Côte des Bar, Champagne, France
Founded in 1846 by the brothers Jules and Auguste Devaux, today Devaux is owned by the Union Auboise, a co-operative in the Côte des Bar – the heartland of Pinot Noir in Champagne. Physically closer to Chablis than Reims or Épernay, the vines grow on Burgundian soils of Kimmeridgian marl and Portlandian limestone. Chef de Cave since 1999, Michel Parisot was named the ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ at the 2020 International Wine Challenge – an achievement that is testament to Michel’s pioneering approach to winemaking.
Only the initial, lightly pressed juice (the ‘cuvée’) is used for the ‘Classics Collection’. These Champagnes age on lees for at least three years. The flagship ‘Collection D’ range uses only the first quarter of the press (the ‘coeur de cuvée’) and is aged for at least five years, contributing to flavour complexity and the integrated mousse. The ‘Cuvée D’ comprises a minimum of 40% reserve wines, including wine from two solera systems dating back to 1995 and 2002. The ‘Ultra D’ is a low-dosage Champagne that also contains 40% reserve wines, showing wonderful freshness and length. The ‘D Rosé’ is a blend of 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay, with great finesse and hints of red berries. The ‘D Millésimé’ spends over seven years extended ageing on lees and displays exceptional complexity, structure and balance. Devaux age most of their reserve wines in oak barrels of different sizes, toasts and ages, which all sourced locally to minimise environmental impact. Intelligent use of oak in Devaux’s wines led Eric Label, Chef de Cave of Krug, to refer to Devaux as “the Krug of the Côte des Bar”.
The Sténopé is a collaboration between Michel Parisot and renowned winemaker from the Rhône Valley, Michel Chapoutier. Sharing the same philosophy around vineyards and respect for the land, they decided to create an exceptional Champagne that takes a snapshot of a particular vintage – the name means ‘pinhole camera’ in French. Sténopé is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir carefully selected by Michel Parisot from his preferred plots, with only a few thousand bottles produced each year.