William Kelley's Latest: New Frontier in the Aube

Looks like this was published on Friday, but I’m just seeing it now. Apologies if it’s already been mentioned. Great, if brief, coverage dedicated to the Aube. A lot of the usual suspects, but also some producers we’ve never encountered.

We drink tons of Champagne, but will admit that we’ve been less than impressed with most of the wines we’ve had from this region. Perhaps we need to revisit, given the praise in this article?

Particularly interested in the Jacques Lassaigne wines, as we’ve never had them. Will be revisiting Horiot, as the last time I tasted was 9 (!) years ago, when I was already railing against the low dosage mantra, ha!:

  • 2007 Olivier Horiot Champagne Sève Rosé de Saignée En Barmont Les Riceys - France, Champagne (2/15/2014)
    I was expecting more from this Champagne. The nose was explosive and the color was very deep and rich, but the palette fell flat. Very little fruit and what was there was muted by the incredibly austere and steely nature of this Extra Brut. A little more dosage might have help. I realize Riceys is just about in the Cote d'Or (and thus warmer than the more traditional areas of Champagne), but this new trend towards zero and low dosage bubbles can't run its course fast enough... (83 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

What are your thoughts on the Champagnes from the Cote des Bar?


Hi Troy,

I love the Lassaigne wines, and would say that the Le Vins de Montguex was pretty close to a house wine for a while. The Les Cotet and Clos St. Sophie are also very high on my list of favorite champagnes.

But Lassaigne is in a warmer area of the region and the sites tend to ripen well. With some of the very warm vintages recently(specifically 2018), I found the wines more fleshy, tropical, and with less acidity than I prefer. No flaws in the winemaking, so it’s a subjective comment. And primarily because I think the wines are typically wonderful.


Thanks for the insight, Marcus. I don’t mind riper Champagne, as long as the ripeness is supported by sufficient acidity. That has been our main gripe when it comes to the wines from the Aube; not enough acid.

Apparently, the 07 Horiot noted above was an exception in the other direction. Maybe I’m just difficult to please?!

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Given that 1/4 of all Champagne is produced in the Aube, you’ve likely had a lot of Aube juice in Champagnes you’ve liked without knowing it.

Horiot’s issue today is more that he’s gone a bit natty, rather than any lack of dosage (a lot has changed since 2007). But, given that the Aube has really been given short shrift in the press, I can understand the allure of the natural wine movement as a way to break out and find a clientele.

Out of curiosity, beyond Lassaigne, which of the other producers in the article hadn’t you tried?


I have found some of his rarer cuvees (Ephemere, Petit Meslier) to be more compelling


For me more of a vintage-by-vintage and bottle-by-bottle thing than a question of cuvées.

Easier to list the ones I have tried. I suspect the reason our experience in the Aube is so shallow is due to my selection bias. Here’s who we’ve tried from your report:

  • Champagne Horiot
  • Champagne Roses de Jeanne (Cédric Bouchard)
  • Marie Courtin

Producers from the Aube I have at least some recollection of tasting based on my CT notes that were not in your report include:

  • Pierre Brigandat
  • Nathalie Falmet
  • Champagne Fleury
  • Vignoble Laculle

All of the above that were not in your report produced interesting, but not compelling, wines, in my recollection.

Fair, have not done a deep dive across vintages, though doesn’t really surprise me given how vintage differences (whether in the vineyard or in the cellar) are often more pronounced for some of these smaller growers.

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If you are looking for a more chiseled style, you will definitely appreciate Lassaigne, and I think Petit Clergeot would also be a good fit.

Thanks for those recommendations and for your fastidious reporting.

I think, ultimately, our preferences are fairly broad. We love big, broad shouldered Pinot-based wines from the Montagne and the Grand Vallée as much as we love tightly focused wines from the CdB. Our choice usually comes down to the food and the setting. Some nights call for Clos des Goisses and some call for Gastronome.

That said, IMHO, the best Champagnes, whether Pinot or Chardonnay based, need a good spine of acidity to achieve that perfect balance. Structure imparted via tannin or the use of oak just isn’t the same as what fine acidity brings to the wine. For whatever reason, we have struggled to find that structure in the Aube.

The search continues with some fine new recommendations. Thanks again!