Artéis & Co. produces their Champagne in collaboration with a grower named Jean Diot. Artéis is unique because they work directly with Jean Diot and because they do their own disgorgement. That is, they determine the ultimate dryness and the final flavors of their Champagne. I discovered Artéis through friends; I enjoyed it so much the first time I tried it that I knew I wanted to import it to Hong Kong for Yardbird, RONIN, and Sunday’s Grocery.During the annual grape harvest this past September, I visited Jean Diot in Vinay, Champagne with the owner of Artéis, Fabien Gay. While I was there, I was invited to participate in every step of the Champagne-making process, including: picking grapes, operating the pressing machine, monitoring fermentation, tasting various barrel samples, and (most importantly) participating in family meals with the grape pickers who came from all over France just to work with Jean Diot during this time. The work can be back breaking, but the pickers get to drink unlimited Champagne for the 6-8 week harvest period, so they don’t mind. After coming to understand (first hand) the fundamentals of Champagne production, I was fortunate enough to create two unique products specifically for Sunday’s Grocery.The first is a Blanc des Noirs consisting of 60% Pinot Noir 40% Pinot Meunier. This style of wine is not normally made by Artéis, so it was a direct collaboration between myself, Artéis, and Jean Diot. We lowered the amount of liqueur (the mixture of wine and sugar used when traditionally making Champagne) as well as the sulfites to make a brighter style of Champagne.The second is a reworking of the award winning 2002 Artéis & Co. Brut Champagne. I worked with Fabien Gay to create a wine that used a liqueur of 100% Chardonnay that had been aged for 3 months in ex burgundy barrels. This brings a rich, tart, green apple pie character to the wine that doesn’t exist in the current 2002 Brut.
Both wines are refreshing yet savory and are definitive reflections of what I like to drink. They also pair well with the food served at Yardbird, RONIN, and Sunday’s, and with only 300 bottles of each, they won’t be around for long.
Words by Elliot Faber