Great Honour for Champagne Alfred Gratien
Le Guide Hachette des Vins names Nicolas Jaeger "Winemaker of the Year"
The renowned French wine guide Le Guide Hachette des Vins annually selects the best wines from France, Luxembourg and Switzerland through blind tastings. The jury has named Nicolas Jaeger from the small but perfectly formed Alfred Gratien Champagne winery in Épernay as winemaker of the year for the Guide Hachette 2018. Not only that: they also drew particular attention to one of the producer’s cuvées, awarding it “Coup de Coeur”.
Fourth generation of excellent cellar masters
Traditional Champagne production has been in the family at Alfred Gratien for over a century. Gaston Jaeger, in 1905 the first “Chef de Caves”, handed the craft down to his son, who likewise passed the art of Champagne production down to his own son. Great-grandson Nicolas Jaeger, born in 1972, joined the company in 1990 and worked alongside his father, Jean-Pierre, for 17 years. Growing up in the family’s own vineyards, his passion for winemaking was nurtured from an early age. In close co-operation with his father, he benefited from the family’s comprehensive knowledge and unique creativity in Champagne production. Since 2007, Nicolas has been the “Chef de Caves” at Champagne Alfred Gratien in Épernay and thus continues the long-running family tradition, adding his own individual style.
"Coup de Coeur" for Champagne Alfred Gratien Brut Millésimé 2004
The exclusive Champagne Alfred Gratien Brut Millésimé 2004, which received special recognition by the Guide Hachette, was also awarded the title “Coup de Coeur”. This denotes the jury’s highest recommendation and is awarded to just one or two extra-special creations each year. The cuvée consisting of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, created by decorated cellar master’s father, gains a special taste through maturing in oak casks. Additionally, it was aged in the cellar for 13 years – like all the producer’s vintage cuvées, with a natural cork, which promotes the perfect development of the wine thanks to its porousness and character.
“Since 1864, our wines have been aged in oak casks, lending our Champagnes uniqueness, complexity and body. Because the oak facilitates gentle oxidisation and imparts aromas that develop a robust, rounded structure in the wines.” – this is how the award-winning cellar master describes one of the special characteristics of Champagne production at Alfred Gratien. He considers the award a confirmation of the producer’s philosophy: belief in products of the highest quality in small batches.