Salima & Alain Cordeuil
Salima and Alain Cordeuil are based in the Cote des Bars, Champagne’s most southerly sub- region, lying closer to Burgundy’s Chablis than to the core regions of Reims and Epernay. Here, in the village of Noé les Mallets, slopes within the appellation can reach up to 300m above sea level, a drastic increase compared to the lower levels found in the Montagne de Reims or Vallée de la Marne.
After having met in their respective studies (Alain holds a degree in psychology, while Salima graduated in French literature), Alain and Salima’s journey in wine started in 2009 when the two were able to take over a small number of vineyards from Alain’s family. “From the start, we freed ourself from dogmas and from technology, and we created our own personal structure,” Salima and Alain explain. They say they cultivate the vineyard “like a garden,” which involves practices such as green composting, a rotation of native cover crops, and gentle winter pruning to respect the natural cycle of the vine. They work the soils exclusively with horses to the extent possible, to protect the soil, and keep yields low (40-50hL/ha) to ensure high quality fruit. They’ve been practicing organic since 2012, and certified since 2015.
Their Vin Clair is aged in tank on the lees for 12 months, after which they bottle by hand, adding fermenting must from the following year. Their wines are characterised by extended aging on the lees, adding complexity and resulting in profound wines.
At harvest, grapes are picked by hand and carefully sorted–it is essential to use only healthy fruit, because they vinify without adding sulfur. The wines ferment spontaneously without any additions, and malolactic fermentation happens naturally as well. After fermentation, the base wines remain on the lees and settle naturally, with no fining or filtration. Secondary fermentation in bottle takes place with no added yeast nutrients. All of the champagnes are brut nature, with zero dosage, and see no sulfur added at any point.
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