Damery and Cumieres are neighbor towns along the Marne river in Champagne. Vincent Laval and Fabrice Gass are two truly champagne growers sharing same technique, minimal manipulation, native yeast fermentations, organic farming and very low use of sulphur. Also some blog on the web tell me they have been in school togheter. we are in the southern of Montaigne de Reims leading over into Valle de la Marne a soil with free lime (high ph) belemnite and micraster chalky soil provide grapes with high acid content.
In Montaigne de reims the top soil are mixture of sandy and clay lignite with chalk rubble, subsoil principally Belemnite chalk with micraster chalk full of lignite and sandstone.
Valle de la Marne topsoil are marl, lignite with sandy loam and clay sharing almost the same subsoil with more clay and sandstone mixer together.
Gass is a winemker at Bollinger, Fillaine is his side project on 1 hectare and the production is around 4.000 bottle per year. The wine have the bollinger power with very high acidity because they don't go through malolactic fermentation. Pinot noir with small amount of Chardonnay and Meunier the wine fermented on 100 year barrel.
The wine are powerful and energetic with creamy texture and lovely orchard fruit character along some rasberrier sour red fruit, lovely autolytic perception bread, toast and lees. Awesome wine for a microscopic production.
Laval's is a bit bigger but still very small amount production, 2.5 hectares. Average vine age is over 30 years, the oldest vines are 70 years age. Since 1971 Laval family have been practicing organic viticulture, certified by Ecocert. Traditonal Coquard vertical press which hold 2,000 Kg are used. Ripe harvest, indigenous yeast fermentation in barrel are the requirement for the production of the wine with no filtration or cold-stabilized; before bottling the wine spend 10 months on barrel. Very low level of sulphur, usually 20 grams for liter. The majority of his champagne are release without dosage, great harmony complexity with an incredible mineral character.
The chalky sensation and limestone I feel in the palate I hardly find in this categories of Champagne growers. One of my favorite producer.