Relatively new on the scene, Jerome Prévost, and his estate called Champagne La Closerie, is part of a small but growing group of tiny producers making intense, vinous-styled Champagnes. Rather than follow the traditional Champagne model of blending grapes, vintages, and vineyards to produce a "standardized" product, Prevost (as well as some other of these "Champagne Renegades") produce single vineyard, single-vintage and single varietal wines. In his case, this means 100% Pinot Meunier all from his two hectare vineyard of Les Beguines in Gueux, and all from a single vintage which is disgorged once a year in the fall,
Jerome started on the path to winemaking after inheriting these two hectares of vines from his grandmother. She had previously rented out the vines for others to tend; in 1987, Jerome took over and began to sell his grapes directly to négociants. In the mid-1990's, he began working at Jacques Selosse. Soon thereafter, in 1998, with the help of his mentor, Anselme Selosse, he began producing tiny quantities of his own wine in Selosse's cellars in Avize. He continued to produce his wine there until 2001, when he built a cellar near his vineyard in Gueux.
Prevost was most certainly influenced by some of the unique techniques Anselme Selosse, though has certainly adopted them for his own vineyard and wines. Like Selosse, there is a fastidious attention to detail in the vineyard, with extremely low yields (about half the legal limit!) and no chemical additives used in his farming.
His vineyard, Les Beguines, is located about 10 km west of Reims. It was planted in the late 1950's, fortunately prior to the age of "super clones", so with original massale selection cuttings. He harvests all grapes by hand, and ferments with indigenous yeasts using a mix of used barriques and 600L demi-muids. The champagnes are disgorged about 18 months after bottling, and finished with no dosage so as to preserve the sanctity and purity of the wine underneath.
Grape(s): 100% Pinot Meunier
Vineyard(s): 100% Gueux (La Closerie les Béguines), 48 year old vines
Vinification: fermented sur lie in barrel; natural yeasts; low SO2; unfiltered; non-dosé