Innovation from Champagne A R Lenoble
After a long and patient process of development, the very first editions of Champagne AR Lenoble Intense “mag14” and Champagne AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly “mag14” are finally ready to be released from our cellars here in Champagne.
For the very first time, AR Lenoble is releasing non-vintage wines containing reserve wines that were aged in magnums under natural cork. This is the result of a very long evolutionary process that started in 2010.
As soon as they arrived at AR Lenoble in 1993 to take over the reins from their father, sister-and-brother co-owners Anne and Antoine Malassagne made the decision to start conserving their reserve wines in 225-litre barrels using the principle of the perpetual reserve, a process that continues to this day. A few years later, they invested in 5,000-litre casks to allow for an ageing process that was slower than in barrels. In these containers, reserve wines obtain additional brightness and freshness.
More recently, in 2010, as part of their constant research for ways to improve the quality of their wines, they decided to add an additional element to the perpetual reserve by conserving some of their reserve wines in magnums under natural cork and staple. As this particular bottle has the ideal “liquid – oxygen” ratio, and as the wines age under CO2, and are therefore protected from oxygen, the cork allows only very little air to enter the bottle. Due to the destruction of the yeasts by the enzymes of the wine, a phenomenon known as autolysis, a subtle and exceptional aromatic palate is able to develop.
Following the 2014 harvest, as he was blending his non-vintage wines, Antoine Malassagne decided to incorporate these unique reserve wines into his wines for the very first time. Once the final blends were determined, the wines were bottled and allowed to age on their lees for three years in our cellars. The first two of these wines are now ready to be enjoyed: AR Lenoble Intense “mag14” and AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly “mag14”
In addition to the exceptional aromatic palate that results from ageing our reserve wines in magnums under natural cork, it also means that we are better-prepared for climate change.
“Climate change is a reality,” said Antoine Malassagne. “The challenge for the future is to be able to bring as much freshness as possible to our reserve wines. At the end of each harvest, we observe that acidity levels are much lower than they used to be. Reserve wines now need to add complexity and richness but also freshness. Ageing a portion of our reserve wines in magnums under cork and staple makes this possible.”