Gaspard Brochet is a new Domaine, based in the Petite Montagne, making an incredible array of distinctive Champagnes. Gaspard (b.1995) is the nephew of Emmanuel Brochet and makes wine from 3.2 hectares in Ecueil, Villers aux Noeuds (Mont Benoit!), and Sacy. These wines are distinctive in style and interpretation villages and vineyards. Gaspard took over a portion of his father’s domain in 2017 and started making wine in a garage adjacent to the family home. The first visits in winter of 2022 were in this old cellar, packed with barrels until the renovation of his father’s winery was completed just before harvest. The vineyards here are spectacular, with old vines, some of the 14 parcels planted in the 1950s and 60s. Gaspard is a very unusual person; he is a former artist and loves vintage BMW cars and racing. He’s very passionate about wine (“especially Bourgogne!”) but has never had any formal training. His approach reminds me of an interview with a songwriter who claimed that he didn’t listen to music because he didn’t want to hear anyone else’s voice in his songs. Gaspard has figured out his path in winemaking through experimentation, trial and error, intuition, and following a certain kind of logic.
Grapes are picked with high maturity and pressed in a traditional 4,000kg basket press, where the must flows down, by gravity, into two, custom stainless-steel tanks. A small amount of sulfur is used in the press, but not during elevage. From the sedimentation tanks, the must goes directly into barrels of different sizes and ages, depending on the site and variety where they ferment spontaneously. To be sure, there is a high proportion of new wood at this estate. Gaspard says “I want to make sure that the wood is very clean, so if you want to be sure, you have to start with new wood, where you know everything that has been inside”. The cellar is frigidly cold and malo is not encouraged and happens very rarely. There is quite a lot of bâtonnage done at the estate. Gaspard doesn’t have a rule for each wine; it’s done by feeling. For some wines, bâtonnage is done every week, sometimes more, sometimes less. Bottling is done in late summer, by the lunar calendar with 19g for the tirage and agrafe, bottled under cork. This results in slightly lower atmospheric pressure and disgorgement is normally done 24 months or so after bottling. All the wines for each release are disgorged by hand at the end of winter and released in summer: “When the wines are released, they are ready to drink” he says.
wines are, with few exceptions, from single plots and a single vintage. The labels, designed by Gaspard with drawings by illustrator Kevin KDT, are beautiful depictions of animals, each with a different meaning or association. Gaspard uses the word Tome on his labels as we would use the word Volume, indicating how many different vintages of each wine he has produced. The ‘333’ cuvee is his non-vintage wine, each with a different drawing of an important person in his life. “Three is an important number – three varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Meunier, three villages of Ecueil, Sacy, and Villers aux Noeuds, and always three vintages blended,” Gaspard says. The woman depicted on the label for the 2019 base is his mother, an orthodontist. The cap, printed to look like a breast, symbolizes her overcoming breast cancer. A portion of the sales go to breast cancer prevention and research. The three oldest wines in the range are the Magpie (Pie), Donkey (Âne) and Lion. Gaspard explains “Dionysus created the vine from the bone of the lion, magpie, and donkey. When you drink too much, you speak like a magpie, you can be dumb like a donkey and strong like a lion.” The Magpie is Chardonnay from Les Près Mousseux in Ecueil, planted in 1989. The Lion is Pinot Noir from Le Mont Benoit in Villers aux Noeuds, planted in 1985. The Donkey is an assemblage of half Chardonnay and half Pinot Noir, from two parcels in Ecueil called Les Plantes and Les Beaux Bras, co-fermented and aged in small barrels. The Fox (Reynard) is named for his father, coming from his oldest vines in Eceuil, Les Croix de Bas. The Sheep (Mouton) is a very rare rosé, which comes from a plot “La Montagne” Meunier planted in 1994. The Pig (Cochon) is a Pinot Noir from Sacy, a parcel called Les Eaux Belles, planted in 1988.