Nathalie Falmet is one of few women in Champagne to hold the title of both vigneron and oenologist, and she fulfills both roles in her small family domaine in Rouvres-les-Vignes in the Côtes des Bar. After studying chemistry at Paris XI and earning diplomas in both viticulture and oenology, Nathalie inherited and began farming 50% of the vines planted by her parents, vines where she walked and worked alongside her father as early as eight years old. Her 3.2 hectares of vines are comprised of 2.4 hectares of Chardonnay, 0.6 hectares of Pinot Meunier and 0.5 hectares of Pinot Noir. The vineyards stretch from her village of Rouvres-les-Vignes to the neighboring village of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, the birthplace of famed French General Charles de Gaulle and the end of the line for vineyard plantings in the Aube. Nathalie manages every aspect of the craft from vine cultivation to sales and marketing. In addition to her own estate, Nathalie founded and runs a lab in Bar-sur-Aube where she serves as a consulting oenologist for 35 Champagne clients in the region. This enables her to better understand the terroirs of the region and to further tune her deft technical hand. She is the first to acknowledge that lessons learned in the lab are put to good use in her own vineyards and cellar.
Making Champagne combines Nathalie’s three passions: physics, chemistry and a taste for the finer things. Her unwavering connection to the land guides her work in the vineyards, while her strong scientific background dictates her decisions in the winery. She is committed to maintaining low yields and believes quality cannot be achieved without a devout dedication to working the soils. She picks for ripeness and vinifies her wines separately according to aromatic profiles. Constant tasting during vinification, sometimes up to three times per day, helps her understand the aromatic and flavor spectrum that her wines span over time. She seeks balance, power, delicacy and terroir definition in her wines. She is, in fact, a Chablis drinker after all! The relative warmth of the region supplies her wines with a natural breadth and depth, coupled with the racy, mineral undertones afforded by the kimmeridgian limestone bands found in the soils throughout the region.
In addition to highlighting distinct terroirs, Nathalie believes in Champagnes that reflect the vintage and thus, crafts exclusively single vintage cuvées. Her current offering includes a range of interesting and unique wines:
First, a Brut Nature cuvée made from Pinot Noir, disgorged two years after harvest. It is a wine that is simultaneously vinous and fruity, with a refined mousse and crisp, citrusy acids.
Second, a cuvée called Le Val Cornet Brut, from the monocru of Val Cornet which is planted with old, low-yielding Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines and vinified in a combination of tank and French barriques. It is layered, powerful and dominated by red fruit flavors and a slight honeyed note. There is promise of a long life in this bottling.
And lastly, there is the Saignée Rosé de Tentation made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes that are destemmed and macerated for around 48 hours. The resulting champagne is floral and quite vinous with bright red berry character and a structure that begs for a place at the table.
The future is bright for this exciting domaine. Nathalie welcomes her teenage daughter Claire to her side in both the vineyard and winery. You would be hard pressed to find more dynamism, moxie and elegance than found in this mother-daughter duo. With Nathalie at the helm and Claire following in her footsteps (literally!), the Falmet legacy is in very good hands. We are pleased to include this rising star in our Champagne portfolio and look forward to many years of fine, feminine Champagnes of character, power and finesse. less