Our tasting impressions
It seems Maillart missed the memo that 2017 was a bad year for Pinot Meunier. There is no trace of over-ripeness in this Mont Martin. The color is a deep golden. It is youthfully, yeasty on the nose. Then a sip, and pow! So fresh and lively and so very long. Bravo!
About this wine
The third vintage of this 100% Pinot Meunier from a single 1er Cru 1.8 ha plot (selection Massale) in Villers Allerand. The vines, planted in marl and limestone from the Thanetien period, planted in 1972. They are managed biologically, bio-dynamically and classically as necessary - all with respect for the the rhythm of the plants.
Grapes are slowly and gently pressed using gravity-flow techniques. Vinification is in wooden vats and with regular battonage and there is no malolactic fermentation. Aging is on the lees in new French oak for 6 months. Dosage : 4g/l. Disgorged 4/2020. About 4,400 bottles produced, compared with 15,000 the previous year .
About the grape
PInot Meunier also know as Meunier is the least known of the Champagne grapes despite being the second most planted. It is mostly used for blending with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - adding bright fruit. It is dark-skinned and related to Pinot Noir. It ripens early and tolerates cooler climates so it is a dependable crop in tough vintages.
About the vintage
2017 was a vintage for which only talented and dedicated growers/winemakers needed apply. Much of the spring and summer was warm and dry but August was damp, to say the least. Many vineyards experienced gray rot and some botrytis. In general, Chardonnay fared better than Pinto Noir and lots of Meunier was overripe. But, Maillart is not typical. Nicolas says unequivocally that his 2017's are great!
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Mineralité
The Maillart Family has been farming grapes in the village of Montagne de Reims since at least 1753, though there is evidence that they may have been associated with these vineyards 200 years prior.
Nicolas (9th generation) has been in charge since 2003. He is deeply committed to sustainable farming. Maillart is one of the first Champagne estates labeled both HVE (Haute Valeur Environnementale or High Environmental Value in English) and sustainable viticulture. His installation of photovoltaic panels resulted in energy production almost equaling their usage.
The 8.5-hectare estate of only 1er and Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy, Ecueil and Villers-Allerand are planted to 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. All of their plots are well-situated about halfway up their respective slopes.
In the cellar, fermentation and maturation can occur either in tank, barrel or both depending on the source. The result is a variety of styles for creating blends, as well as the option of producing a wine from a single, particularly impressive batch of grapes. Six different cuvées are produced.