From the moment I entered the elegant house until I left (four hours later), I felt like an honoured guest and was treated as such. My time at Champagne Deutz has come to symbolize the beauty that is the Champagne region and a house whose champagne I will be forever linked too through my memorable visit.
Founded in 1838 and located in the Grand Cru village of Aÿ, my private tour at Champagne Deutz was hosted by Jean-Marc Lallier-Deutz, Director of Public Relations. We spent time in one of the beautifully appointed salon rooms talking about the history of the champagne house and its’ founders William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann. We spoke about how important Champagne Deutz’s relationship is with their growers – there are 30 families that supply the house with 70% of what Deutz requires and no vineyard is more than 30 KM away from the winery so that freshness is never compromised.
Champagne Deutz were one of founding members of the former Syndicat des Grandes Marques which was an inter-professional group of champagne houses that laid out rules and regulations for the champagne industry to follow. The hope was that these guidelines would promote excellence within the region and raise the reputation of champagne world-wide.
Lallier-Deutz led me through the well-manicured garden into the original winery space where they have on display original sales sheets from early international champagne orders. I noticed invoices from the UK, Spain, Germany, the U. S. and Canada – to name a few. Then we moved into the gleaming stainless steel winery – everything looked flawless. Every champagne produced at Champagne Deutz goes through malolactic fermentation and only the cuvée is used. Lallier-Deutz explained, “Stainless steel is the only vessel we use for storage. We have a large quantity of reserve wines in stock but only young reserve wines of no more than two years old are used. Freshness is key.”
After descending down a very long spiral staircase which led to the cellars, we walked along the darkened corridors where I saw their ‘Berceau’ caves filled with resting bottles. It was when we headed back to the house that I witnessed the elegance of Champagne Deutz – along the final corridor which led to the stair way up – white tapered candles were lit, lighting the way. The gentle flicker of the flames in the cellar air cast shadows against the walls and I saw that the entire stairwell was aglow with candlelight welcoming me out of the cellars and history of the past into the house and present day. It was elegant, thoughtful and romantic – a souvenir I will never forget.
We went for a pre-lunch tasting in the Salon aux Oiseaux – a Chinese-inspired room designed and created by William Deutz’s daughter, Marie. My tasting was followed by lunch beautifully presented and prepared by Chef Lefèvre.
Tasting Notes Champagne Deutz:
Champagne Deutz Classic Brut NV – this champagne makes up 80% of the house production and is a classic blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It is a very approachable house blend that is nicely finessed with white floral notes and a dusting of almond skin. A fantastic introduction to Champagne Deutz and a well-crafted example of how quality and freshness is the houses’ mandate.
Champagne Deutz ‘Hommage à William Deutz’ Parcelles d’Aÿ Brut 2010 – crafted from two parcels (Côte Glacière and Meurtet) that lay adjacent to Champagne Deutz and have been in the family for six generations. This 100% Pinot Noir champagne celebrates the rooting of Champagne Deutz and its’ first release is the 2010 vintage. Production is small with only 6,000 bottles produced. This is a powerful, yet elegant champagne with fantastic body, length and finish. I enjoyed the structure of this Pinot Noir champagne and feel that will only become better in time. Delicious.
Champagne Deutz ‘Amour de Deutz’ Brut 2009 – an exceptional Blanc de Blancs mostly sourced from the Grand Cru villages of Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger. Succulent and feminine with flavours of fresh apple tart blended with jasmine and apple blossom. I loved the complexity and salinity of this champagne that so perfectly paired with the scallop carpaccio with black truffle served at lunch – an incredible champagne for the Chardonnay lover.
Champagne Deutz ‘William Deutz’ Brut 2007 – here is a Pinot Noir dominant champagne making up 65% of the blend alongside 30% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier sourced from neighbouring villages of Pierry and Moussy. The aroma of this champagne is intoxicating, bursting with ripe cherry, fresh raspberry and fine, white chocolate shavings. This champagne has seen 10 years on its lees before being released. It is a powerful and seductive champagne.
Champagne Deutz Demi Sec 2013 – this soft, harmonious champagne paired beautifully with the pear panna cotta dessert it was served with. Champagne Deutz’s ‘Demi Sec’ absolutely captivated me – I am not usually one to reach for a ‘Demi Sec’ champagne, but this example really shines. With 35 grams of sugar/litre, the flavour profile is entirely well-balanced and nothing short of delicious.
Lallier-Deutz said they were very pleased to host me as their first guest of 2019. I can only say that Champagne Deutz treated me like an honoured guest from the moment I arrived until it was time to leave. Champagne Deutz produces world-class champagne under the expertise and precision of Michel Davesne, Chef de Cave, and his winemaking team.
I am grateful to have had such a pleasurable experience during my visit with Champagne Deutz – learning about their history, tasting their delicious champagnes and spending time in a house that I will never forget.