Working With The Classics: Advice From Women In Champagne

1er Cru, Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Le Mesnil, Sur Oger, Vertus

Grower Champagne, such as this exceptional bottle, from Champagne André Jacquart, is often terroir-driven. Credit: Jill Barth

This has only happened to me once, but because this isn’t the first time I promise this is indeed not a habit. Winophiles publish day rolls around and I don’t have what I need to satisfy my planned post. This happened in 2016, when I didn’t get my Jura wines and actually ended up writing a post from France and still without any wine.

This time, it’s a bit different. I have my wines but couldn’t connect with my sources — two women working in the wine industry in Champagne — in order to tell their story. And I’ve promised, based on the title, to offer some advice direct from these professionals.

Turns out, they are both busy at work.

And I took a week off for the flu.

And, in the end, real life got to everyone involved. This sounds less than professional, but I suppose it offers some insight into the lives of people that make and sell wine as well as people who write about it. We work with a fluid product. Nature and time have a rightful place in our vocation. The stories from these women are forthcoming.

Instead of spinning my wheels, hunting down a story with hours to spare, I give you this: a previously published segment about a very impressive woman working in Champagne, Marie Doyard. Enjoy.


Marie Doyard leads Champagne André Jacquart. Photo Credit: Taub Family Selections

Champagne André Jacquart

André Jacquart came from a grower family that had sold their grapes for four generations. In the late 1950’s, Jacquart deviated from this tradition, crafting his own estate-bottled Champagne in Grand Cru-classified Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. In the intervening years, the operation progressed, moving to a new facility in Premier Cru-classified Vertus and eventually passed into the capable hands of the fifth generation, Jacquart’s grandchild, Marie Doyard.

Doyard’s pedigree comes from the Jacquart side as well as her paternal side — her grandfather Maurice Doyard was key to integration of the AOP. Even so, her career wasn’t in winemaking until she made the personal decision to take over for her parents when they retired in 2003.

Champagne André Jacquart, under the lead of Doyard, represents a modern-style of Champagne de Vigneron. This is Doyard’s influence — she wants her wines to fill a particular niche. This begins with her sustainability efforts in a culture raisonnée, an environment where vineyard protection products are used only when necessary.

Doyard also employs oak instinctively for complexity — an element that fell away from common practice in Champagne but can now be found in certain cellars — which is something her parents and grandparents didn’t do.

Doyard oversees a property of 24 hectares, a collective of plots from both sides of her family in Mesnil-Sur Oger and Vertus villages. Doyard and her team can choose parcel-by-parcel how to care for the vines and when to harvest. Being a vigneron allows Doyard the discretion of her know-how and senses at every level.

I tried André Jacquart Expérience Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru NV, a blend of 60% Vertus Premier Cru, which is vinified in stainless steel, and 40% Grand Cru Le Mesnil-sur-Oger vinified in older Burgundy oak barrels.

Doyard’s team does not allow malolactic fermentation. The wine spends a minimum of five years sur lie and has very low dosage. These are active choices, implemented by Doyard in an effort to produce a terroir-driven, gastronomic (rather than stylistic) Champagne.

The French Winophiles

This month our French Winophiles group is focused on women who work in the Champagne region of France. Please consider joining us for a chat at 10:00 am central on Saturday morning, March 16, 2019. The authors below will speak to their articles and we would love to have visitor comments.

Julia (our host this month) from Julia speaks on Women of Champagne Making Shift Happen”

Pinny from Chinese Food & Wine Pairings whips up Women Who Make Champagne AND Woman Who Helps Us Learn About Champagne #Winophiles #tastelikehappy”

Cynthia and Pierre from Traveling Wine Profs talk about Biodynamic Grower Champagne with Make-Your-Own Sushi Dinner

Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog writes on Overcoming the Odds Twice – The Women of Champagne Duval-Leroy

Gwendolyn from Wine Predator talks about the Wonderful Women of Champagne and Halibut 4 Ways for #Winophiles

Here on L’Occasion we talk about Working With the Classics: Advice from Women in Champagne

Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles asks the question, Where Are the Women in Champagne?

Camila from Culinary Adventures with Camila makes you hungry with Glazed Beet & Burrata Toasts + Alice Paillard

Coming up on The French Winophiles

April 20, 2019: Chablis | Host: Liz Barrett from What’s In That Bottle?
May 18, 2019: Gérard Bertrand Wines | Languedoc- Roussillion | Host: L.M. LM Archer of L.M. Archer
June 15, 2019: French Cheese & Wine | Host: Martin Redmond of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
July 20, 2019: Loire: Anjou-Saumur | Host: Camilla M. Mann of Culinary Adventures With Camilla
August 17, 2019: French Basque Country | Host: Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest
September 21, 2019: Corsica | Payal Vora of Keep the Peas
October 19, 2019: Cahors | Host: Nicole Ruiz Hudson of Somm’s Table
November 16, 2019: Rasteau with Thanksgiving| Host: Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog
December 21, 2019: Vouvray | Host: Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick


14 thoughts on “Working With The Classics: Advice From Women In Champagne

  1. I hope you feel better, but thank you for telling me about this woman and the wine. I need to add the extra brut to my tasting list.


  2. Facinating insights into the style of this wine. Now I need to taste it! I can’t say that I have had a champagne with oak influence! Thank you for sharing this, and for being so honest about the trials and tribulations of being a wine writer (and vigneron!).


  3. Feel better Jil! Thanks for sharing this story! Always excellent to learn about the amazing work women are doing in wine around the world.


  4. Am not sure it has anything to do with being professional or not, those who believe that should stay silent in my opinion. 😉 Rather things happen, and you cannot schedule everything…rather I find it much more professional to be able to create something written anyway.
    Enjoyed to read about the background of the producers. 🙂


  5. I appreciate your candor about the situation Jill. Your post is an interesting and enjoyable (as always) read. In your post you mention a “gastronomic” Champagne. I’ve heard this term used more than a few times as it involves wine. How would you describe a “gastronomic” wine?


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