2/1/14 Going from Prevost to Geoffroy was quite a culture shock, possibly greater than Krug to Bereche. I've enjoyed Jean-Baptiste's wines for years, and he's sharp guy who's doing quite well. He recently purchased a huge, aristocratic building in Aÿ that used to be the home to the cooperative winery of the village. The co-op out grew the building, and JB our grew his family space in Cumieres, so it worked out well. That being said, he doesn't have any vines in Aÿ, but plenty in Cumieres, Hautvillers, Damery,and more.
JB is definitely more of a winemaker than a farmer. He talks about minimal winemaking, no ML, using traditional presses because pneumatic don't allow you to truly know whats going on. All sorts of vessels - stainless, enamel, various size oak because he likes to keep his 45 parcels separate until blending. He doesn't like to fine or filter. He actually had a lab, which was one of the few I saw.
Interestingly he didn't talk much about the vines, just that he didn't like all the rain they're getting because it makes it hard to work with tractors and washes away the fertilizer. Quite the contrast with Prevost.
After the quick tour of the sprawling 3 story winery, we went and tasted his wines. It was interesting to taste some Vallėe de la Marne wines after so many from the other main regions. They were easier and a bit more friendly. Less demanding, but very enjoyable. I'm sure that's partly JB's hand as well, but I did notice the "fine" note that Laval talked about in more than one of JB's wines.
The Empriente continues to be the sweet spot for me in terms of price and quality, and the 07 is just as good as the 06 which I've had on the list since day one, but its expressive of 2007 so a bit leaner and higher acid than the 06. When it arrives in Portland, it will return to my list. A newer wine for JB, and one I've never tasted is the blanc de rose, which is an exceptional and serious wine. Unfortunately it comes with an appropriate price tag for the quality, but worth it. It's base year 2011, 50 chard 50 Pinot, co-macerated with 3 g/L. The wine is more elegant and complex than the rose de saignee, and has more nuanced flavors including pink grapefruit. Awesome wine. The other wine really impressed me was his Millėsime 2004. I've never tried his vintage wines, mostly because of the price tag, about $150. I'm glad that I finally got to try this wine, it is worthy of the cost. It's cork finished, see Bereche for a discussion of this, and shows plenty of the "fine" Cumieres note along with loads of complexity, elegance, fruit, coffee, and earth tones while retaining fantastic freshness. A wonderful end to the tasting.