's efforts have been going towards the soil.
 

La famille De Sousa, l'Ovum, Julie De Sousa et Vidoc

In autumn, an addition of compost reinforces the microbial life and especially the presence of mycorrhizae, these microscopic fungi that provide the link between the soil and the plant, which allow the grapes to mature and give wines with a deep minerality. The result is so convincing that Erick de Sousa created a special cuvée called “Mycorhize”.

The reward came in 2010 with organic certification, then three years later, the label “Demeter”. In 2020 Champagnes De Sousa will join the Biodyvin association, a true elite of biodynamics that has accompanied them for three years.

Despite the experience gained, Erick De Sousa and his children continue to experiment. In the cellar, a quartz crystal serves as a natural antioxidant! Mozart's music accompanies alcoholic fermentations and the prise de mousse because “its vibrations soothe the yeast” says Charlotte! Finally Ovum, a French oak barrel in the form of an egg, allows aging on lees of still wines, naturally keeping the yeasts in suspension without stirring them ...

“It is not enough to have a great terroir, summarizes Erick De Sousa, one has to respect it and allow the vine to express its character.”

Gérald Olivier

 

www.champagnedesousa.com