Champagne Lombard : 4 reasons why you are going to fall for this champagne !
Hello Grappers Community,
As you know, we in the editorial team here at Grappers love to challenge our readers. So, if we ask you: "What’s the link between Champagne Lombard and rap? you're either going to reply: "great question!" or "what the heck?! Although, on the face of it, the answer is not the most obvious, it can, in fact, be summed up in a few words: a penetrating style and committed principles. As well constructed as the lyrics of Nekfeu's "Plume", Lombard's "Brut Nature" style is a poetic, technical and percussive flow that offers us several levels of interpretation. This week, we explain why we have a particular soft spot for this Champagne House...
#1 – Builder and Game Changer
Since 2017, Thomas Lombard has been the person running the show. When he has to choose between giving an interview and visiting the vineyards, his choice is quickly made: vines are his bag! Barely 29 years old, this quiet, confident force (always impeccably turned out!) clearly doesn't like to chat. His thing is to create. Managing Director by day, sportsman and musician by night, this ambitious jack-of-all-trades has transformed the Champagne House since his arrival. Officially a négociant, philosophically a winemaker, he navigates between two worlds and goes where others dare not…
His latest undertaking: to vinify all of the wines in his "Terroir" range as Brut Nature. In other words, his wines have not had any sugar added. That means that the whole vinification process has to be carefully thought out beforehand because, to use a metaphor, if you are going to construct fighter planes that aren’t going to crash, it’s best to have a good air traffic controller and gain some altitude!
One of Thomas's strengths is knowing how to build a good team around him. With him, there’s no ego trip, no going it alone, he prefers to work as part of a duo. Thomas therefore goes on his "terroir reconnaissance" trips with Laurent, his cellar and vineyard manager.
Two or three times a season, the pair likes to go and meet their partner winegrowers in order to gain an even deeper understanding of the terroirs they have selected.
#2 – A single-vineyard approach
The terroir has ruled since the beginning of winemaking! If you find the concept difficult to grasp: a terroir is an alchemy, the sum of the interactions that take place between the landscape, the soil, the climate and the viticulture. From one plot to another and from one year to the next, it will express itself differently and deliver a very distinctive mineral imprint.
If you want to make wines that are representative of their origins, it is best not to underestimate the terroir... So, to make sure they don't miss a thing, Laurent and Thomas methodically use the same modus operandi: Observe. Collect. Sample. Check. Preserve.
Auger in hand, they dig in the soil to a depth of 80 cm to take samples that will have two very different uses. Some of them are sent directly to the laboratory for analysis. This data will enable the duo to understand the texture of the soil (sand, silt, clay), evaluate its drainage capacity and determine its exact breakdown of minerals. Other samples are destined for the Champagne House's 'geotheque' where they will be used to explain to visitors, in a practical and instructive manner, the influence that these parameters will have on the quality and the typical character of the wines and in particular those of the 'Terroir' range.
#3 – A first-class vinification process
Historically, sugar has always been part of the DNA of champagne wine. It replaces the wine lost during the disgorgement operation, contributes to the sensory evolution of the wine and, if need be, it rounds out wines that are too acidic... If you think about it carefully, you will soon realise that there is no safety net when you are making a Brut Nature. This is perhaps why most winemakers and/or Champagne Houses often have just one example of a Brut Nature in their range.
At Champagne Lombard, the wine starts to be made in the vineyards with a meticulous selection of plots and raw materials. Cramant, Chouilly, Verzenay, Ville-Dommange, Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger. The Champagne House has selected 6 famous Crus. 6 Crus and their lieux-dits that will blow your mind!
At harvest time, the grapes are sorted and separated by origin.
A ripe grape that allows the fruit to express itself fully"
The same precision and discipline are applied in the winery. Like rap, the Brut Nature style leaves no room for improvisation. Alcoholic fermentation is carried out at low temperature to add finesse to the wines, and malolactic fermentation is prevented to preserve freshness, minerality and liveliness.
The wines are then aged in barrels or stainless-steel vats for 6 to 8 months. This is a relatively long time in Champagne and this, combined with a judicious bâtonnage (stirring of the lees), gives the wine structure and body. The long maturation process (5 years cellar-ageing) allows the wine to reveal a lovely aromatic breadth and a certain complexity.
#4 – And in the glass?
Game, set and match! When you first try it, the Brut Nature confuses, disarms and intrigues. On the second encounter, it reveals itself and allows itself to be understood. On the third, it is a style that you fall in love with forever. On the palate, it's insane. On the nose, it's intoxicating. And it owes this to its superb orchestration: truth without any ‘arrangements’.
Each of the 9 champagnes in the range reveals a different character and as the range is expanding each year, the best thing for you to do is to go and check them out yourself.
An entertaining yet informative back label, master classes, the right influencers on social media, special access to the Champagne House... there are many ways to experience the purity of their wines.
We hope you enjoy discovering this well-crafted and contemporary yet timeless range of champagnes... Cheers!
GO BEHIND THE COVER
• Your mantra: Impossible is nothing
• Your crazy skill: My ability to see things from a new angle in order to make a break with convention and invite people to try something different.
• Your greatest pride: The team I have created around me. A real luxury.
• An inspirational figure: I admire the career path of the Michelin-starred chef Claire Vallée. She achieved her dream of opening a vegan restaurant through a crowdfunding campaign, without a traditional bank loan. In the world of Champagne, I am particularly fond of the Chiquet brothers at the Jacquesson Champagne House.
• Where would you take us for a drink? In Epernay hillsides, a very pleasant spot in the countryside. For the wine, it depends on the day, the time and my mood.