Champagne Deutz, based in Ay, is one of Richard Juhlin’s favourite houses and has a long history of excellence. They have a deep passion for the tradition of the house, the land and the wines, and strive to express terroir throughout the range. The vineyards are farmed using sustainable viticulture and each parcel is vinified separately. The style of the house revolves around delicate wines with finesse, brightness and vivaciousness.
16 Rue Jeanson, Ay. +33 3 26 56 94 00
The Deutz wines are recognized by their lightness and delicacy, but this does not mean they lack depth and intricacy – quite the contrary. Their fresh, vibrant style is enhanced by articulate flavours and an elegance that is attributed to the quality of the mostly Grand Cru grapes.
Deutz Brut Classic
Equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. This wine is a wonderful introduction to the wines of the house – fresh, floral, fruit-driven – the perfect aperitif. Reserve wines are usually 20-25% of the blend, but can be as much as 40% depending on the base vintage.
Deutz Rose NV
100% Pinot Noir from Grand and Premier Cru sites. This is a non-traditional rose, as it is neither a saignee method wine, nor an assemblage – it’s both. The wine first macerates for a short time to impart colour to the juice, and then a small amount of red wine is added to the blend. This wine was first produced in 2006.
Deutz Vintage Brut
50-60% Pinot Noir, 30-40% Chardonnay, touch of Meunier. The grapes are vinified separately in stainless steel tanks and typically undergo malolactic fermentation.
Deutz Vintage Blanc de Blancs
100% Chardonnay. Most of the fruit comes from the Grand Cru villages of Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Around 10% of the blend comes from Villiers-Marmery, which offers a touch of earthiness to the flavour profile.
Deutz Vintage Rose
100% Pinot Noir from Grand and Premier Cru sites. As with the non-vintage rose, it too is made by a combination of the saignee and assemblage methods, although the wine ages for considerably longer.
Deutz Amour de Deutz
100% Grand Cru Chardonnay. One of three Deutz prestige cuvees, this vintage wine was first produced in 1993. 60% of the Chardonnay comes from Le Mesnil, 35% from Avize and 5% from Villers-Marmery.
Deutz William Deutz
Approximately 55% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 10% Meunier. This archetypal prestige cuvee is rich and intensely complex, but never loses sight of the characteristic Deutz vivacity and poise. First introduced into the range in 1959, Michael Edwards considers this wine to be “one of the three best luxury cuvees on the market.”
Deutz Cuvee William Deutz Rose
75-80% Pinot Noir, 20-25% Chardonnay. Richard Juhlin calls this wine “something special”. It is made with less than 10% of red wine, and even with the high proportion of Pinot Noir, the wine is unexpectedly subtle, elegant and is an exemplary style of rose champagne.
Two wine merchants of Prussian descent, William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann, collaborated to establish the house of Deutz Champagne as a negociant in Ay in 1838. It was a successful partnership. Deutz, having worked at Bollinger, had a deep understanding of winemaking, and Geldermann handled the finances. They both agreed that great vineyards were the foundation upon which to make first-rate wines, buying many of Ay’s top parcels. With the combination of skills, they were soon making quality wines and marketing them in the UK, Germany and Russia.
In 1906 the house was passed to their sons-in-law, Rene Lallier and Charles Van Cassel, who seamlessly continued the successful development of the house.
However, a succession of troubles afflicted the house in the first decades of the 20th century. In April 1911 many unhappy growers revolted against the big houses in what became known as the Champagne Riots, and Deutz was one of the worst hit when their headquarters were destroyed, as was much of their stock. World War I broke out soon after, followed by the Great Depression and Champagne’s occupation by German troops during World War II. During these years, sales of Deutz went from 600,000 bottles at the turn of the century, to a paltry 80,000, increasing back up to 200,000 as World War II came to an end.
1938 saw Rene Lallier’s son, Jean, take over the house. He worked to rebuild sales, expand the vineyards and modernise the winemaking facilities. More importantly, he helped establish the current reputation of Deutz Champagne as a serious producer of superlative quality wines. In 1972, Rene’s son, Andre, became the managing director.
Andre began to look outside Champagne to increase their business holdings, and in 1977 he purchased the Rhone house, Delas. He continued this trend into the 1980s, a decade of substantial growth in the champagne market around the world, by procuring sparkling wine ventures in California and New Zealand.
Unfortunately, the 1990s were the opposite of the booming 1980s. Soon Andre felt the need to seek outside investment in the firm. In 1993, he sold a majority share of 63% to Louis Roederer. Since then, Deutz has continued to thrive. With the financial strength of Roederer behind them, Deutz has been able to remain autonomous. In no way does Louis Roederer consider Deutz to be a second label. If anything, they are seen as competitors.
In 1996, following Andre’s retirement, Fabrice Rosset (a veteran executive at Louis Roederer) took over the role of managing director. A family connection remains, however, as Andre’s son, Jean-Marc Lallier, is the export director for Deutz. Michel Davesne is the winemaker.
The 42 hectares of Deutz estate-owned vineyards are spread over five villages and focus mainly on Pinot Noir which accounts for 46% of plantings. Chardonnay and Meunier each represent 27% of the total.
The vineyards, both estate-owned and those farmed by growers, are managed using sustainable viticulture – the health of the vines is always the top priority. Each plot is treated individually according to its specific needs.
This separate handling of the plots continues in the winery where small stainless steel tanks (100-125 hl) are used to vinify the different parcels. Only the first pressing of the grapes (the cuvee) is used to make these wines. It is common for the wines to undergo malolactic fermentation, but Deutz do not enforce an exact procedure and will not initiate malo if it doesn’t occur naturally.
Their approach to reserve wines is a preference to keep the wines young, to stay consistent with the fresh style of the house. They are kept in concrete tanks for no longer than four years. This is in stark contrast to the reserve wines of Louis Roederer, which are aged for an extended period.
The recent modernisation of the impressive underground cellars, built into the hillside of the Deutz head offices on two levels 60-180 feet below ground, have allowed them the space to store up to 8 million bottles.