Champagne (Riceys-Bas), France
Year after year Oliver Horiot crafts some of the most texturally beautiful and elegantly mineral Pinot Noir-based wines in Champagne. Located in the tiny village of Les Riceys in the Cotes des Bar, over an hour to the south of the ‘central’ part of Champagne, Horiot grows Pinot Noir on soils more akin to Chablis and Burgundy than to the rest of Champagne. Fermented in barrel, the resultant wines are incredibly vinous, with layers of rich red fruit, balanced by sleek acid and framed by tense saline minerality.
Olivier took over the estate from his father Serge in 1999 and immediately started by reducing yields and using organic and some biodynamic practices. He also focussed on individual plots to make terroir wines. With history firmly in mind, Olivier began with what was to become his signature wine, the still Rosé des Riceys, a rare and incredibly vinous expression of Pinot Noir rosé, said to be the favourite drink of King Louis XIV. Today it is made only by a handful of producers. And in Olivier’s talented hands it is a rich, textured wine that can age for years. Aged for three years before release, they are slightly tannic and intensely fruity, with aromas of wild strawberries, cooked cherries, violets, hazelnut & liquorice, these are roses like no other. A true blend of power and elegance, the wines have complexity, structure and longevity. In every vintage, Horiot’s Rosés des Riceys sets the standard, attaining levels of depth and precision seldom found elsewhere.
Though he began by making still wines, Olivier also produces a series of spectacular Champagnes. Made in tiny quantities, we are ecstatic to be able to offer three of them here. The first is a Blanc de Noir (100% Pinot Noir) from the en Barmont vineyard named Sève, from very old vines planted on clay and marl soils. Powerful and textured it displays layers of ripe fruit, cardamom and some sweet liquorice. Superb now, this wine is at its best after several years of bottle age. Olivier also producers miniscule amounts of the Rosé de Saignee version of Sève. Dark in colour, it sees four days of semi-carbonic maceration (like in Beaujolais) to add richness, complexity and fruity presence. Last is Métisse, a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Blanc. A blend of plots, this is a rich Champagne with acacia honey, stewed white and yellow fruit and toasted hazelnut, with a long mineral finish.
Olivier Horiot makes some of the most exciting terroir-driven wines in Champagne today. They are ample, rich and textured, while still maintaining finesse and lingering minerality. Because of the low yields, they are incredibly rare and allocated, so do not miss out on these beautiful and unique terroir wines!