We are still forgetting that one of the most outstanding terroirs of Champagne is located far south from the famous Montagne de Reims or Côte des Blancs: Les Riceys, a complex cluster of hills and slopes nestled at the limit of the appellation, touching Burgundy.
Famous in the 17th century thanks to the medical condition of Louis the XIV whose doctor recommended to drink Riceys as a medicine for his “goutte”, the area was renowned to produce powerful rosés, almost claret like. They were so distinctive they even got their own AOC - Rosé des Riceys on top of being able to produce of course the regional Champagne and Coteaux Champenois appellations. Yet, the potential of the area got dismissed, especially its incredible terroir diversity.
It was without counting Marie and Olivier Horiot, their fantastic energy and desire to reveal their land. In CSW John McIlwain words’: “With family roots in vine growing dating to the 1600s and a father and grandfather who sold their grapes to the cave cooperative, Olivier Horiot decided to vinify independently as well as work organically with some biodynamic methods. Blessed with established vines in distinctive terroir, Olivier initially decided to make only Rosé des Riceys and Coteaux Champenois before complementing the still wines with sparkling wines in 2004. With 8 parcels of different terroirs, Olivier decided to bottle some separately: south-facing En Valingrain’s lighter marl lends more precision and finesse, while the heavier clays and eastern and south-eastern exposure of En Barmont contribute more richness and generosity. And though Rosé des Riceys is already a somewhat esoteric wine, bottling two different cuvées shows Horiot’s commitment to terroir.”
In 2008, he pushed the project even further with the help of two other vignerons and friends, Elise Dechannes and Arnaud Lamoureux. With the 2009 vintage, they decided to follow exactly the same protocole of viticulture and winemaking in order to highlight the terroir’s difference between their plot. All other things being equal, only the place was changing.
Tuesday night, 22nd of October, you will have the chance to taste the 4 wines produced, as well as 2 Rosés des Riceys, with Marie and Olivier leading the tasting. It will be a fantastic chance to try to experiment the finicky ideas of minerality and terroir with very talented, special and committed vignerons!
Price and Line Up to be announced shortly.