Champagne Doyard is a Master of Chardonnay

Champagne Doyard is a Master of Chardonnay

“Sophisticated and elegantly harmonious, Doyard’s wines number among the finest in the Côte des Blancs, demonstrating a remarkable personality and individuality. While they feel in keeping with the sensibilities of contemporary natural viticulture in their vitality and vinosity, there is nothing about them that is severe or aggressive—they do not lose sight of balance in their quest for expression.”
-Peter Liem

Traveling south along the Côtes des Blancs, the astute and savvy wine explorer makes necessary stops at Champagne’s holy shrines to chalk: Le Mesnil, Cramant, and Avize. With the flavors of sea shells and crushed rock still ionically bonded to the tongue, the journey continues just a bit further south to the sleepy and picturesque Premier Cru village of Vertus – the home of Champagne Doyard, a master of the Chardonnay art. The Doyard family has a long history in Champagne, with traces of the family name going back to the early 17th century! The domaine as it exists today first bore fruit after the First World War, when Maurice Doyard landed in Vertus and purchased a vineyard in the heart of the village to make wine under his own name. Today, the young and dynamic Charles Doyard – the great-grandson of Maurice – is in charge, taking over from his father in 2006 with the singular vision to put the Doyard name on the proverbial Mount Rushmore of Côtes de Blancs grower-producers. To achieve this goal, he supplemented his prime Vertus vineyards by buying old vines in Mesnil, Oger, Avize, and Aÿ (a tiny 1 ha parcel of Pinot Noir used to make his rare Oeil de Perdrix). The quality of farming was raised across the board and the cellar was completely upgraded to the state of the art. This relentless and painstaking devotion to his craft has elevated the domaine into a beacon for precise, mineral-etched Champagnes.

The viticultural philosophy followed by the domaine is a self-described “non-dogmatic” approach to biodynamic farming, with absolutely no herbicides or pesticides used. Many of the vineyards are worked by horse and yields are kept intentionally low. In the cellar, Coquard PAI presses are employed (widely considered to be the finest Champagne press available), and every parcel is vinified separately. Charles provides a profound vinous experience by using a remarkably high caliber base wine, made exclusively from the first pressing (he sells the inferior second press to négociants). In a nod to tradition, the wines undergo long lees aging – a minimum of 48 months on most of the cuvées – and are bottled at a lower pressure of 4-5 atm instead of the standard 6 atm. Every single decision made in the vineyard and cellar are geared toward making the most expressive, terroir-focused Champagne possible.

Tasting through the lineup – from the profound complexity found in the NV Cuvee Vendemiaire Premier Cru Brut, to the soaring aromatics and clear definition of the Clos de l’Abbaye – makes it abundantly clear that Doyard is crafting Champagnes that speak with crystalline precision. These are fiercely elegant, vinously complex wines, and we couldn’t be more proud to welcome Champagne Doyard to the Skurnik family!

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