Head Sommelier at Tredwells
Gosset is Champagne’s oldest wine house, established over four centuries ago. I was part of the inaugural UK wine trade visit to their winery in Aÿ near Epernay.
To see first hand how Gosset makes their wines was really insightful. It started with a trip round the vineyards to inspect the crumbly chalky soils in which their vines grow. We managed to taste tank samples of the current vintage directly attached to the block of land we were standing on.
…tasting sublime with notable freshness and vibrancy.
Next was a tour of the winery itself and 2.5km of underground cellars. All cellars are amazing spaces – cool, calm environments detached seemingly from the outside world. The graffiti on the wall left by US Soldiers during the Second World War left you with little doubt as to the many stories this cellar could tell. This also gave us the chance to taste a string of vintage Champagne going back to ‘85. All tasting sublime with notable freshness and vibrancy.
Back into fresh air and a quick tour of the modern winery and bottling line gave us a chance to view stacked palettes of Gosset destined for the UK.
Gotta try it I guess! It was stunning Champagne, balanced and nuanced. The entire range had beautiful brioche notes with amazing freshness and energy. These are wines built to last. A true reflection of the average age of four years cellaring before general release. We were lucky enough to have dinner laid on for us at the winery and had Champagne matched to each course working through vintages of Celebris and Rose. Gosset Rose is particularly unique in its sparing use of Pinot to add just hints of colour and flavour – in the same way winemakers in Cote Rotie sparingly add Viognier to their Syrahs. In both cases it is complementary rather than dominant.
Fruit quality is paramount here and wine is made simply by looking at the quality of the fruit and adapting their production techniques accordingly. This ensures fruit remains front, right and centre to every glass of Gosset poured. Regulations in Champagne are as such that 1.5 kilos of fruit (equivalent to approx one whole vine) = one bottle of Champagne. Therefore you really do have to work with what you get.
…Champagne’s oldest house is at the cutting edge of modern winemaking…
On the morning of our departure, we were invited to a reception with Gosset President, Jean-Pierre Cointreau, for canapes and Champagne. He was very gracious and gave his insight into how Champagne needs to adapt to stay current in the future market. It is very clear though that history and providence will always be the cornerstones for modern day Champagne. But learning to incorporate new techniques and innovate are what keeps Gosset unique. Champagne’s oldest house then is at the cutting edge of modern winemaking firmly securing its place for the next four hundred years.