Champagne Serge Faust

The white band is the chalk that underlies the vines in Vandieres, Champagne.

who? what? when? where? why? how?

who grows the grapes at Champagne Serge Faust? who makes the wines?

Serge Faust’s daughter Joelle and her husband Jose Ardinat, along with their son Christophe manage the estate and the cellar.  As a Propriétaire-récoltant, or owner / grower, they grow all their grapes in their own vineyards, and the wines are made in their own cellar.  This is an important place to start with the family’s story because it is a rare thing in Champagne to have all aspects of production under the same roof.  Rarer still, at Serge Faust, all vineyards all certified organic.

Jose took over the day to day operations from Serge Faust in 1984, but the family still works together.  When it comes time to blend different vats into each Cuvée, three generations gather around a table and pull from more than a century of combined experience with each parcel and each grape.

Champagne Serge Faust[/fivecol_three_last]

what wines do they make at Champagne Serge Faust?

 The “Carte D’Or” is made primarily from Pinot Meunier which is aged for three years in neutral oak barrels prior to release.  Pinot Meunier’s floral, red fruits mark this wine on the nose and then shockingly so in the mouth.  It’s one of those rare white wines that bursts with red fruit flavors.   This wine has little if any notes of yeast, making it a breath of fresh air for Champagne-lovers and opens a world of interesting pairing possibilities to sommeliers and chefs, professional and amateur alike.

The wine reflects the grapes that the family grows.  Of approximately 20 acres, 16 are planted to Meunier and the remainder split between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  The Carte D’Or is 98% Meunier.

Pinot Meunier in the glass at Serge Faust



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when did Champagne Serge Faust start? when might you open a bottle?

The lineage of the Faust / Ardinat family reaches back to the 1750’s in the Marne, and they have been on their current land for generations.  Like many of the wineries that we purchase from Chartrand Imports, the conversion to organics came early for the Faust’s, when the family noticed that the promised gains from chemicals post WWII were not creating fruit with the same vivacity and flavors as they had grown in earlier generations.  Under various certifying bodies, they have farmed organically since 1969.

With it’s bright red fruit notes, this Pinot Meunier can pair quite well with duck breast and fruit sauces the way still Pinot Noir might be used.  It can also be used as a counter point to white fish, providing a surprising pop of flavor.

Champagne Serge Faust

where is Champagne Serge Faust?

Vandières is a small town in the Marne, just 15 miles from the city of Epernay.  As close as the winery is to one of the most famous towns in Champagne, it feels light years away in terms of attitude, cost, and reputation.  The last of these is changing quickly as more and more attention is being paid to producers of Champagne in the Marne Valley.  Though quality has surged, prices remain lower than their more famous neighbors.  Of historical note, the Marne was crisscrossed by armies in WWI  and II and one is reminded of the carnage at memorials in every town.

The winery is on the slope of a significant hill and from the rear one can clearly see a band of chalk and clay underneath the vines above.  This is the hallmark of the region.  The additional of clay in the soil is an important reason that Meunier does well in the area.

Candid Wines' map of Champagne

why might you want a taste?  why is Champagne Serge Faust a Candid Wine?

The ability to open a well made Champagne of Pinot Meunier opens a door for wine lovers looking to broaden their horizons when it comes to pairing bubbles and food.  So much of what we see here in the US is Chardonnay or Pinot Noir based, that the broad, deep flavors in Serge Faust’s Meunier seemed a shock to our taste buds when we first tasted.

The NV Carte D’or has, at first blush, a sparkling raspberry coulis note to it that jumps from the glass.  The wine quickly evolves into deeper, more earthy notes, and it sends one’s mind racing towards ideas of game and red sauces, stinky cheese (roquefort might work), and fattier fish, and maybe even to Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce.

Christophe Ardinat explains lees aging at Champagne Serge Faust

how is the wine made at Champagne Serge Faust?

The Carte D’Or is disgorged in July, fifteen months after the harvest, and each bottling represents a specific year or Millesime, even though the wine is labelled as “Non-Vintage”.   This is a common practice among small houses, and for Faust it is a necessity as they simply sell out of wine each year and can not afford to keep large stocks of reserve wine for blending.  98% of the wine in Pinot Meunier.

Dosage is minimal, leading to a final wine that generally has less than 0.05% residual sugar.  Christophe Faust emphasizes that the goal is to encourage a slow, steady “prise de mousse” so that the bubbles are elegant, small, and long lasting.  Sulphites are kept at a minimum.  It is never fined, which preserves as much of that fruit as possible, and makes it a vegan wine as well.

The labeling room at Serge Faust