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N°162

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Marc Augustin

12/17/2018
Alchemist Champagnes

Marc Augustin is not a winemaker like the others. First because he works in biodynamics. A sufficiently rare fact in Champagne to be underlined. Secondly because biodynamics are not, for him, a simple option, but a true philosophy of life, a way of being and living at every moment in symbiosis with nature. Marc describes himself as a “heart-grower”, someone who “cultivates the earth with his heart”. “I will not do to my vine what I would not do to my children,” he says. If a term was needed to define the character and his approach, we should choose alchemy. It is not a question of the transmutation of metals, but truely a question of transcending the matter (in this case, grapes) to extract a very essence, unique Champagnes.
 

Marc Augustin présente ses jarres de vinification.

It all started with his great-grandmother, Andrée, a woman of character, who, at the dawn of the 20th century, decided to produce her own Champagne, when only the big houses occupied the field ... In the 1970s, Marc's father, Jean Augustin, was already a forerunner by advocating an “eco-responsible” management of the vineyard, at a time when it was not yet a trend. Today Marc Augustin farms nine hectares in Avenay Val d'Or in the Mountain of Reims, and  Vertus in the Côte des Blancs area.

Tall and slender, with boundless energy, Marc speaks of strength, vibration and energy more than he speaks about grape varieties. He can speak for hours, not about wine, but about water, and how to energize it. He is also a follower of Feng Shui and of the golden ratio (1,618), this ideal proportion present as well in the nature as in architecture ... Therefore his cuvées are unequalled. His wines are unlike any other.

The entry-level is called Terre and bears the Roman number CCXCI (291 in Arabic numbers). It is a 100% Pinot Noir, from young vines and dosed at 8 g. Very well-structure and mineral. The cuvée Air or CCXIV (214) is a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir from over 50-year-old vineyards. It is a finer wine, softer. The cuvée Feu or CCIC (301) is a 100% Pinot Noir from old vines. It is an effusive and radiant Champagne. Among the three cuvées, it is the one whose “energy is the strongest” says Marc. And the fourth element, water! It is embodied by “O2 Rosé”, a bled rosé, without sulfur, dosed at only 1 g. There is also a cuvée without sulfur called CXVI or 116. Finally comes the cuvée Gaia, a wine having undergone “geo-maturation”, namely that the bottles were buried underground for two years before being disgorged. A metaphor of a gestation ... Gaia sums up in itself a whole process, that of a nourishing land, mother of all life and all wine.

Gérald Olivier

 

Paolo Basso's reviews

Cuvée CCXIV L'Air

Golden yellow, silvery shades. Beautiful intense aromatic nose with notes of butter, rusks, white pepper. Beautiful rich and savory palate, moreish and well-structured, very supple. Stricter in the finish thanks to the presence of tannins. A beautiful cuvée to accompany rich and tasty dishes of noble fish or roasted poultry.

 

Cuvée CCCI Le Feu

Golden yellow, silvery shades. Beautiful aromatic nose that opens up on notes of white flowers, white pepper, butter and rusks with a hint of spices. Beautiful round and mellow palate, pleasantly evolves towards a savory mid-palate, well-structured with a few tannins in the finish which provides the wine a very distinguished character to the wine. Excellent over savory dishes of fish or poultry in sauce.

 

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