Champagne (Grower Producer)
Charles Dufour is a young vigneron who not only works organically but also uses natural yeast, a difficult task in sparkling wine production.
Most of Dufour’s Pinot Blanc goes into blend “Bulles de Comptoir”. In 2011, he siphoned some off to make “Le Champ du Clos,” which is entirely varietal. No oak is used so the cuvee has a very pure, mineral based expression with citrus and dried herbs. Elegant and subtle and I really mean that – not as a euphemism for light and blah – it will find fans among those who enjoy very pure wines.
Is Dufour a trend setter here or maybe even responding to one that has already begun? The latter we honestly don’t know. Located in Aube, which is sort of the bastard stepchild of Champagne, the vignerons, especially the younger ones, feel less of a need to conform to tradition. As one of the permitted grapes in Champagne, Dufour is not doing anything outside of the AOC.
In fact the vines, which were planted by his grandfather, are quite old. Using oak might make it more appealing to a large swath of consumers but I love the clarity and uniqueness of the Champagne and hope without altering the wine he can dial it in a little bit more so that others can use it as a benchmark for Pinot Blanc in Champagne.