Stéphane Aladame is one of the stars of the younger generation of French producers. Whereas many young winemakers inherit their estate, Stéphane began from scratch in 1992, at the age of 18. He completed his studies in Beaune before renting vineyards in Montagny, in the Côte Chalonnaise. The wines of Montagny can easily rival those from the more famous Côte de Beaune, which lies immediately to the north, and often at considerably better prices. Stéphane is also a bit of an anomaly in Montagny, as the village is dominated by cooperatives (at around 75%), with only 18 independent producers. Stéphane now cultivates eight hectares, with seven hectares situated in Montagny Premier Cru.
The vineyards are farmed organically and are harvested by hand. Stéphane vinifies the grapes in a small cellar under his house, while his wife Julie takes care of the administrative side of the domaine. The soils in Montagny are calcareous, as in Chablis, which gives a similar streak of steeliness to the wines.
Never has the phrase 'all's well that ends well' rung so true as in the case of the 2014 Burgundy vintage. Devastating hailstorms in June were followed by a cold and rainy August, where temperatures struggled to reach 20°C. These conditions meant that the threat of rot, under-ripe grapes and another low-yielding vintage hung over the growers. Just as all hope was fading, September was bathed in sunshine and rescued the 2014 vintage from the brink of disaster.
The grapes from a single vintage are picked by hand in open boxes and gently pressed immediately after, using a pneumatic press. The first fermentation is carried out in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks. The wine is then bottled and put into their cellar and spends 15 to 18 months on lees. The 3g/L residual sugar results in an Extra Brut which is particularly crisp, yet balanced.
Aromas of white fruits with notes of acacia. On the palate, the Cremant is supple, attractive and dominated by peach flavours. It is fresh and crisp with good minerality and a long finish.