The Champagne house of Charles Mignon is an easy 10-minute walk from the Epernay train station. We were lucky enough to be shown around the facility by the Winemaker himself – Fabian Daviaux. Although the house is on the small side, they actually have another facility on the other side of Epernay, which helps them to produce their 600,000 bottles annually.
The hands-on-owner – Charles Mignon – shows through his wines his love for the grape we know as Pinot Noir. You will find that all their blends are heavy on the Pinot Noir; the grape that gives Champagne that needed structure and backbone.
On our tour, Fabian showed us not only their caves and the bottles at different stages of the remuage but also the fermentation tanks in the facility across the road. This spotlessly clean laboratory is where all the magic happens. Fabian produces all the base wines separately according to their variety and the parcel of grapes they come from – he then expertly blends the components together to make a collaboration of flavours that we will then taste in that final bottle of Charles Mignon Champagne.
We were lucky enough to try these separated base wines before they were blended – a completely new experience for both of us to try the 3-month old fermented juice of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meuiner. Definitely an acquired taste but if you look beneath the surface you can start to find notes of citrus, green apples and white flowers.
Of course after we had tasted the ‘audition’, we went on to taste the full monty in there elegantly yet cozy tasting room out the back. Here is what I thought;
1. Brut Grande Reserve 1er Cru (75% Pinot Noir, the rest made up of Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier)
Green apple pie on the nose and palate with notes of biscotti and lemon sauce drizzled over the lot. Lashings of streaming bubbles and a gorgeously long finish that leaves you wanting and wanting…
2. (60% Pinot Noir and 20% each of Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier)
Notes of pastry on the nose with fresh sweet fruits on the front palate ending with a rather tart lemon zest on the back palate. Matched with a nice lemon-seafood dish would make this Champas rock-n-roll.
It was a great hour well spent. If you are wanting a more one-on-one tasting rather than a large oversized touristy experience I would definitely suggest stopping off at Charles Mignon. They offer the following tours:
5 €/ person for the visit and tasting of our Champagne Grande Réserve 1er Cru
7 €/ person for the visit and tasting of our Champagne Grande Réserve 1er Cru and our Bordeaux Cru Cantemerle 2004
10 €/person for the visit and tasting of our Champagne Grande Réserve 1er Cru and our Champagne Comte de Marne, our prestige Champagne.
For further information, please check their website here.