You are unlikely to have heard of this Champagne producer - indeed we hadn't heard of him until reading a recent endorsement from William Kelley, which compelled us to buy a parcel of NV Extra Brut Grand Cru ‘Le Terroir’, Adrien Renoir - £240 per 6 bottle case in bond.
Adrien Renoir is a fourth generation winemaker in the Verzy village in the Montagne de Reims region of Champagne. Having worked with his father, Vincent, from 2014, he took full control over the domaine in 2016, steering production away from Vincent’s more old-school approach, bringing in organic and biodynamic principles to suit his artisanal winemaking style. Now, at the ripe old age of 30(!), he is becoming known as one of Champagne’s bright young stars.
Adrien Renoir owns around 7 hectares of vines, 6 of which lie in the Grand Cru village of Verzy, with one hectare in Tours-sur-Marne and Berru. However, for their own domaine bottlings, only the finest 5 hectares of Verzy vineyards are used, with the remainder of their grapes being sold off to other domaines. Adrien is part of an exciting new wave of Champenois producers who are giving their inherited old vines (Renoir’s vines average 40 years of age) new life. Adrien started farming organically as soon as he took over in 2016 and gained organic certification in 2019. He also uses biodynamic practices, though is not yet certified.
As for Adrien's approach, it ticks all the boxes we tend to look for in the Champagnes we offer – Grand Cru fruit, extended lees ageing (24 months), and low dosage (around 1 gram per litre) – these are wines of structure and complexity, built to age.
I have not yet tasted the wines of Adrien Renoir, but having read William Kelley’s endorsements, both of bottlings of this wine and of the domaine in general, I certainly will do. Off the back of Kelley’s comments below, I am very happy to take the plunge!
Kelley has not tasted the most recent bottling, offered here, but he inclines his readers to start paying attention now: “Every new release from Renoir seems to surpass the last, so I can only encourage readers to start paying attention to one of Champagne's brightest young talents.”
This is the note on the most recently reviewed 'Le Terroir' - it is worth noting that, even though this is a non-vintage Champagne, the base wine vintage changes with each release, and is scored separately.