June 16, 2019

Champagne Pascal Doquet – organic wines from the heart of the Côte des Blancs

Pascal Doquet organic champagne winemaker

Pascal Doquet has been a winemaker since 1982 and started his eponymous label, Champagne Pascal Doquet, in 2004. At that time, he struck out on his own after starting to convert his family’s vineyards to organic management a few years before in 2001. These vineyards became his and so he finally achieved his goal with his vineyards receiving certification in 2010. He currently is on the board of the Association des Champagnes Biologiques.

These vineyards have some history with the vine age ranging from around 40 – 80 years old. They are located around Mesnil and Vertus. As with most Cote des Blancs growers, Chardonnay dominates here with 95% of the vineyards being Chardonnay. Just 5% are planted with Pinot noir.

He is terroir focused, separating the grapes from each of his terroirs into different batches.  

Even to the point where he makes his wines with the indigenous yeasts from each of his terroirs. The Champagne Pascal Doquet Grand Cru wines come from the commune of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and the Premier Cru wines from Vertus and Mont Aimé. His pinot noir vineyards are located in Vertus and Bergères-lès-Vertus. This is evidence of his belief that Vertus, with its clay soils, does indeed still have the potential to reclaim its pinot noir heritage.

Pascal Doquet’s winemaking regime is all about building the depth that his wines are known for. After some time in enamelled vats on lees, one third of his wines are matured in old barrels depending on what the vintage has offered up. Then they are bottled for the second ferment and an extended time on lees to increase the richness. 

Champagne Pascal Doquet Horizon

At every stage, Pascal ensures his vineyards and grapes are carefully handled. This allows the wines to tell their unique story. Apparently, even to the point of having tractors that are lighter on the soil. And as with many likeminded Organic and Biodynamic producers, with his extensive experience he is able to keep his sulphur use as low as possible. 

Champagne Pascal Doquet Horizon Blanc de Blancs

This is a very elegant non-vintage Champagne made from the Chardonnay grapes sourced from the Cotes du Perthois. Pascal Doquet leaves harvesting his grapes until they are riper than most growers in Champagne which means that his wines only need a low dosage to give the wine it finely tuned balance. This Blanc de Blancs has a dosage of just 4 g/L.

A complex Champagne, although not loquacious. The lemon citrus and eggshell minerality line is softened by some white peach and lightly toasted almonds. The mousse is soft and creamy, this softness enriching the palate and the ripeness of the fruit ensuring a smooth balance. This is a flavourful, textural mouthful. One that is just right for taking it slowly to enjoy each detail. Certainly, it is a wine that moves seamlessly from aperitif to dinner companion.

Champagne Pascal Doquet Anthocyanes

Champagne Pascal Doquet Anthocyanes Rosé Brut Premier Cru 

This is a rosé that will shine better with food as it is deeper in colour and structure. According to Pascal Doquet, the Pinot noir which makes up 34% of the blend, has had time resting on chardonnay lees to stabilise the its colour . This also may contribute to the gingerbread character on the finish. It is a blend of 2010 (34%), 2011 (46%) and 2012 (20%) wines and in keeping with the rest of the range, has a low dosage of 4.5 g/L.

Anthocyanes has a medium salmon hue, thanks to those chardonnay lees fixing the colour. The strawberry and cherry fruit is plentiful and bracketed by spice and lightly toasted bread which turns more biscuit like on the finish. It is curvaceous and softer, but there is a clearly defined structure. I would recommend enjoying this wine with something like langoustines with lemon and pepper butter or in a pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes. 

Champagne Pascal Doquet Arpege

Champagne Pascal Doquet Arpege Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs  

A blend of chardonnay from the 2010 (62%) and 2011 (38%) vintages from Champagne Pascal Doquet’s organic southern Côte des Blancs vineyards. With Pascal’s tendency for picking when the grapes are riper than most, this wine is one of the lowest in dosage from his range, sitting at 3.5 g/L. A higher dosage would be meretricious here. 

Instead the flavours are left to shine : verbena, lemon citrus and apple with a light mineral note. There is a richness to the Arpege, however it always, always remains elegant. Particularly in the lingering and detailed finish. A well judged wine for Blanc de Blanc lovers.

Read about other Organic/biodynamic Champagne producers here and here.

Visit Champagne Pascal Doquet’s website for more information and Association des Champagnes Biologiques for more information about Organic Champagne.

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