For the Champagne Day this year, we are presenting you a great champagne house and a fantastic cuvée. We already wrote about small champagne houses managed by visionary people and their passion for both innovation and respect for terroir so it felt like a duty to write an article about another noble representative of this category: Champagne De Sousa. Located in Avize (Côte des Blancs), De Sousa is a successful example of mixing love for wine and biodynamic methods in Champagne. We will talk more about their wine producing philosophy later, now let’s focus on the genesis of this champagne house. First of all, you can be confused about its Portuguese name. Well, the story begins with Manuel de Sousa, a Portuguese soldier from Braga, that fought as ‘poilu’ (informal term for the French infantryman in the First World War) and then established with his family in Avize, where, unfortunately, he died in 1929 due to late effects of war gas poisoning at the hell battle in Verdun. The history of the champagne house starts in 1950 when Antoine de Sousa, Manuel’s son, married Zoémie Bonville, from a family of winegrowers established in Avize for several generations. Since 1986 the house is controlled by Erick de Sousa, Antoine and Zoémie’s son.
With 70% of their 11 hectares (split in 42 parcels) classified as vieilles vignes and pivot vine roots that reach up to 10-12 meters into the ground, it’s not a surprise the terroir is very present in all their cuvées. In terms of vinification, Erick bets on 18ºC for the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation (15-20 days) and the least invasive possible kieselguhr filtering (diatomaceous earth) resulting in a very elegant, complex and versatile champagne – their cuvées are listed on the menus of many of the best Michelin star restaurants in the world like L’Assiette Champenoise (Reims), Paul Bocuse (Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or), Troisgros (Ouches), Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse (Monaco), Les Crayères (Reims), Kei (Paris), La Pyramide (Vienne), Tartarin (Le Havre), Racine (Reims), Le Millénaire (Reims), Val D’Auge (Bondues).
We tasted the very limited Mycorhize cuvée (only around 1200 bottles issued) and we were delighted with its complexity, authenticity, power and, at the same time, finesse. Massive minerality, floral notes and oak on the nose, beautiful soft texture like velvet with hints of peach, white flowers, honey and a hidden salinity in the mouth. The aftertaste is very long, hypnotizing. One solid candidate for the top of the best quality/price champagnes.
Happy Champagne Day! Santé!
*take a look at our CLB scoring
|Type of champagne||Extra Brut|
|Vintage||NV (base wine 2015)|
|Village/terroir||Les Hauts Nemery Grand Cru d’Avize (lieux-dit)|
|Number of bottles||1212|
|Price range (euro)||60-70|
|Chef de Caves||Erick de Sousa|
25% reserve wines, 100% vinified in oak barrels, biodynamic and horse plowing, vines older than 60 years