It was wasn’t until 1974 that José Dhondt, a longtime grower, produced his first cuvée. José makes three wines, a NV Rosé, a NV Blanc de Blancs and another he calls “Mes Vieille Vignes,” which, while always made from grapes of a single year, is only vintage dated when José decides it’s been an especially good year in the vineyard.
The Dhondt family’s 6 hectares are split over several parcels, equally divided between the Côte des Blancs and the Sézannes regions. The vines average 25 years of age. Dhondt avoids chemicals as much as possible, practicing what the French call “culture raisonnée.”
José does severe debudding, to keep his production low and the concentration high. Meticulous sorting is important to the family to ensure only the best grapes are used. The Dhondt family uses a traditional vertical wood press, which permits very slow and fine pressing. They do only one “retrousse” (breaking up of the cake press between cycles) on the first pressing to keep as much freshness as possible and to avoid any oxidation. They are equipped with small stainless steel temperature-controlled tanks. Fermentation takes roughly three weeks. Vinification is done in small tanks allowing the origin of each vineyard to be kept separate. The family and their oenologist are present for the blending to ensure consistency from year to year and when they decide whether they will declare a vintage.
93 - Wine Spectator
Producer José Dhondt
Category Wine - Sparkling - White
Region Champagne, France
Subregion Côte des Blancs
Alcohol by volume 12.5%
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