Maison Penet, 400 years making champagne
Tradition and modernity mark the character of this Maison of 5 generations in Champagne.
Penet-Chardonnet is a historic Maison located in Verzy, one of the 17 Grand Crus of Champagne. The family owns carefully cultivated 6 hectares, spread over 30 sites in the towns of Verzy and Verzenay in the «Montagne de Reims» villages, both renowned for the superior quality of its Pinot Noir. For more than 400 years and 5 generations Penet-Chardonnet house has perfected their secretive traditional methods of preparing champagne.
The ancestors of the Chardonnet family already owned vineyards in the seventeenth century in Verzenay and then the Penet bought their first vineyards in Verzy during the French Revolution. In recent history, in the 1940s Emile, son of Gilbert, bought a magnificent nineteenth century mansion, and there is the cellar where they had been developing exclusive champagnes for more than 50 years. As mayor of Verzy for 18 years, Emile and his wife Marguerite organized many events of high society, some of which with close associates of Charles de Gaulle. Emile expanded the farm by buying more land and was also the first person in town to use a tractor in the 1950s.
In 1967, Christian married Penet and Marie-Louise Chardonnet met the two families and founded the Maison Penet-Chardonnet. In the 1980s, willing to further expand the farm, he built a modern winery, which would allow the family to better control the process from the vine to the bottle. The new winery Penet -Chardonnet became one of the largest in the town of Verzy.
Today Alexandre Penet is in charge of the winery as a winemaker of the fifth generation. At an early age, Alexandre helped his grandfather Emile and then his father Christian in the art of making champagne, developing a passion from childhood with the aim of enriching a business where tradition and modernity were together.
It’s amazing how many good champagne vineyards we can find in the region, and today we at TheLuxonomist recommend the following: 2 cuvées of Alexandre Penet and 2 cuvées of Penet-Chardonnet.
Although in a champagne there is usually the blend of different plots, vintages and varieties, the philosophy of the maison Penet is to use single parcel wines and highlight the personality of each ‘lieux-dit’.
Having characteristics of the Maison we can say they usually use in all their base wines the following: (2/3) and Pinot Noir, (1/3) Chardonnay, and never make malolactic fermentation, a fact that, combined with low dosage can magnify the expression of an exceptional «terroir» which has positioned Penet-Chardonnet as one of the specialists champagnes of «no sugar added».
Alexandre Penet Extra Brut Millésime 2006
Champagne from the vineyards in the Montagne de Reims. Blend: 50% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 30% Meunier. Aged for 7 to 8 years on lees and dosage <6g / l.
Alexandre Penet Grand Cru Brut Nature
Vineyard in Bouzy, Grand Cru (Montagne de Reims). Blend: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, with more than 30% of reserve wines. Aged 4 years in lees. Dosage: 0g/l, ie brut nature.
Penet-Chardonnet Lieu-Dit ‘Les Fervins’.
A Millésime 2009 Extra Brut. «Les Fervins» is a single vineyard of the best plots Grand Cru from Verzy, what the French call a «Lieux-Dit». Blend: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. A plot of 20 years. No malolactic and dosage: 3g / l. Series of less than 5.000 bottles.
Penet-Chardonnet Diane Claire, Grand Cru, Brut Nature
This prestigious champagne, made from a selection of the best plots Grand Cru of Verzenay (Montagne De Reims) is mainly based on the excellent 2002 vintage that was bottled in 2003 and was aged on the lees until the disgorging date mentioned on the label rear.
Blend: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Dosage: 0g / l. More than 10 years of aging on lees. Diane Claire is an exclusive series of less than 9.000 bottles, all numbered.
From my personal taste it is the last two of those champagnes that has great personality which I always wanted to find. More gourmet than the first two and ideal for special occasions, a champagne with a unique style.