Cellars masters, masters of style

Sep 23, 2020 • 7 mins

Their creative freedom is expressed within a restrictive framework. Simultaneously guardians of the canon and trend pionners, their mission is to enthance the style of champagne wines without ever betraying the brand. 

Odilon De Varine, Champagne Gosset

Odilon de Varine took over from Jean-Pierre Mareignier, who passed away far too soon, as cellar master of this Champagne House with such a long history. His key words to describe Gosset wines? Freshness, structure and balance. With a preference for grand Chardonnays. 

Gosset is the oldest Champagne House since it was founded in 1584, well before the English discovered how to make sparkling wines in this region. Based in Aÿ, a village among the strongholds of Pinot Noir, one could presume that its wines shall give top billing to that grape. Actually it's the other way round. Most of the wines are dominated by Chardonnay, except for the Rosé and the Grande Réserve. Another particular characteristic of this House related to its search for freshness: none of the wines go through the malolactic fermentation process. De Varine describes this approach as a desire to “create wines which have a sense of crunch” as one of the major acids in grapes is malic acid and it is responsible for freshness as well as fruity flavours. So where does the famous strength of Gosset wines come from? Here is the answer from the cellar master himself: “From extended ageing at low temperature which not only creates fine bubbles, it also provides the structure thanks to a long autolytic process.” Temperatures in the Gosset cellars are below 12°C and the wines stay there for at least 4 years, often much longer. His emblematic wine? Again, de Varine shows how he operates both inside and outside the box with his choice of a Blanc de Blancs, with Chardonnay grapes coming only from the Côte des Blancs, Epernay and also the northern part of the Montagne de Reims. The Champagne house at Aÿ likes paradoxes. 

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