Champagne Famille Moussé
"At their best, the Moussé Champagnes are defined by dynamic energy and delineation.” -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
This Article Contains
A Pinot Meunier master, who capitalizes on their unique terroir. Lively, intense and characterful and some of our favorites from the region.
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Vallée de la Marne
- Cuisles, home base
- 90% of the soils are composed of green clays over limestone marls
- Les Varosses, in Cuisles,planted to Chardonnay and makes up his single-vineyard Anecdote
- Les Fortes Terres, in Cuisles, a lieu-dit that makes up the Special Club by the same name
- Les Bouts de la Ville, in Cuisles, a south facing plot that makes up the Special Club Rosé de Saignèe
- 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
- Rain in summer, snow in winter
- Very wet climate, although drought has been an issue in recent vintages because of climate change
- 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.
- Variations between his sites are due to aspect, elevation and proximity to water, like the Marne river.
- 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.
- Pinot Meunier, 80%
- Supple and fruity, often easier to drink younger than the other two, which makes it a great blending partner.
- Had a poor reputation until the last decade as it was planted in the worst sites, poorly farmed, and over-cropped as a work-horse, or filler grape.
- Now we know when treated with care, it can shine brilliantly on its own or add an inimitable character to a blend (notably in Krug).
- Easier to grow than the other two. It buds later than Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, meaning it's a great insurance policy against the late frosts that can decimate the groups of Champagne.
- Its dynamic nature also means it can find a home in any of the soil types of the region, but furthermore, can express terroir with clarity.
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- Pinot Noir, 16%
- 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
- Chardonnay, 4%
- 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
Sustainable with Organic and Biodynamic practices
- Jean-Marc, Cedric’s father was the first in the village to allow grass to grow between the vines, starting in 1976
- Stopped use of synthetic pesticides in 2014
- Started phasing out herbicide spray in 2008, stopped in 2013
- The steepest plots are plowed by horse
- Cedric has a deep commitment to ultra-responsible production and sustainability. Working towards zero carbon emissions
- Homemade compost is used, and wet with recycled water
- Lots of experimentation in the vineyards
- Wood diseases treated with essential oils
Cellar Work |
- In 2009, Jean-Marc and Cedric rebuilt their cellar to be eco-friendly
- A big focus on experimentation in all facets of winemaking
- Fermentation with organic yeasts
- All wines go through malolactic fermentation
- Vin Clair stays on the lees in tank until the spring
- In 2017 they make some big changes, remove the “masks” and allow the fruit to show its true characteristics.
- No sugar at disgorgement
- No additives during winemaking
- Stop the use of petroleum sulfur
- No new oak
- Limit oxidation by designing a new process for harvest and pressing
- Believes in raising the vibrancy levels of the wines
- Green ice, from corn alcohol is a new system used to chill the lees before disgorgement
- New labels are made with recycled paper, whitened with chalk
- Capsules made of recyclable paper, 5 x less carbon than aluminum
- Solar panels for water heating
- Cellar temperature is controlled by geothermal exchanger
About the winery |
Pinot Meunier has always played "third fiddle" to Champagne's power couple, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Growers always liked having it around because it buds later than PN and Chard, which means it's less likely to be damaged by the late frosts that can hit Champagne so far north--especially in the Marne Valley. For growers it meant diversification.
For drinkers, on the other hand, it was an unglamorous variety that often came across as rustic or rough-edged. But that perception has been changing. Culty producers like Jerome Prevost and Raphael Bérèche make highly sought-after Meunier-based wines. And even below the superstar level there's a whole generation of small growers who have started putting out really delicious Meunier-focused champagnes that don't break the bank.
The Moussé’s are a classic example. Starting with Eugene Moussé and the first bottling of a special clone of Pinot Meunier on illite in 1923. His son Edmond took over in 1947 after WWII and was known for his joie de vivre, living life to the fullest after the devastation of the war.
Jean-Marc inherited his father’s energy and was the mayor of Cuiseles for 25 years, until an accident led to his early death in 2013. He was also one of the first people in Champagne to reintroduce grass between the vines, and rethink the entire process from vineyard to bottle in a more quality and ecologically minded way.
Cedric Moussé returned to the family estate in 2000, took over the family estate in 2003, and worked by his father's side until his passing. He was the 12th generation to grow grapes and the 4th to bottle them into his own wine. Like his forefathers he’s implemented ever more changes towards making wines of purity. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk, with a single-minded focus on holistic sustainable practices.
