This week we were lucky to welcome back one of our favourite boutique Champagne producers, but this time we received not only their delectable Champagnes, but also their wine from Alsace! La Rogerie makes wine in not only one, but two of the absolute best wine regions in northern France. La Rogerie is run by the husband and wife team, Francois Petit and Justine Boxler. Francois’ roots are in Champagne, while Justine’s family has a long history in Alsace. La Rogerie’s small parcels of Chardonnay are located in the Grand Cru, Avize. Avize is nestled between Cramant and Oger in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, which is famous for exceptional wines from Chardonnay. The soil is made up predominantly of chalk from ancient marine skeletons and fossilized mollusks. Working vines planted in the 1950s with horse and plow allows La Rogerie to minimize the intensity of intervention in the vineyards; the gentle tilling of the vineyards encourages vines to dig their roots deeper, while allowing the avoidance of herbicides. The purpose is to derive as much character from the chalk soil as possible.
Francois Petit’s grandfather, Roger, began making wine from the family’s vineyards when it was more common to sell grapes to one of the large Champagne houses. There has been a major shift in Champagne in the past several decades. While the big houses we know and love still dominate the region, grower-producers have chiseled out a chunk of Champagne’s market for themselves. With more and more people interested in the best of the bubbles, there is more room for small producers to show their stuff world wide. Rather than purchasing the grapes from multitudes of growers, like the big houses do, grower-producers like La Rogerie have a major stake in the raw product and the polished, frothy end result.
Now in its third generation, La Rogerie has a distinct philosophy about the wine they want to make. These wines are rooted firmly in the traditions of Champagne, while modern in style, philosophy, and presentation. The labels are works of art crafted by a friend of the family, Nicholas Maitrot, who is a professional artist.
La Rogerie’s non vintage Champagne, La Grande Vie, is a Blanc de Blancs with a tiny production of only just over 2000 bottles. The reserve wine for this cuvee rested in a solera system which allows for the blending of multiple mature wines from different vineyards while also maintaining consistency. The more mature wines are blended with more youthful wines, which gives the wine the vibrancy to age successfully on its lees for a long period of time. This wine is about the enjoyment of life. It has crisp flavours of autumnal apple which meld seamlessly with notes of lemon curd and pastry dough.
Francois’ first vintage, the acclaimed 2008 vintage, is titled Héroïne. The Héroïne 3 had a tiny production of merely 598 bottles. The bottles are hand labelled by Francois’ mother. This is truly an artisanal product from start to finish. The 2008 Héroïne 3 is full of character with notes of baked apple, crusty croissant, and a distinctive frangipane note that comes from the ten years this wine spent aging on its lees. It is simultaneously robustly indulgent and electrically lithe, giving the opulence one hopes for from a vintage Champagne, while showcasing the distinctive minerality classic to the region’s chalky soils.
Le Bouc de La Rogerie 2018 – Alsace $51.98
You’re probably wondering when Alsace comes into the picture. Justine Boxler, Francois’ wife and partner in wine, comes from the Boxler family, who have a long history of producing top wines in Alsace. Justine and Francois say that La Rogerieis located in Champagne, but was born in Alsace as the young couple spent time tending vines and making wine in Alsace before they returned to Champagne. This wine is made of Pinot Blanc, one of the classic grape varieties of Alsace, which spends time maturing in barrels that previously held the Héroïne cuvee. This is serious white wine. It has delicious crunchy acidity and remarkable chalky minerality. On the nose there are notes of spring pear blossom and yellow apple. The palate is notably creamy which balances the taught, firm acidity. This is a wine you could certainly age for several years, but is so tasty right now, that you may as well buy two bottles; one for now and one for a few years down the road.
As you can tell, we are huge fans of these gorgeous wines. Pop into either of our locations or check out our online store here to claim yourself a bottle (or two) today.