A while ago I visited Champagne on the hunt for some new discoveries to bring back to the UK. It was an enjoyable trip packed with pit stops to the many small Champagne Houses that are unheard of over here. It was also a very successful one and I made many new contacts and friends. Discovering a good champagne takes time and effort on the part of the wine merchant and Champagne Morel Pere et Fils has proved to be well worth my searching! Champagne Morel Pere et Fils Brut Reserve hails from Les Riceys in the heart of the La Côte des Bars.
It’s made by Pascal Morel who is the 5th generation of his family at the helm of his Champagne House, having taken over from his father in 1975. Pascal has a great passion for his work and respect for tradition but has also managed to adapt to the times without losing the taste and knowledge handed down by his forebears. Pascal built a new winery in 2005 and is an expert blender, holding seminars for students and wine lovers alike.
The Champagne House is an 18th century mansion (next to the church) that backs on to the River Laigne. The vault dates back to the 1600s and contains the reserve Champagnes – cuvées from his grandfather’s times and beyond. The vineyards lie over 18 acres on the chalky limestone slopes of the Laigne valley – 15.5 acres are planted with Pinot Noir and 2.5 acres are planted with Chardonnay.
Champagne Morel et Fils has long been known for the rare Rosé des Riceys produced in this area alone. The three communes that make up Les Riceys — Ricey-Haut, Ricey-Haut-Rive and Ricey-Bas — are unusual in that this is the only place in France where wine may be produced under three different appellations, Champagne and two still wines: Rosé des Riceys and the red wine Coteaux Champenois. Rosé des Riceys is quite hard to find and is produced only in the very best of years, from Pinot Noir grown on the steepest slopes with the best aspect and exposure. The rosé has aromas of ripe strawberries, raspberries, crystallized cherries, spice, hazelnuts and violets.
Rosé des Riceys is said to have been a favourite of King Louis XIV who was introduced to it by stone masons from the region when they were building the ponds at Versailles and the Marly Aqueduct that supplied the gardens with water, When the King came to enquire on the progress of the work the stone masons offered him a glass of the Rosé and the King was smitten. The archives at the Palace of Versailles have records of the Rosé dating to this time.
Both Pascal’s Rosé des Riceys and Champagnes are award winning, being cited in the French Guides Hachette des Vins, Dussert Gerber and GaultMillau Les Meillurs Vins de France. The Morel Brut Reserve is a fantastic champagne, winning the Gold medal Médaille d’or Paris 2009. Made from a blend of 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay this is a very well balanced Champagne, full of finesse.
This is an aromatic champagne with notes of dried apricot, white flowers, toasted brioche and delicate hints of red berries, citrus and spice. The bubbles are fine, soft and long lasting and the Morel Brut Reserve combines richness with elegance. What’s more this champagne pairs extremely well with food.
It’s a super discovery and I highly recommend that you try it for yourself!