These two Champagnes invariably sell out in record time. Since we first introduced them, they have developed an incredibly strong following with our clients on account of their outstanding quality and value. So, if you are yet to try the Champagnes of de Sousa, I would urge you to take up this offer of NV ‘3A’, Grand Cru Extra Brut at £215 per 6 bottle case in bond/ £235 per 3 magnum case in bond and NV ‘Mycorhize’, Grand Cru Extra Brut at £240 per 6 bottle case in bond.
As Champagne critic, Peter Liem once commented; ‘It’s no accident that De Sousa is found in many of France’s best restaurants'...indeed it was at a restaurant that I was first introduced to this estate. The De Sousa family (of Portuguese descent) have been in Avize for three generations and the house of De Sousa & Fils was founded in 1986 by Erick and Michelle. The scale is modest; there are just 9.5 hectares, and production barely exceeds 6,000 cases from their 42 different vineyard parcels across the villages of Avize, Ay, Cramant, Chouilly, Le Mesnil sur Oger and Oger. The vast majority of their vines are low yielding, given they were planted more than 45 years ago, and they have cultivated their vineyards organically since 1989. In 1999, De Sousa converted to biodynamic viticulture which – if anything – has lowered yields even further. You quickly get the impression that everything at De Sousa is about quality over quantity.
I am pleased to release our 2020 allocation of two Champagnes from De Sousa; firstly, the aptly-named ‘3A’, which is a blend of Grand Cru fruit from Avize, Ambonnay and Ay, and secondly, the perhaps obscurely-named, ‘Mycorhize’. This is a limited cuvée of just 1212 bottles per annum. The name relates to the fact that this cuvée is made from fruit grown biodynamically on the estate. ‘Mycorhize’ (pronounced ‘me-cor-reeze’) is a term used to describe the close, symbiotic relationship between the roots of the vine and the fungi that inhabit the area around the root zone. Proponents of biodynamic viticulture believe that their approach leads to healthier vines with deeper roots that yield higher quality fruit. Whether or not you believe or understand biodynamics, it does mean than growers have to pre-empt; they are unable to react instantaneously as they might in conventional viticulture and apply chemicals to hold a problem at bay. And it is certain that greater attentiveness undoubtedly leads to fine wines.
These two Champagnes are truly exceptional and should easily displace non-vintage Grande Marques from your cellar, portfolio, Eurocaves and fridges. I struggle to understand why there is a need to pay up for a lesser Champagne, made in near industrial quantities, sourced from Premier rather than Grand Cru vineyards, when such great growers Champagnes are available...a good number of our clients have woken up to this and follow the wines of several of the growers with whom we work.
NV ‘3A’, Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne de Sousa
£215 per 6 bottle case in bond
£235 per 3 magnum case in bond
First the technical bit: This aptly-named cuvée comprises a blend of 50% Grand Cru Chardonnay from Avize, raised in oak, 25% Grand Cru Pinot Noir from Ay and 25% from Ambonnay. These are three of finest terroirs in Champagne. The dosage is 3 grams per litre. The new release is based on the 2016 vintage and was disgorged on 16/11/18.
3A exemplifies the qualities associated with De Sousa. Aromas of juicy orchard fruit and hints of red berry pick up a slightly floral overlay on the nose. The hallmark of all De Sousa Champagnes is the softness of texture and understated weight, allied to an underlying raciness. As ever, a mineral backbone and a fine sense of persistence shape this impressive Champagne. It is no doubt a common comment to the tasting notes, but the purity and clarity of flavour make for an outstanding, remarkably harmonious Champagne. (SL) Drink 2020-2027.
NV ‘Mycorhize’, Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne de Sousa
£240 per 6 bottle case in bond
First the technical bit: Taken from old Grand Cru plots of Chardonnay across De Sousa’s holdings, this wine is aged sur latte for three years before being disgorged. The base wine is fermented in 225-litre French oak barriques and the dosage is just 3 grams per litre. The new release is based on the 2015 vintage and was disgorged on 13/12/2018.
In contrast to the 3A, the Mycorhize offer notes of freshly-baked patisserie, white flower and discreet notes of creamy vanilla, all of which overlay the juicy pear and apple fruit. The chalky, flinty mineral notes lend complexity and race to the softly layered, ripe fruit, and there is a sense of gradually building concentration, but nothing destroys the sense of harmony. The hallmark purity that all de Sousa Champagnes show is once more striking as is the overriding sense of finesse. The Mycorhize finishes with a citrusy note to the acidity and boasts a long, lingering finish. A winner. (SL) Drink 2020-2029.
Last year these two champagnes sold out in a matter of a few hours, so please do not delay if you are interested in placing an order.
All the best