Françoise Bedel, a single mother of two sons and a new winery, was in a tight spot. Her oldest son […]Keep Reading
Françoise Bedel, a single mother of two sons and a new winery, was 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 of searching for an answer. Finally, 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, was soon 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 is doing things her way. While others champion the better-known Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, she is in love with Pinot Meunier, and this variety features heavily at this address. This is not uncommon as the Marne Valley is known for the quality of its Pinot Meunier, and Françoise only farms small amounts of Chardonnay (13%) and Pinot Noir (9%). In addition to her reliance on Pinot Meunier, Françoise is also patient with her Champagnes, and most bottles spend more than six years on the lees and frequently far longer. Low or zero dosage is the rule, chez Bedel.
Located on the extreme western edge of Champagne, Françoise farm vines near the village of Crouttes-sur-Marne on the far 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. Combined with the Pinot Meunier grape, this leads 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.