Champagne A. Margaine
“...an absolutely fabulous set of wines from Arnaud Margaine. More than anything else, what I admire most about these wines is a level of textural purity and finesse in the mousse that places them in the top tier of Champagne, whether grower or grande marque.” -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
“The wines are long on character and personality.” -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
This Article Contains
- Arnaud Margaine
- Karine Margaine
Chardonnay-specialists in Pinot-land. These are beautiful, creamy, unique with plenty of finesse and approachability. For now and for cellaring.
(By Archimatth - File:Vignobles_France.svg, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37093378)
Montagne de Reims
- This was the northern edge of viticulture until recent decades
- 2nd most northern grape growing region in France, after Alsace, but much less sunshine and more rain.
- Harsh cold winters
- Short hot summers
- Very wet climate, although drought has been an issue in recent vintages because of climate change
- Rain in summer, snow in winter
- Viticulture is possible because of long, (hopefully) dry, temperate autumns to extend the growing season.
- Because ripeness was a struggle, grapes are usually grown for white wine, or in the last 150 years, sparkling wines.
- Cool climate red varieties Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier dominate, but the vast majority are destined for white or rosé sparkling wines.
- Wines are going to be high in acidity, light in body, low in alcohol, and often need extended aging of 18 months or more to temper the high acidity.
- Sugar is often added to wines at the end, called dosage, to help balance the high acidities from cold climate grapes.
- Chardonnay, 90%
- A special clone found here and nowhere else
- Average 35 years old
- Adds finesse and freshness
- Often a signature lemon meringue pie flavor profile.
- If handled reductively, can impart white flower, ginger, green apple, quince and other primary flavors
- Oxidative or aged examples can be full of brioche, kernel, honey and truffle
- Does best in east facing sites with little to no top soil on chalk and other limestones
- Pinot Noir, 10%
- From small plot in Verzy
- Critical for structure and body, more powerful than the other two grapes
- Fruit profile can include red apple, strawberry, apricot, and peach
- Savory notes of spices, stones, rose petal and violet
- Almost always the grape used for rosé Champagne
- Shows best in on south facing sites with clay over chalk
- Self described as pragmatic
- 90% of vineyards are farmed without herbicides
- Mainly copper and sulfur applied
- Will intervene with synthetic sprays when weather conditions require it.
- Soil and grass work have been reintroduced to reinvigorate and enliven the soil
- Always experimenting with new methods
- Less and less malolactic fermentation is employed. Not just because of the lowering of malic acidity, but because the fruit doesn’t remain as fresh.
- They keep extensive stocks of reserve wines, rare for a grower, which allows them to make more complex blends.
- NV is often up to 50% reserve wine.
- Some wine is fermented in oak barrels.
Established in the 1920’s.
Members of the Club Trésors de Champagne or “Special Club” since 1976. They were the first winegrowers association advocating a very qualitative approach to viticulture . It is above all the reflection of a human adventure…
4th generation wine growers, currently being run by Arnaud and his daughter Karine. Arnaud’s generation was dedicated to raising the quality of the wines and the influence of his daughter has raised the quality of the winegrowing. Together they make a formidable pair.
One of the best things about the Margaine’s is their ability to constantly look at their work, tweak it, and make it better. No recipe is followed with the dictates of each vintage being followed and changes implemented when necessary. No other wine has benefited from this approach so much as their rosé, now of the very best in Champagne.
Creamy and textural, easy to drink, delightful. The reserve wine sees the benefit of up to 50% reserve wine, going back 7 or 8 years and a mix of fermentation vessels. The L’Extra Brut is not just a lower dosage of the Le Brut, but another blend entirely and ages for a whopping 6 years to allow those harsh edges time to round out and give extra depth.
The vintage Blanc de Blanc wine is always one of the better values in the region as these wines have not garnered the attention of the cognoscenti while always being a sure bet. It ages for up to 10 years and in top vintages is always a favorite. Their Special Club bottling is from the oldest and best plots for a rarified bottle of finesse.
Their rosé as mentioned above is another absolute winner. Textural, without being tanninc, flavorful, without being fruity, but demonstrating the power of Pinot Noir when blended masterfully with their excellent Chardonnay.
