Region: Vallée de la Marne
Premier cru sites in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Avenay, Val d’Or and Bisseuil
Grand cru sites in Aÿ, Avize, Chouilly, Oiry
Annual production: 5,800 cases
Total vineyard holdings: 15 hectares
Vines: 25% chardonnay, 75% pinot noir
Marc Hébrart (MAREUIL-SUR-AY)
Jean-Paul Hébrart took over the operations of Marc Hébrart Champagne in the Vallée de la Marne from his father Marc in 1997. This estate is not exactly new: Jean-Paul’s father has been producing champagne under the Marc Hébrart name since 1964 and has been a member of the Special Club since 1985. Hébrart farms 14 hectares of vines on 65 different sites in 6 villages: the 1er cru vineyards of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Avenay, Val d’Or and Bisseuil and the grand crus villages of Aÿ as well as Chouilly and Oiry in the Côte des Blancs. Each parcel is always vinified separately in glass lined stainless steel and ceramic tanks. He is slowly phasing out the ceramic as it is more difficult to control the temperature. Hébrart is also experimenting barrel fermentation and indigenous yeast fermentation for some of his older vine parcels.
Using these new techniques Jean-Paul has made an alternative Téte de Cuvee (2004 vintage dated) called Rive Gauche-Rive Droite, named for the sites on both sides of the Marne that comprise of the blend. These old vine parcels are fermented and aged in 205 liter four year old barrique (without battonage) before being bottled sur latté. Jean-Paul hand selects grapes, uses a Bucher press, and is experimenting with fermentation in petite cuvee. Hébrart doesn’t block malolactic fermentation and does all remuage by hand.
Peter Liem writes of Champagne Hébrart on Champgneguide.net: “Hébrart’s wines have a broad appeal: if you like to think about your wines, they’re intellectually engaging enough to satisfy you; on the other hand, if you’re just looking to drink, they’re simply delicious. The wines are full and generous without being weighty, complex and soil-driven without being demanding. Overall, the entire range is of consistently high quality, and represents excellent value for the money.”
Undeniably, Mareuil should belong to the grand cru villages. Most of the vineyards reach almost the same quality as those of Aÿ. In their youth, what may distinguish a Mareuil wine from an Aÿ wine is a hawthorn-like flowery bouquet. On aging, the wines become practically impossible to tell apart.
-Richard Juhlin, 4000 Champagnes
“Hébrart represents a departure from the other producers in this portfolio, for Jean-Paul’s wines marry the top Pinot Noir sites of the Vallée de la Marne with Grand Cru Chardonnay sites in the Côte des Blancs. Hébrart’s wines are buoyant and lithe with deft integrations of minerality and juicy fruit. The fruit of Mareuil pinot noir I unlike any I know in Champagne: firmer and less malty than Aÿ, altogether less chunky than Bouzy, not unlike Verzy but richer, far more comme il faut than the savage power of Verzenay, less softly perfumey than Ambonnay, less smoky than Cumières. Indeed if it were Burgundy, Mareuil could well be Morey-St.-Denis”