Champagne Grande Sendrée – Drappier
Grande Sendrée 55 % Pinot Noir, 45 % Chardonnay
Grande Sendrée 2008 in a nutshell…
Sourced from a single location Elegance “Crayot” soil
Very low sulphur content
Liqueur de dosage aged in wood
The Grande Sendrée takes its name from a parcel of land covered in cinders (cendrée) after the fire which ravaged Urville in 1838. A spelling error having crept into a new version of the land register, today Sendrée is written with “s”, not “c”. On very light soils made up of “crayot”, the Chardonnay displays a very fine elegance while the Pinot Noir, with its slight predominance, brings power and great vinosity.
Vinification of the Grande Sendrée Drappier
Only the juices from first pressing – the cuvées – are used mechanical low-pressure presses use of gravity to avoid pumping, thus avoiding oxidisation minimal use of sulphur, less than 30 mg/l
Alcoholic fermentation for roughly 2 weeks at low temperature
Then total and natural malolactic fermentation
Assemblage – 35% of the wines are matured in oak barrels for 9 months
The cuvée is aged for 7 years sur lattes (on laths).
Dosage: 5 g/l
This champagne presents itself in a ravishing pale yellow robe with topaz nuances.
Time has used its patina to reveal the wine’s complexity. Hawthorn blends with acacia honey, beeswax and marzipan. When it is aerated, the wine resumes its murmurings, quince jelly meets raspberry jam and alternates with bergamot and warm brioche. On the palate it is invigorating, imposing and it teases the taste buds. The bead caresses and balances wild strawberry jam with ripe blood orange. This harmony is extended in a delicate minerality and a lovely bitterness in which hints of mandarin orange come through.
Ideal as an aperitif. Goes perfectly with bouillon of crayfish and grapefruit, poached turbot with sauce hollandaise, scallop carpaccio, rack of lamb with foie gras, creamed Bresse fowl with truffles, mountain comté at least 18 months old.
Serve at 7°C.
The vine, at the heart of the Drappier identity
Today, the family vineyard spans over 62 hectares, without including those under contractual arrangements with other growers.
The Drappier vineyard, mainly located in the village of Urville, maintains the strong identity of the Bar-sur-Aube arrondissement, characterised by the influence of Pinot Noir. This grape prevails here, representing 70% of the estate, supplemented by Pinot Meunier at 15%, Chardonnay at 9%, and old grape varieties at 6%.
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Proximity to the vines is necessary to keep a close eye on how they evolve and interact with their environment. Because the vineyards are all local, the family has stepped up its sustainable approach to viticulture, and become certified as “organic”.
The Urville terroir
Since 1808, our heart and soul have been in Urville. The soil, containing a high percentage of Kimmeridgian age (late Jurassic) limestone, identical to that found in Chablis Grand Cru vineyards, is where our vineyard welcomed the Pinot Noir, a grape variety that now “runs in our veins”.
Planted over 2,000 years ago by the Gallo-Romans, then watched over by the benevolent eye of Saint Bernard – founder of the Clairvaux Abbey – the vineyard now descends into the surrounding hillsides.
Sustainable and organic viticulture methods
We use no herbicides or insecticides on the estate, we work on our soil manually, with horses or machines, and we are gradually transitioning to electric tractors, instead of fuel-powered vehicles. We allow grass to grow in a controlled manner between the vines, which encourages biodiversity and ensures that a natural balance is maintained throughout the vineyard.
We also work on agricultural land with animals (horses), allowing us to work as close as possible to the vines, reduce our carbon footprint, and avoid soil erosion.
We apply these methods across 27 hectares of land, which are now cultivated sustainably and certified organic by Ecocert. With our grapes, we can produce wines such as Clarevallis, Quattuor, Grande Sendrée, and Grande Sendrée Rosé.
A new life for old grape varieties
Over 20 years ago, Michel Drappier imagined replanting grape varieties from times gone by, which are now part of our vineyard in Urville. Much research and learning was required to nurture these vines, which eventually produced the vintage Quattuor in 2007, and the Trop m’en Faut (100% Fromenteau) in 2019.
These rare grape varieties are part of the genetic heritage that the Champagne region acquired nearly 2,000 years ago. Preserving them seemed the rightful continuation of our work as winegrowers, spanning eight generations. The four heirloom grape varieties – Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Blanc Vrai and Fromenteau – now stretch over 3.5 hectares of land, and are cultivated sustainably and certified organic.