Described by author of the Champagne Guide Peter Liem, as being “… among the finest in the Côte des Blancs, marked by a rare intensity of soil expression and a sleek, sophisticated harmony", the champagnes of Pascal Doquet are widely accepted as some of the best in the region.
The thread of winemaking in the Doquet family winds back to the early 1930s when Pascal Doquet’s grandfather began making wine. With the twists and turns of history and family inheritance, it was in 2004 that Pascal Doquet struck out on his own founding the eponymous label for which he is known today. Drawing from the family holdings, Doquet carefully manages land with an enviable selection of old vines across a number of coveted villages.
The majority of holdings are in the Côte des Blancs, spanning more than five hectares in the Grand Cru sites of Mesnil-sur-Oger, Vertus, Bergères-les-Vertus and Le Mont Aimé, with an additional three hectares in the villages of Bassuet and Bassu. Plantings are almost entirely devoted to Chardonnay, however there is a small amount of Pinot Noir used by Doquet for the Anthocyanes Rosé Premier Cru, which in the words of Wine Advocate’s Stephan Reinhardt, is a “… full-bodied, round, intense and very elegant Rosé with great finesse...”
For Doquet, the focus is in the vineyard where he is most at home. Of this he says, “It’s the viticulture that makes the difference, not the vinification.” The domaine was certified organic in 2010, serving as the official recognition of a sensibility that has long shaped Doquet’s approach to viticulture and winemaking. For this reason copper and sulfur are used sparingly, a specially designed ultra-light tractor to minimise compacting of the soil can be found on the estate and extensive planting of cover crops has been implemented.
With myriad soil types on offer, Doquet seeks to focus the lens firmly on the character of each site and this directs his work in the winery. The grapes are harvested as ripe as possible and a pneumatic press is used. Only the first two pressings from the cuvée are retained – the remaining cuvée pressing together with the taille are sold. Fermentation uses indigenous yeasts and vessels include enamel-lined tanks and neutral oak. The majority of wines undergo malolactic fermentation and are left on gross less for five months. Ageing is a minimum of three years before the wines are disgorged and released, however cuvées such as Les Mesnil and Le Mont Amié undergo significantly longer periods of ageing. Fining is eschewed and filtration is minimal before release.
The wines have been met with universal enjoyment and high praise. Jancis Robinson MW describes the Horizon Blanc de Blancs Brut NV as “Lightly nutty nose and chock full of flavour … Lovely!”, awarding it 17 points. The 2005 Le Mesnil sur Oger Grand Cru Coeur de Terroir was awarded 94 points from Wine Advocate’s Stephan Reinhardt, a wine he describes as, “White golden colour, the deep and fresh aromas on the nose indicate great purity and clear expression of fruit from a chalky terroir. This is a full-bodied, rich and complex, yet also pure, lean and impressively structured Champagne. It is full of tension, grip and mineral expression. The lemon-fresh finish is enormously long and complex, and the wine is perfectly dosaged. Highly recommended.”