Although consistency has been an issue during many years of experimentation, they have paid off and are now some of our very favorite wines in Champagne.
Members of Les Club Tresors (The Special Club). They were the first there to release a 100% Pinot Meunier bottling and a Rosé de Saignée, both of which are now two of the most anticipated wines of every vintage.
What do the wines taste like?
Precise, savory, and bright-fruited, with no oak influence. They show Meunier's pretty side: purity of red fruit, white flowers, subtle herbal tones, as well as more exotic citrus fruit and tropical tones. But more so they show its terroir transparency, with clear saline mineral signatures.
Wines on Offer |
Famille Moussé, Champagne Eugène Extra Brut, NV $59.99 $52.79
Famille Moussé, Champagne Eugène Extra Brut, NV (1.5L) $159.99 $140.79
"Floral on the nose and fine and satiny on the palate, this well-integrated Champagne shows notes of peach puree and ripe green apple, a subtle streak of salinity and accents of ground ginger and cherry blossoms. Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Disgorged November 2021. Drink now. 350 cases imported. 92 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Famille Moussé, Champagne L'Esquisse Extra Brut, NV $59.99 $52.79
Famille Moussé, Champagne Anecdote Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, NV $71.99 $63.35
"The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Anecdote Lieu Dit Les Varosses emerges from a parcel in Cuisles. Lemon confit, orchard fruit and floral nuances are now nicely mellowed by the passage of time in this disgorgement from a few years ago. This release marries the energy of the Moussé house style with the softer contours that can only develop in bottle. Dosage is 5 grams per liter. Disgorged: February 25, 2016. 91 pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Famille Moussé, Champagne Eugène Rosé Extra Brut, NV $77.99 $68.63
"An expressive rosé Champagne, with hints of violet, tea rose and spice wafting through flavors of macerated raspberry, chopped almond, oyster shell and saline set on a chalky mousse. Mouthwatering finish. Pinot Meunier with Pinot Noir. Disgorged June 2021. Drink now. 92 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Famille Moussé, Champagne Anecdote Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, 2019 $82.99 $73.03
"Firm and fresh, with creaminess to the persistent bead as it carries flavors of crushed almond, pear tart, Meyer lemon peel, anise and white blossoms. Chalky in texture on the minerally finish. Disgorged January 2023. Drink now through 2030. 40 cases imported. 92 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Famille Moussé, Champagne Les Vignes de Mon Village - et de Celui d'à Côté Brut Nature, NV $84.99 $74.79
Famille Moussé, Champagne Les Vignes de Mon Village Brut Nature, NV $84.99 $74.79
Famille Moussé, Champagne Les Vignes de Mon Village Brut Nature, NV (1.5L) $160.00 $140.80
Famille Moussé, Champagne Les Vignes de Mon Village Brut, NV (3L) $540.00 $475.20
"The NV Brut Nature Les Vignes de Mon Village is all Meunier, vintages 2017 and 2016, bottled with no dosage. Light and airy in feel, the Vignes de Mon Village is delicate and very nicely lifted. Hints of dried pear, spice, ginger, crushed flowers and chamomile all grace this gracious Champagne from Mousse. Disgorged: April 21, 2022. 92 pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Famille Moussé, Champagne Eugène Longue Garde Brut Nature, NV $89.99 $79.19
Famille Moussé, Champagne Terre d'Illite Extra Brut, 2019 $94.99 $83.59
Famille Moussé, Champagne Hommage à Cuisles Extra Brut, NV $123.99 $109.11
"A fresh Champagne, with savory notes of toasted almond and smoke meeting blackberry and orange pith accents on a soft, cottony palate. Disgorged December 2022. Drink now. 167 cases imported. 90 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Famille Moussé, Champagne La Confiance de Mon Père Rosé de Saignée Extra Brut, 2019 $160.00 $140.80
Famille Moussé, Champagne Spécial Club Rosé de Saignée Brut, 2018 $164.99 $145.19
Famille Moussé, Champagne Les Fortes Terres Extra Brut, 2016 (1.5L) $250.00 $220.00
"The 2016 Meunier Les Fortes Terres is lifted, beautifully perfumed and so expressive. Apricot, dried flowers, chamomile and lightly roasted nuts are all enhanced in this airy, understated expression. This is very typical of the year. Dosage is 1.5 grams per liter. Disgorged: March 15, 2021. 92 pts" -- By Antonio Galloni