Complantation

Agrapart's Champagne Complantée is a mixture of the seven grape varieties allowed in the Champagne and probably the most well known complantation champagne.

Complantation is not new rather it was the way grapes were grown before rationalistion took grip of the wine industry. The original winegrowers were peasants and grapes were grown for self sufficiency. By planting a variety of grape sorts, the risk of losses were reduced. If one grape sort was affected by frost or drought for instance and others were not, then at the end of the season there were still grapes to harvest and make wine from. 

We see in todays monculture vineyards with a lack of biodiversity how late frost, drought or heat can destroy a complete vintage. 

Marcel Deiss is the producer who revitalised complantation. In 1984 they took over a vineyard int he grand cru site Schoenenbourg, officially planted with rielsing. They discovered other grape sorts, some unidentified, were also growing on the vineyard adding an extra layer of complexity. 

Modern winemaking takes the approach that to express terroir at its best one grape type should be planted. We see the development in the Alsace, where Riesling is becoming heavier and stickier with each vintage. Going against this way of thinking Marcel Deiss decided to plant a vineyard on the Altenberg de Bergheim with all 13 grape varieties found in the Alsace in a random fashion and then adding the unknown grape varieties from Schoenenbourg. Freed from the constraints of monoculture the wines now grow in a biodiverse manner allowing for the development of greater complexity.

Marcel Deiss's influence reached the Champagne. Growers like Agrapart realised that bio-diversity was the key and following Marcel Deiss's example also planted a vineyard with all seven grapes of the Champagne- Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Arbane and Pinot Meslier. Younger producers are also following this course, most notably Etienne Calsac and Laherte Freres.

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