We tasted: Fleury 2004

tasting in January 2020, Madrid, Spain

It’s now time to write about a champagne house that is neither situated in Côte des Blancs, nor Montagne de Reims or Vallée de la Marne. This house is located in the southern part of Champagne, in Courteron — a village that belongs to the Aube area, in Côte des Bars.

The Fleury domain was created in 1895 and after the phylloxera disaster (early 20th century in Champagne), Emile Fleury was audacious enough to graft the first Pinot Noir vines in the region. When the economic crisis hit in 1929, his son Robert Fleury, saved his small vine-growing business by venturing in champagne production. In doing so, he became one of the first “grower-producers” of the southern Champagne region, now known as “creators of champagne growers”. In 1970 Jean-Pierre Fleury succeeded him and in 1989 he was the first to apply biodynamic practices in his vineyard; only partly at the beginning and then entirely in 1992 (when Fleury was the first champagne producer with biodynamic certification). We can say that the Champagne Fleury’s philosophy is based on the desire to create original cuvées that are beautifully revealing their terroir‘s attributes. All their efforts are focused in minimum grape and wine manipulation, including natural, non-contaminating procedures and technics — starting with the vineyards and ending with the champagne bottles issued on the market.

Their approximately 200,000 bottles per year production is based on their own 15 hectares which are split in 10 plots cultivated 85% with Pinot Noir, 10% with Chardonnay and the remaining 5% with Pinot Meunier, Pinot Blanc (a historical variety in Champagne) and Pinot Gris (replanted in 2010). Even if the vast majority of the vineyards in Champagne are planted with the three main grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – there are also another four types accepted: l’arbane, le petit meslier, le pinot blanc and le pinot gris, all white grapes that together only represent less than 0.3% of the vineyards in Champagne.

Let’s now focus on this special cuvée: millésime 2004. On the nose it reveals delicate subtle notes of patisserie, mixed with orange flowers, green apples and honey. On the palate is stylish, fresh and elegantly textured. Medium body, high on minerality, it impresses with notes of white flowers, marzipan, pears, apricots, grapefruits, hazelnuts, cream, toast and again, honey. Lovely minerality. It’s a flavours symphony. The after taste is long, rich and asks for more. Overall, it is a delightful cuvée, one that impresses by its uniqueness. While drinking it, you almost feel like you are becoming an integral part, stepping into a fairy tale land. It has an amazing price-quality relationship, so if you find it, do not hesitate any second!

CLB score

94

*take a look at our CLB scoring

Type of champagneExtra Brut
Vintage2004
Grapes75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay
MaisonFleury
Village/terroirCourteron (Côte des Bars)
Degorgement2014
Aged10 ans prise de mousse sous liège avec agrafe (kept 10 years on lees with natural cork)
Dosage4g/L
Sizebottle (75cl)
Number of bottlesN/A
Price range (euro)60-80
Chef de Caves Jean-Sebastian Fleury
Other considerentsmalolactic fermentation, biodynamic, vieilles vignes (20 years old vines)

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