Champagne Suenen Oiry Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru NV (Base 2016)

Suenen is making wines of incredible purity. The Oiry (the village from which the wine is made) has divine intensity and purity. Aurelien has nailed the balance between freshness and development blending the base 2016 wine with its and freshness and crunch, and, reserve wine made from the previous year 2013, 2014 & 2015 blend. The aged wines bringing a lovely harmony and richness. Layering in complexity. It has salinity and acid tension with generosity from the reserve wine. This is an impressive bottle of fizz!

$148.00

In stock

Check out all of the wines by Champagne Suenen

Why is this Wine so Yummy?

2016 base with 50% reserve wine from 2013-2015. Aurélien’s Oiry Blanc de Blancs is drawn from just 1.5 hectares split between five separate parcels. The vines are all planted in Oiry’s compact, white Campanian chalk soils, and together with Suenen’s single-vineyard offering, represent the only pure Oiry on the market. From Le Champ Braux planted in 1955 to La Cocluette planted in 1987 and 1999, the average age of the vines is now 44 years. These vineyards lie at the base of the slope where only a little topsoil sits above the hard, chalky bedrock. The combination of this chalk’s austere, mineral impact and Suenen’s low-yield/ripe fruit philosophy produces a scintillatingly tense, coiled and stony wine. “Tonic” is the word Suenen uses to refer to this wine’s unique personality.

The base wine was naturally fermented and aged for nine months in the same vessels—enameled tank (65%) and six-year-old Burgundian French oak barrels (35%). No fining, no filtration, no cold stabilisation, the wine was disgorged in October 2019 after 26 months on lees, with 2 g/L. This is a unique opportunity to taste Oiry’s distinctive, rocky terroir.

About Champagne Suenen

It all started in 2003 when Aurélien Suenen cut short a career in pro basketball and sports science to assist his father, Daniel, who had suffered a debilitating tractor accident. While his father eventually recovered, he soon fell critically ill, and so, by 2009 a 23-year-old Aurélien Suenen found himself in sole charge of the Cramant-based family Domaine.

Suenen had grown up in Champagne on his family Estate, so he was no stranger to work in the vineyard and cellar, but he soon began to make radical changes. His father’s practice had been conventional; the son chose a very different path. Aurélien had realized that of all the Champagnes he tasted, those that moved him came from organic practice. This helped him make the connection between quality and practice. He also connected the illness of his father, and the widespread cancers in many of his father’s generation, to the chemicals they had used so heavily in the vines. These two factors drove him. Good friends in the region, in particular Pascal Agrapart, but any number of other top growers, were on hand to help with advice and contacts. So it was that from the very beginning, Suenen began to lay the foundations for the quality we see today, by shrinking the Estate, eliminating chemical usage, dropping yields, cultivating his vineyards and beginning the move towards organic viticulture.

Although this is all recent history, the story of this Domaine dates all the way back to 1898. By the time Suenen took the keys, it had acquired additional vines in the very north of the region. Very quickly he realised that it would be impossible for him to work the entire Estate (over five hectares with two hectares in the north) to the standards that he was aiming for. The vineyards in the north were in Montigny-sur-Vesle, very near the edge of the appellation, and they were too far away. So, with one exception (a tiny plot of ungrafted Meunier in La Grande Vigne which we’ll discuss below), he sold off all of his northern plots. Today, Suenen farms just 3.2 hectares covering multiple parcels scattered mostly (apart from the aforementioned) across the northern Côtes des Blancs, in the Grand Cru villages of Cramant (where the Domaine is based) and neighboring Chouilly and Oiry. There are 17 parcels in total—mostly old vine—which now include a sliver of Avize purchased in 2020.

This offering (from 2013) has been refined down to two village blends and four vintage, single-vineyard lieux-dits. Suenen’s decision to bottle his Oiry vineyards alone speaks volumes for this terrific, previously never seen, Grand Cru terroir. Indeed, Suenen’s two bottlings from this village are currently the only pure Oiry wines on the market. Suenen believes more will follow soon. While the Oiry cuvée is all about tension, stony density and salinity, Suenen’s C + C cuvée blends the texture and flesh of Cramant with the ripe opulence of his south-facing Chouilly vines to derive something much sexier and more hedonistic. Both wines are superb and reveal terroir statements of the northern Côte des Blancs, and are underpinned by the mineral, chalky freshness that is one of this grower’s hallmarks. As of 2013, there are four single-vineyard, single-vintage releases from each of the three Grand Cru villages mentioned above, and a fourth from Suenen’s 0.21-hectare plot of old-vine, ungrafted Meunier in La Grande Vigne in Montigny-sur-Vesle, north-west of Reims.


Champagne Suenen is a member of Terre et Vin de Champagne

The Champagne Lands and Wines project was born with a real desire to share our taste for authentic Champagne wines. Champagne terroirs are subtle and sometimes difficult to analyze when tasting the wine with its bubbles.

We are 20 winegrowers driven by the same passion, convinced of the quality and diversity of our Champagne soils.
We are 20 winegrowers , of all ages and from different geographical regions, who have the common will to get together in a friendly way to share our wines and our winegrower philosophies.
We are 20 winemakers with our own convictions, our viticulture and winemaking methods in which we believe in order to be able to enhance each grape variety, each climate, each year.

