To say the Champagnes of de Sousa are avidly followed by Atlas clients might be understatement. Two cuvées in particular have developed something of a cult-like following with our clients, namely the Mycorhize and the 3A – both invariably sell out in a matter of hours, so on your marks…
Those of you waiting on the next release of these two cuvées will have to wait a bit longer as there are no further releases planned for this year. However, some good news for you, we have added two new Champagnes from de Sousa to our range: a hard-earned allocation of the Umami Extra Brut in the highly-rated 2012 vintage and the newly introduced Avec Le Temps. This the very first release of this new Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut.
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. More recently, William Kelley commented on robertparker.com, when praising the first release of Umami, that ‘this is a brilliant effort from a producer that deserves to be much better known among Anglophone wine lovers’.
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, Aÿ, 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 know I am akin to a stuck record here, but please bear with me. 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 grower Champagnes exist. A good number of our clients have woken up to this and follow the wines of several of the growers with whom we work. Simply put; this is why de Sousa sells out in record time!
For the two new cuvées, I have included some background notes below as well as William Kelley’s note for the Umami. No critic has yet tasted the Avec Le Temps, so I have included my note for your reference.