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Champagne Françoise Bedel et Fils

Françoise Bedel, a single mother of two sons and a new winery found herself in a tight spot. Her oldest […]

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Champagne Françoise Bedel et Fils

Françoise Bedel, a single mother of two sons and a new winery found herself in a tight spot. Her oldest son was very sick and she could find no doctor or hospital that could cure him. There were many weeks and months searching for an answer. As a last desperate measure, she took him to see an older couple in a nearby village who practiced homeopathic medicine. Under their guidance, Vincent, Françoise’s son and current winemaker at the estate, was on the mend. She swore off modern medicine and within months had removed every chemical or synthetic material from her tiny winery, Françoise became a biodynamic winemaker before virtually anyone in the wine trade had ever heard of the term.

Today the estate is still small (8.4 hectares) and Françoise and Vincent are doing things their own way. While others champion the better-known Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, they are in love with Pinot Meunier and this variety features heavily at this address. This is not uncommon as the Marne Valley is know for the quality of its Pinot Meunier and Françoise and Vincent only farm small amounts of Chardonnay (13%) and Pinot Noir (9%). In addition to their reliance on Pinot Meunier, Vincent and Françoise are also patient with their champagnes and it is not uncommon for a wine to spend more than 6 years on the lees, and frequently far longer. Low or zero dosage is the rule chez Bedel.

Located on the margins of Champagne, Vincent and Françoise farm vines near the village of Crouttes-sur-Marne on the far western edge of the Marne Valley – they are far closer to Paris than the city of Reims! The terroir here is dominated by clay with touches of limestone and gravel. This, combined with the Pinot Meunier grape, lead to wines with heft and weight with long, lingering acidity. We don’t often think of decanting champagne, but these are wines that are transcendent when exposed to air – they are wines of great soul and depth.

 

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“Francoise Bedel’s achievements represent one more among numerous recent demonstrations that long- or even perpetually neglected sectors of Champagne – in her case, the Marne Valley’s Meunier-rich western fringe – can set off vinous fireworks. Bedel has been farming entirely biodynamically for fifteen years, and has become quite well-known for her advocacy of that regimen. An inexpensive entry-level cuvee is absent from her portfolio; but then, she not only works in an extremely meticulous and labor-intensive way, she also releases no wine sooner than five years after its harvest.”

– David Schildknecht
Champagne, France
  • Location
    Champagne, France
  • Primary Appellation
    Champagne
  • Proprietor
    Françoise Bedel & Vincent Deseaubeau
  • Winemaker
    Vincent Deseaubeau
  • Size / Elevation
    8.4 hectares / 100-200 meters
  • Age of Vines
    20-60 years
  • Farming
    Biodynamic
  • Varieties
    Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
  • Portfolio
    Jon-David Headrick Selections
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