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Since 1757, Eric Rodez’s ancestors have been making wine in Champagne. Today Eric grows grapes in 35 parcels in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay. This area is dominated by Pinot Noir, and Eric’s production is 62% Pinot Noir, 38% Chardonnay. Presently his total holdings are just over 6 hectares. The soils are clay-limestone, and the vineyards are relatively high altitude, some 130 meters above sea level. All of this is ideal for the cultivation of Pinot Noir. Champagne Eric Rodez are an RM (Recoltant Manipulant) or “Grower Champagne” house.  This means all they grapes they use to make Champagne come from their own estates.


Eric has had quite a life, within and without wine. Prior to making his own wine full time, he was an oenologist for Krug, arguable one of the greatest Champagne houses on earth. Additionally, from 2008 until 2014, Eric was the mayor of Ambonnay. Meanwhile, back at the winery, he services as the vineyard manager and head oenologist, and along with Martine, his wife, and their son Michael he manages all the other day-to-day aspects of the estate.


Rodez has always been inclined towards natural and sustainable wine production. It was during travels in the Alsace in particular, as well as other regions, that Eric started understand and indeed appreciate organic and biodynamic practices. Although they are not specifically certified, Champagne Rodez does employ organic and biodynamic practices; no pesticides, fertilizers, nor synthetic sprays of any kind. Despite the lack of certification, in 2012 Rodez was the first French agricultural entity to receive the “Haute Valeur Environmentale” certification for their “efforts towards organic and biodynamic farming and water management Biodynamic certification was achieved in 2017. Today, they continue to strive for the healthiest of vineyards, regular plowing, canopy management, green harvest, et cetera are all employed to keep yields low, and to produce the finest, most concentrated fruit.


In the cellar, Eric relies on decades of experience. Like  painter, he assembles his palate of colours and textures, from oaked fruit to unoaked, fruit that has undergone secondary malolactic fermentation, to zesty and unmanipulated base wines. The end result is absolute gestalt; the final product is far more complex and superior than the sum of its parts. Here he is considered a master. The Champagnes of Rodez exhibit breathtaking balance, intensity, and of course, complexity.


Cuvee des Crayeres


Made from 60% Pinot noir and 40% Chardonnay, this is Ambonnay Grand Cru. Grapes come from Terroir d’Ambonnay-Les Grandes Ruelles;  Les Bouites, La Pierre aux Larrons, Les Cheminots, Les Secs, Les Fournettes, Les Agusons, Les Beurys, and Les Hauts Tourets. The average age of vines is around 30 years. The assembled wine is from 40%ish from tank, 60%ish from barrels with a 65/35 malo lactic to non-malo split. The final cuvee is from between 65-70% reserve wines. The dosage is just 5g, so this wine is technically extra brut.  Almost laughable as expected, this wine is a golden hew one can only call “Champagne.” The nose is lightly bready, but more dominated by white floral notes, and minerals. Fruit characteristics lean toward the white and citrus, albeit, the Pinot brings in some tart berries, and golden cherries. The finish is clean and balanced, replete with white rocks, lemon zest rounded out with white raspberries. Ideal with a fruit garnished salad of crispy greens.


Dosage Zero Grand Cru


This cuvee is 70/30 Pinot Noir to Chardonnay. Vinification is partly in barrel and partly in steel vats. Aging is 80/20 small oak barrels to stainless steel, and composed of 30% reserve wines. As the name implies, there is no sugar in the dosage, and as such this wine is bone dry. Vibrantly golden in colour, with a mineral and white flower nose, this wine is lean, yet powerful, packed with unnamed tropical fruit, citrus oil, and minerals. This is perfect with lean fish sushi garnished with crispy onions and/or bonito flakes.


Brut Rose Grand Cru


This is uniquely assembled by blending roughly 40% macerated Pinot Noir, with 30% each un macerated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes are from Terroir d’Ambonnay; Les Grandes Ruelles, Le Moulin, Les Bouites, La Pierre Aux Larrons, Les Chimonts, and Les Hauts Tourets.  The average age of vines is 32 years, and the grapes are 80/20 from Barrel versus Tank. It is roughly 50/50 made from malo and non-malolactic fermented grapes. The dosage is a low 4gr/pl, making this technically an Extra Brut, despite the branding. Lightly pink, with golden hews, like a golden cherry, this delivers an intense red fruit nose. The palate mirrors this, adding in distinct red cherries, wild strawberries, tart raspberry, subtly vanilla, and exotic minerality. This could pair with almost anything. Perhaps smoked salmon mousse, with caviar, hard boiled eggs, and herbed potato latke are in order, non?


Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru


This is 100% Chardonnay, blended from typically 5-6 different vintages, from vines averaging 30 years in age. They are sourced from Terroir d’Ambonnay sites; Les Secs, La Loge, Les Genettes, Les Morins, Les Champsaults, Les Crayeres, Les Agusons, Les Cheminots, and La Grande Ruelle. The wine is roughly 80/20 from barrel and tank, with only 20% malolactic. The Dosage is a low 4%, making this technically an Extra Brut. The wine is clean and fresh, almost green in colour, nose, and palate. It is exceedingly floral on the nose and palate, as well a bit nutty to both. The palate is intense with golden fruit, crispy apples, and high minerality. This would be amazing with a crispy sope, topped with braised pork, fresh herbs, and lime-heavy salsa verde.


Blanc de Noir Grand Cru


100% Pinot Noir from 5-6 vintages, and sourced from Terroir d’Ambonnay; Les Beurys du Haut, Les Goisses, Les Secs, Les Fournettes, Les Genettes, Les Hauts Touret, Les Vaux Saint Basles, La Pierre Aux larons, Les Bouites, and Les Grandes Ruelles. Average vine age is around 35 years old. The BDN is from 80/20 barrels to tanks, 70/30 non malo to malo, and just 4 grams of sugar per liter, making this technically an Extra Brut.


The colour is very light, with coppery hews. The nose is vibrantly fruity and floral, suggestive of an early morning walk through a garden in May. There is weight on the palate, sanguine, with citrus and very ripe berries mingling acutely in the mid palate, then compressing into a clean, coherent, long aggregate earthen finish. Pair with crispy Icelandic Char, pickled ginger, and sweet sesame.


Cuvee des Grands Vintages Grand Cru


This Tete de Cuvee is from the free run juice of multiple of the best vintages. It is typically 70/30 Pinot Noir to Chardonnay with vines averaging around 35 years of age, and sourced from the Terroir d’Ambonnay; Les Secs, Les Beurys, Les Goisses, Les Genettes, Les Vaoux Saint Basle, Les Fournettes, Les Noyer Saints Pys, and Les Morrins. All base wines are from barrels and there is no malolactic fermentation. The dosage is just 3 grams per liter, making this technically an Extra Brut. This is taut, almost electric, while supporting orangey notes, nutty, with honeysuckle, pit fruit, and toffee. Pair with pork belly and orange mole, sushi with crispy shrimp tempura, and/or salmon roe and smoked oysters on thick and wavy truffled potato chips.


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