Marinette Raclot may already have notched up a twenty-five-year history, its boldness reflects unmistakable youthfulness. Since the spring of 2017, some quirky bottles have been sleeping in its cellars. Their black and opaque glass contains an unusual Champagne made entirely from Pinot blanc.
Although, like Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Arbane, Pinot Gris and Petit Meslier, the variety is one of the seven grape varieties authorised in Champagne, it is still very much a minority grape. “We didn't want to be like everyone else!" explains Sébastien Harand, who heads up the winery. Spurred on by the quality of the base wine used to create the label, the winegrower hopes to produce a structured, vinous Champagne with complex aromas.
Until it is released for sale in autumn 2019, he is devoting himself to the house’s other five labels. He founded the company with his mother in the 1990s but is now alone at the helm. He farms 7.5 hectares of vines in the Côte des Bars, divided mainly between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The two grape varieties, referred to as “the kings of Champagne”, yield a Brut, a Brut rosé, a Brut prestige Blanc de Blanc and a label designed as a tribute to his daughter, Mathilde, whose crown cap is decorated with a different portrait for each vintage, much to the delight of collectors.
Every year, 40,000 bottles leave the winery bound for the French market. Sébastien Harand boasts a network of long-standing clients, enabling him to reserve his wines for private customers, through cellar door sales and the ten or so shows he attends across France. His objective for 2018 is to secure market shares in Europe, find new clients and meet demand from connoisseurs travelling from the Benelux countries.
By Alexandra Reveillon