Extra Brut. As you probably know, Jérôme Prévost doesn’t make vintage labelled Champagnes, but his wines are always of a single vintage and he puts a code on the bottle to indicate the year of harvest. This “LC” number (Lot Consigné), printed on the base of the label indicates the vintage. This bottling is LC16, so 2016.
Prévost’s 2.2 hectare vineyard, Les Béguines, is in Gueux, 10km west of Reims in the north of the region. Inherited from Jérôme’s grandmother, the site was planted in the 1960s with an old, slow growing, rootstock that descends deeply. Les Béguines is close to 100% Pinot Meunier, although there is a small amount of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc, that was planted about a decade ago. The soil of Les Béguines is a layer cake of calcareous sand (Thanetian sand), and clay. The vineyard management is of course organic, with the soils cultivated and yields kept at balanced levels. Nothing is forced. The fruit is picked ripe and the wine is vinified without any additions in large format, used barrels for ten months. Bottled unfiltered, Prévost disgorges the wine after roughly 17 months on lees and adds approximately 2g/L dosage, (so extra brut). These are wines that always show better after time in bottle, five + years is ideal, but even a year or two makes a great difference. Frustrating but true. That’s not to say these wines won’t give pleasure when young and the striking 2016 is a case in point!