1,212 bottles each year is not a lot of stock to meet global demand, particularly when the wine in question is an outstanding, remarkably fairly priced, Grand Cru Champagne from De Sousa.
I am pleased to say we have just purchased our new allocation of Atlas’ fastest-selling Champagne. This Champagne has really developed something of a cult-like following with our clients, and invariably we sell out within a matter of hours.
If you haven’t tried De Sousa’s champagnes, you could be forgiven for wondering what this was all about. I have included some background below on this estate, which we have championed for many years – it is well worth a look.
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, 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.
‘Mycorhize’ may be an unusual name for a cuvée…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 that 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 finer wines.
I know I always repeat this so accept my apologies for the stuck record routine, but 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!
First the technical bit: Taken from old Grand Cru plots of Chardonnay across De Sousa’s holdings, this Blanc de Blancs 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 2016 vintage and was disgorged in April 2020. As I haven’t had the chance to taste the new release, my note below was written after tasting the previous release. The consistency of this Champagne is such that I am confident the comments will hold true.
A note on recommended drink dates: I would suggest that the latest release could be consumed shortly after from shipment (anticipated in May) and could be cellared for just over a decade if you wished, so a cautious ‘drink-up’ date of 2032 would be fair.
Orders limited to two cases per client.
Please let us know of your interest. On your marks...
All the best,