Once a year, we suggest that you experience the latest vintage on more than 30 different terroirs. You will also be able to taste the future vintages available after their foaming. The tasting “Terres et Vins de Champagne” is unique in Champagne, it stands out as the meeting place between enthusiasts united around honest wines made by women and men in the field.

FYI – The 20 are a Who’s Who of Grower Champagne Producers


In the Vineyard

As you would expect of any top grower, Suenen works tirelessly in the vines. Here he is assisted by his right arm, Christophe Barbier, who has been working for the family for over 20 years. Suenen and Christophe cultivate, use cover crops and organic composts to nourish the humus and aim to increase soil biodiversity as much as possible. Herbal infusions are used to promote the natural defenses of the vines. Organic certification came in 2019. To further understand the nuances of his terroirs, Suenen works closely with Emmanuel Bourguignon (son of Claude and Lydia). Yields are low (half those of his father’s era) and while there is no fixed formula, Suenen tends to pick later than his neighbours, thus bringing more ripeness and depth to offset his vineyards’ intense minerality.

From Aurelien:

The fragility of my land and wine require care and a particular attention to the healthiness of the soil. We have reintroduced mechanical work in order to reduce packing down of the soil, thus increasing breathing and promoting land healthiness. By feeding the vine with its essential needs the growing of the roots is stimulated daily, allowing them to reach deep into the chalk layer to extract the finest in minerals and authenticity.

An exhaustive survey was carried out for each plot of land that constitutes my heritage. Each year, with the collaboration of their son Emmanuel, Claude and Lydia Bourguignon from the French soil analysis laboratory LAMS, select vine plots to conduct a detailed land analysis. I truly think that the organic element is my basic work tool and is therefore extremely valuable. Vine grows thanks to the energy found in soil and air. Brought to maturity, the greatly expected grapes will be picked in profusion at a precise moment.

Oak barrels and tuns are used for the wine making process, perpetrating my grandfather’s legacy in the wine and spirit store. I have added an ovoid concrete tun and locust tree barrels in the historical part of the store. The use of wood an earthy natural material, allows the micro-oxygenation process our the wine barrels. Besides, I like to use enamelled tuns for some of our non-vintage wine year.

Thanks to a long aging process, wine feeds on its own organic material during a six to nine-month period. Each year, conditions and production quality define the use of either poor or rich lees. Nowadays, natural yeast is partly used for fermentation of the grapes. In the future and for a first period of time, we are planning on using only our own natural yeast on selected land plots. As for the malolactic fermenting process, it is a natural and time consuming action of the wine itself that needs to be regulated for certain wines and in very specific cases. Finally, wine bottling takes place only when longer and sunnier days come closer again at the Suenen Champagne vineyards.

In the Winery

The winemaking here has followed a similar changing-of-the-guard trajectory. Although Suenen still uses the original enamel-lined tanks, today roughly a quarter of his production is vinified in wood and his single-site wines are 100% cask fermented and matured. Of course, these casks are neutral. Previously this took the form of six- to eight-year-old barrels from the Côte de Beaune. Now Suenen is transitioning to Stockinger foudre and demi-muids, which he finds impart less oak imprint. He also uses a single Noblot concrete egg to vinify some of his 1925-vine fruit from Oiry’s La Cocluette. In further contrast to his father’s time, Suenen’s wines spend far longer on lees in both cask (around nine months) and bottle (a minimum of 24 months for the blends and around 60 months for the vintage lieux-dit wines). He has also reduced the liqueur d’expédition level from brut to extra-brut to allow the singularity of each parcel to further shine through. Sulphur is used at press and after malo, with malolactic allowed to occur naturally. The base wines are naturally fermented and clarify naturally; there is no fining or filtration.

From Aurelien:

Oak barrels and tuns are used for the wine making process, perpetrating my grandfather’s legacy in the wine and spirit store. I have added an ovoid concrete tun and locust tree barrels in the historical part of the store. The use of wood an earthy natural material, allows the micro-oxygenation process our the wine barrels. Besides, I like to use enamelled tuns for some of our non-vintage wine year.

Thanks to a long aging process, wine feeds on its own organic material during a six to nine-month period. Each year, conditions and production quality define the use of either poor or rich lees. Nowadays, natural yeast is partly used for fermentation of the grapes. In the future and for a first period of time, we are planning on using only our own natural yeast on selected land plots. As for the malolactic fermenting process, it is a natural and time consuming action of the wine itself that needs to be regulated for certain wines and in very specific cases. Finally, wine bottling takes place only when longer and sunnier days come closer again at the Suenen Champagne vineyards.

Where in the world is Champagne Suenen?

Suenen is based in Cramant in the Côtes des Blancs, home of Chardonnay Champagnes. His major holdings are in Oiry with others in Cramant, Chouilly, and a splash in Montigny-sur-Vesle.

The map below shows the main sub-regions of Champagne

Click to enlarge🔎


From left to right Champagne vineyards by Soil Type, Aspect and Dominant Varietal

Click on a map to enlarge🔎

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Scev Suenen-person, Allée de la Garenne, Cramant, France

France

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Côte des Blancs

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Chouilly

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Cramant

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