Agrapart & Fils, based in Avize, is known for their individual style of grower champagnes. Family owned and operated since 1894, they work rigorously in the vineyard and cellars. Their philosophy is reminiscent of biodynamic practices but without the pigeonholing. Pascal Agrapart is the innovative mind behind the range of wines. Most are produced from Grand Cru Chardonnay, but some include the less recognised grapes of Champagne, including Petit Meslier and Arbane. These are artisanal wines that deserve to be explored and appreciated.
57 Avenue Jean Jaures, Avize +33 3 26 57 51 38.
Peter Liem’s description that these wines “feel grown rather than made” captures the essence of the Agrapart range. It’s not that Pascal is a ‘hands off’ winemaker, quite the contrary. It is the care and meticulous attention he lavishes on his vines that enables them to grow into the vinous representations of place that the Agrapart champagnes are known for.
Agrapart 7 Crus Brut
Previously made from 100% Chardonnay, the wine is no longer a blanc de blancs. It includes a small portion (10%) of Pinot Noir. The grapes come from seven different villages in the Cote des Blancs, and oak-aged reserve wines are added to the blend. The wine ages for three years on its lees and batonnage is carried out by hand. Dosage is 7g/L.
Agrapart Terroirs Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay. This non-vintage (or ‘multi-vintage’ as Agrapart prefers) is made with grapes from aged vines in the estate’s best parcels, and matures for four years on the lees. Dosage is a low 5g/L.
Agrapart Complantee Extra Brut Grand Cru
A blend of six of the seven Champagne grapes: Pinot Noir, Meunier, Chardonnay, Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc. The wine is aged in oak barrels for four years on the lees and is unfiltered. The dosage is 5g/L.
Agrapart Mineral Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay from two adjacent Grand Cru vineyards on the border of Cramant and Avize. The fruit from Bionnes in Cramant is vinified in 600L oak casks, while the portion from Le Champ Bouton in Avize ferments in stainless steel. The chalky soils of both vineyards provide the mineral aspects of the wine after which it is named. Aged on the lees for five years with manual batonnage. Dosage is 4g/L.
Agrapart Avizoise Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru vineyards in Avize: Les Robarts and La Voie d’Epernay. The soil here is rich in clay, which shows in the wine’s depth and full character. The wine goes through full malolactic fermentation. Ageing takes place entirely in demi-muids, and second fermentation in the bottle occurs under cork instead of crown cap. The wine ages on its lees for five years. The dosage is 4g/L.
Agrapart Venus Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay. This cuvee is named as a tribute to the horse, Venus, that first ploughed this old vineyard, originally planted in 1959. As with the Avizoise, the ageing takes place in demi-muids, and second fermentation in the bottle occurs under cork instead of crown cap. The wine ages for five years. The wine is not filtered and has zero dosage.
Agrapart Experience Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay. A completely unique ‘Experience’ in the world of Champagne. It took Pascal five years of experiments until he released his first version in 2007. The wine is produced without the addition of sugar of any kind (grape must is used instead, for which he had to get special permission from the local authorities). This wine is a blend of the Mineral and Avizoise cuvees, and is neither fined nor filtered. It is made in minute quantities.
Arthur Agrapart established the house in the Cote des Blancs village of Avize in 1894. From the outset, and long before it was fashionable, he produced wines from his own estate-grown grapes. Over the next 40-50 years, the house suffered through two world wars, the Great Depression and the German occupation. It managed to emerge intact, if a bit disheveled.
It was at this stage, in the 1950s, when Arthur’s grandson Pierre took control. Pierre helped bring the house back to its former stature by acquiring more top vineyards and focusing solely on the quality of the wines, instead of the popular fashions of the day.
In 1984, 90 years after the founding of the house, Pierre’s sons, Pascal and Fabrice joined the business, and have built on the reputation and heritage of their forefathers to create a range of wines that are truly hand-crafted, and respectful and expressive of the terroir.
Pascal Agrapart makes his wines from 12 hectares of vineyards, located mostly in the Grand Cru Cote des Blancs villages of Avize, Cramant, Oger and Oiry. The chalky soils in these areas are wonderful for achieving finesse and freshness from the Chardonnay vines. Amongst their 50 plots are some of the region’s oldest vines, with an average age of 35-40 years, and some as old as 65.
Pascal’s philosophy in the vineyard and the cellar is to pay close attention to the needs of the vines and the wines, giving them as many natural advantages as possible. While he prefers not to be labeled as an organic or biodynamic producer, Pascal adheres to many of the principles of biodynamics. One of the most important aspects for him is the health of the soil. All the vineyards are worked manually, which develops the microbial life and helps the vines descend more deeply into the soil. Herbicides and pesticides are never used. Instead, Pascal favours homeopathic treatments and the use of organic compost.
In the winery, Pascal crushes the grapes using a traditional Coquard press and then vinifies the parcels according to the weight of the wines – the ‘sturdier’ ones go into 600L demi-muids (large oak vats). For Pascal, the older the barrels the better, as he does not want the flavour of the oak to encroach on the flavor of the fruit. He is interested in the oxygenation effects these large barrels provide to the wine. Stainless steel tanks are used for the more delicate wines.
Natural yeasts always initiate fermentation, as Pascal believes this helps to bring forward the expression of the land. Malolactic fermentation takes place across the range. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, and undergo an extended period of ageing. The bottling and disgorgement dates are listed on every bottle.