Region: Champagne, France
Grapes: Pinot Meunier
First Glance: Assertive, textural, oak-raised Champagne
Nicolas Maillart is one of the brightest shooting stars on the grower Champagne scene these days. Based in the small village of Ecueil in the central Montagne de Reims, the estate's vineyards are all Premier and Grand Cru classified. Although there is evidence of the family's involvement with vine growing going back more than 300 years, there is nothing old school going on here, or, for that matter, any resting on laurels.
Maillart ticks all the boxes of what one could expect from a top notch grower estate, on the forefront of the modern Champagne landscape. Sustainability is top priority, and the estate is certified both HVE (Haute Valeur Environnementale), as well as for sustainable viticultural practices. The approach to the cellar is like a checklist, of everything that moves in the region today. Many cuvees see some form of neutral oak elevage, dosages are low (if not omitted completely) and malolactic conversion is only applied if deemed necessary. Furthermore, a large part of the range is bottled as single vineyard, and often single variety expressions, to truly show the individual terroirs of the estate.
The Mont Martin is a single varietal Pinot Meunier from the Premier Cru village of Villers-Allerand. Meunier is commonly known for its soft allure, but is perfectly capable of more structured and savoury expressions, which is exactly what this is. The wine was fermented and matured in neutral oak barrels on its fine lees for 9 months, before bottling and secondary fermentation. Disgorged after 3 years, in July of 2021, without dosage. The oxidative influence from elevage in barrel clearly shows in the textural breadth and aromatic depth of the wine, though never to a point of heaviness or a lack of drive. Expect an assertive, mineral and saline wine, with scintillating freshness and purity.