Their Demi-sec and Ratafia are treasures of Champagne from a forgotten time. The family is committed to carrying on traditions even if popularity of certain styles has waned.
A Margaine, Champagne Cuvée Le Brut, NV $56.99 $50.15
A Margaine, Champagne Cuvée Le Brut, NV (375ml) $35.99 $31.67
A Margaine, Champagne Cuvée Le Brut, NV (1.5L) $139.99 $123.19
"The first wine in the range from A. Margaine, the NV Champagne Cuvee Le Brut is 88% Chardonnay and the remainder Pinot Noir, with 55% from the 2019 vintage. A supple wine with a delicate perfume of white flowers, pastry dough, almond, and green apple, the palate is medium-bodied and clean, with pure pear fruit, lime candy, and a lifted finish. A lovely and refreshing aperitif style that is enjoyable now, it is also a great value. Drink 2022-2030. 90pts" -- Jed Dunnuck
A Margaine, Champagne Cuvée Le Demi-Sec, NV $56.99 $50.15
A Margaine, Champagne Cuvée Le Demi-Sec, NV (375ml) $35.99 $31.67
"The NV Cuvee Le Demi-Sec is absolutely gorgeous, as it so often is. Lemon drop, white flowers and baked apple tart are nicely amplified by the 18 grams of residual sugar. Demi-Sec is a bit of a lost art these days; few do it better than Margaine. This release is 88% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Noir, based on 2019, with reserve wines from 2018, 2017, 2014 and 2013. Dosage is 32 grams per liter. Disgorged: January, 2022." -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
A Margaine, Champagne Rosé Brut, NV $64.99 $57.19
A Margaine, Champagne Rosé Brut, NV (375ml) $49.99 $43.99
"The NV Brut Le Rosé is delicious. Creamy and nicely layered, the Rosé offers notable depth while remaining very much in the Margaine style. Crushed red berry fruit, blood orange, mint, white pepper and chalk lend notable vibrancy throughout, while bright acids perk up the finish. The blend is 67% Chardonnay and 33% Pinot Noir (including 10% still wine). Dosage is 9 grams per liter. Disgorged: March, 2022. 90pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
A Margaine, Champagne Extra Brut, NV $67.99 $59.83
"The NV Extra Brut is another pretty, gracious wine in the Margaine range. Crushed rocks, lemon peel and white flowers are all nicely delineated in this vibrant, light to medium-bodied Champagne. A touch of oak influence comes through in the wine's volume, but blocked malolactic fermentation keeps things bright. Drink this over the next few years. Dosage is 3-5 grams per liter. Disgorged: January, 2022. 89pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
A Margaine, Champagne Cuvée le Caractère M, NV $86.99 $76.55
"Disgorged in May 2019 with 4.5 grams per liter dosage, the NV Extra-Brut Cuvée M Le Caractère is based on the 2013 vintage and drawn from a solera started in 2002. Offering up delicate aromas of white flowers, walnuts, crisp green apple, fenugreek and nougat, it's medium to full-bodied, pillowy and incisive, with a delicate mousse and a sapid finish. 93pts" -- William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
A Margaine, Champagne Rosé de Saignée Brut, 2014 $86.99 $76.55
A Margaine, Champagne Spécial Club Brut, 2015 $114.99 $101.19
A Margaine, Champagne Spécial Club Brut, 2014 $114.99 $101.19
"The 2014 Brut Special Club is a powerful, dense wine. It offers plenty of the signature Margaine energy, but with a touch more mid-palate presence than most of the wines in this range, the result of 66 months on the lees. It's a style that is quite appealing. Drier pear, lemon confit, spice, mint and crushed rocks are some of the many notes that build in the glass. This is a terrific showing. Dosage is 8 grams per liter. Disgorged: March, 2022. 94pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
A Margaine, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, 2014 (1.5L) $190.00 $167.20
A Margaine, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, 2013 (1.5L) $190.00 $167.20
"The 2013 Brut Blanc de Blancs, tasted from magnum, is airy, bright and wonderfully vibrant. It will appeal most to readers who enjoy taut, focused Champagnes. Crushed rocks, mint, white pepper and bright saline notes lead into the sculpted finish. The Blanc de Blancs is attractive, but it is also on the lighter side for the year. Dosage is 8 grams per liter. Disgorged: January, 2022. 91pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media