Vintage and Non-Vintage Champagne de Sousa

Vintage and Non-Vintage Champagne de Sousa
We have introduced several different Champagne growers to our clients this year and featured their wines at our Champagne Tasting earlier this month.  We did, however, want to draw your attention to one particular grower, De Sousa, who continues to impress us with their range.

We fully concur with the previous winner of the Sommelier du Monde, Andreas Larsson when he maintains that De Sousa's ‘ single-minded strive for quality comes through very clearly in all their range.’  Peter Liem, who lives in Champagne and has developed a loyal following for his site,, writes ‘It’s no accident that De Sousa is found in many of France’s best restaurants’. It was comments like this that led me to visit de Sousa twice this year.
The De Sousa family (of Portuguese descent)  have been in Avize for three generations and the house of De Sousa & Fils was founded in 1986 by Erick and Michelle. The scale is modest; there are just 9.5 hectares, and production barely exceeds 6,000 cases from their 42 different vineyard parcels across the villages of Avize, Cramant, Chouilly, Le Mesnil sur Oger and Oger. Holdings also extend into the Montagne de Reims (Ay and Ambonnay) and the Vallée de la Marne.
One notable key to their success is the age of their vines, the vast majority of which were planted more than 45 years ago. Furthermore, they have cultivated their vineyards organically since 1989 and yields from these old vine, organic vineyards are decidedly low. In 1999, De Sousa converted to biodynamic viticulture which – if anything – has lowered yields further. Low yields do not lead to increased quality per se, but it does demonstrate the intent to favour quality over quantity which is typical of every step taken by this forward-thinking family team.
Unfortunately, we were unable to show their headlining vintage cuvée at our event last week as the production volumes  (and thereby our allocation) is too small. It is offered below for the first time and orders will unfortunately have to be limited to a maximum of 12 bottles per client.

NV Brut Tradition, De Sousa 
£110 per six bottles in bond

50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier (30% from reserve wines of six/ seven years of age). Aged for three to four years on its lees before disgorgement and release.

Bright with a fine bead in the glass, the aromas have evolved, suggesting fresh, yet creamy fruits. The initial impression on the palate is of completeness; a soft but assertive mousse, allied to ripe, compact fruit.  Slightly honeyed citrus notes and notes of patisserie open out to the finish underscored by a fine mineral vein of mouth-watering acidity. Expressive and refined with a rare intensity for a Champagne of this level. This has rapidly become a mainstay in our range. Drink 2012-2016

NV Cuvée des Caudalies, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs 
£180 per six bottles in bond

This is no ordinary non-vintage as this is a complex blend comprising 50% of a base wine from a recent vintage, which is blended with approximately 15 different vintages of reserve wine. This is pure Grand Cru Chardonnay and is partially vinified in oak, of which 15% is new. The nose offers white flowers and honeysuckle. The style is refined, creamy with a fine textural mousse and an almost salty touch to the mineral nuances. Nothing imposing – instead extremely elegant with notes of ripe pear, citrus and a gentle hint of toast. There is a lovely weight to this wine and a roundness too. A long, flowing, luxuriant style of Blanc de Blancs with a lightness of touch. As effortless as any Champagne from De Sousa. Drink 2014-2018

2006 Cuvée des Caudalies, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs
£540 per six bottles in bond (Limited to 12 bottles per client)

 Again the leading cuvée is a testament to Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs. A stunning wine, which is made from fruit grown in Le Mesnil, Avize and Oger. The vinification is similar to the above, yet this is a more intense style, with such precision and effortless richness. The tautness of the structure here really impresses. The wine is slow to reveal its character; subtle, mineral and remarkably persistent. Once more  De Sousa craft very fine tuned Chardonnay and this example really showcases their skills – a wine with a fine richness and underlying, almost salty mineral nuanced acidity. It is little wonder this is so sought after. Volumes are very limited. The 2006 vintage brings a little more generosity to a champagne which is worth following year on year. Drink 2014-2020

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