In order to launch its entirely new 100% Pinot Noir cuvée, Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d’Aÿ 2010, Deutz CEO Fabrice Rosset took Anne Krebiehl MW through an extraordinary tasting that included six back vintages of top cuvée Cuvée William Deutz, including a 1988 that showed the full gastronomic potential of the wine.
Deutz has launched Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d’Aÿ to show off the quality of its home terroir, to show it can make a single vineyard/ varietal wine and to honour the founder of the house.
Among the Grandes Marques, Champagne Deutz has kept rather a low profile.
Now the house is looking to boost its UK image and invigorate its presence in the market – just in time for its 180th anniversary in 2018. In order to do this, the Aÿ-based house held a London masterclass hosted by its CEO Fabrice Rosset: he shared older vintages of the house’s prestige label Cuvée William Deutz and unveiled a completely new wine, the Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d’Aÿ.
Fabrice Rosset kicked off the tasting by stressing: “The most important thing is to taste. The most important thing is what’s in your glass.”
Deutz Brut Classic NV – this classic blend of roughly one third each of the classic varieties was full of fruit: the nose convinced with rich yellow and red apple notes, the palate showed lively mousse, resulting in a very fruity aperitif style.
Rosset, who tripled production at Deutz to a total output of 2.3 million bottles per annum over the past 15 years, emphasised: “We would never take the crème de la crème for the tête de cuvée at the cost of damaging the Brut Classic NV. This is very important to me and to Deutz and has been since 1838.”
Blanc de Blancs 2010 – Fruit is very apparent: green pear and golden apple on the nose while the palate has a citrusy, creamy and rich presence reminiscent of lemon macaroons. The Chardonnay that goes into this wine is sourced mainly from the Côte des Blancs – but Rosset remembered the “vicissitudes of the growing season”: the loss of fruit due to rot. Nonetheless, this 2010 showed well.
Deutz Brut Vintage 2012 – made from 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier, this new vintage release is a very hedonistic Champagne: exuberant notes of citrus are rounded with riper notes of juicy Mirabelle plum while autolytic notes are expressed in notes of rich sponge cake that lets the fruit shine fully. The finish has a moreish touch of savoury umami. This is very user-friendly and slips down all too easily.
Then followed various vintages of Cuvée William Deutz, the prestige cuvée of the house which is usually released after eight to 10 years of bottle ageing.
Cuvée William Deutz 2006 – Rich nose with a touch of fresh, white field mushroom. The palate has rich notions of sponge cake with a lemony fillip.
Cuvée William Deutz 2002 – a subdued nose with hints of hay, followed by a creamy, understated palate brightened by lovely lemon freshness.
Cuvée William Deutz 1996 – A touch of honey on the nose makes this appear rather advanced. But the mature flavours suit the creamy palate well with its touch of salted caramel.
Cuvée William Deutz 1995 – The star of the show: a sprightly, fresh, bright, vivid and pure Champagne. A perfect combination of creamy deliciousness and an inherent, spice-laced lightness. Do not hesitate if you manage to get your hands on this.
Cuvée William Deutz 1988 – An advanced, mature nose, its richness suggesting both caramelised fruit and a salty tang. Smoke, honey and chalk also plays on the nose while the creamy, mellow palate is all about savoury umami nuances. The perfect foil for classic French delicacies: this brought both quail to mind as well as morels in a creamy sauce. Definitely a gastronomic wine.
The finale belonged to Rosset’s new creation, the Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d’Aÿ 2010. Rosset was excited to show this wine, as it represents a 100% Pinot Noir wine from two estate vineyards adjacent to the house itself in Aÿ: Côte Glacière and Meurtet.
Rosset said: “It just happens that we have the right raw material from two of our own best plots. William Deutz decided to set up his business in Aÿ, so he must have liked Pinot Noir. Now, with climate change, these [vineyards] can stand on their own.”
Rosset declared that this was a homage to the founder of the house created for three reasons: “To show that we are in a serious terroir, to show that we can produce single-site and single-varietal wine and in order to put William Deutz in the spotlight. I would like this to be an introduction to our Cuvée William Deutz.”
Just 6000 bottles of Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d’Aÿ 2010 were made but there is more in the pipeline: In 2012 Rosset vinified the two vineyards of Côte Glacière and Meurtet separately and made 3000-4000 bottles of single-vineyard Pinot Noir each. These are still sleeping in the cellars.
For now we had a taste of the 2010: The nose was very fresh, it had something of frosted plum and a green touch of conifer. The body is slender and one feels this still needs time to round out. Remembering Rosset’s words of the vicissitudes of 2010, this may take time to come out of its shell. But the quiet, understated house has started a fine new wine that will enable it to showcase its very own home turf and history in the coming years.
Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d’Aÿ 2010 will be available in time for the festive sales period with a recommended retail price of approx. £95. Agent: Gonzalez Byass UK