Mouzon Leroux

Champagne, France
At a Glance
  • Located in the Grand Cru village of Verzy, Sébastien Mouzon is the 9th generation to farm his family land. As one of the region’s pioneers of “Vitiforestry, he has over 1,300 trees interplanted among his vineyards. Chickens and herbal remedies are used to control cover crops and pests.
  • Demeter certified Biodynamic Sébastien crafts exceptional, low intervention (natural fermentations, low to no SO2 and minimal dosage) wines from the unique Silex rich soils in Verzy.
  • These are not hedonistic, fruit forward wines, but soulful, thoughtful, and satisfying wines that bring you back to the glass as they open and develop, displaying true transparency and expression of place.

Sébastien Mouzon is a member of a current generation of growers revolutionizing viticulture in Champagne. Located in the Grand Cru village of Verzy, he is the 9th generation to farm vineyard land in this exceptional Grand Cru, with family roots back to 1776. Sébastien took over his family domaine in 2008, and starting with just two hectares, slowly converted the entire eight-and-a-half-hectares estate to organic viticulture which he officially accomplished in 2012.  Seven years later, on a path to an even more natural and holistic approach, he became one of a handful of growers to earn Demeter certification for Biodynamic practices. Today, Chickens are used to control cover crops and combat pests, and Sébastien treats the vines with his own blend of homeopathic tinctures such as dandelion, wicker, nettle, yarrow, and oak to supplement his biodynamic regimen.

Nearly 60% of the Mouzon vineyard is planted with Pinot Noir, while Chardonnay represents just under 35%. The remaining 5% of the vineyard is planted with Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, Meunier and Pinot Gris. These “other” varieties are planted throughout his parcels, and also planted in a single plot called Les Fervins. One of the pioneers of Vitiforestry, Sébastien began planting trees in a few vineyards in 2011. Since then, he has expanded to more than 1,300 trees planted in his vineyards as well as 750 aromatic plants including thyme, oregano and mint.

Sébastien has always understood that Verzy produces unique wines, different from the villages of the north (Verzenay Grand Cru) and the south (Villiers-Marmery 1er Cru), and above all very different from the famous Grands Crus of Bouzy and Ambonnay, which are sunnier and facing due south. Early in his career, he studied soil samples from each of his 60 plots. He identified three distinctive hillsides of the village, all facing northeast, but with different strata of soils. The “first” hillside, bordering Villers-Marmery, has more calcareous soil with very little clay, mainly planted with Chardonnay. On the “middle” hillside where the chalk begins to sink deeper and the clay becomes heavier, he has equal parts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay planted. The “third” hillside, which borders the famous Grand Cru of Verzenay, has soils richer in clay which produce more powerful wines, mainly from Pinot Noir. Overall, he emphasizes, “in Verzy, the dominant part of the wine is the mineral part”, attributing this to the unique silex soils of the village.

Like most producers in the region, Mouzon produces a range of different wines. These different terroirs of Verzy are combined to create blended wines but it also produces single-site plot wines and two vintage vintages for the two dominant grape varieties. Mouzon opts to use other unique descriptors for each each cuvée. The range starts with L’Atavique, named for the term “Atavism”, or the “recurrence of traits in an ancestor in a subsequent generation” (Oxford Dictionary). Then there is L’Ascendant, which is a solera ascending from L’Atavique’s starting in 2014, as well as a Pinot Noir-based Rosé de Saignée called L’Incandescent. On the parcellaire side, there are four vintage cuvées including: L’Ineffable (100% Pinot Noir), L’Angelique (100% Chardonnay), Les Fervins (all 7 Champagne varieties) and L’Opiniatre (Chardonnay selection, without SO2). We finish the range with a Coteaux Champenois also from Les Fervins (7 varieties), and a gorgeous Ratafia called L’Exaltant.

At harvest, each parcel is carefully brought in separately by hand, with an emphasis on physiological ripeness. Natural alcoholic fermentation is done mainly in 228-liter barrels, with a few wines fermented in steel or enamel tanks. For each parcel, he creates a unique pied de cuve from earlier harvested grapes to use for fermentation, a process which he feels helps to accentuate the specific vineyard signature of each cuvée. After the initial fermentation, Sébastian will age the wines for up to two years in barrel before bottling for the second fermentation. There is no fining or filtration, and very minimal-to-zero sulfur is used in the cellar (generally 15mg total/5mg free). En tirage aging is an average of three years, with the vintage wines aging five years en tirage before disgorgement. Not surprisingly, dosage is used very sparingly, if at all, to not obscure the underlying signature of each wine.

All in all, Sébastien follows his own path, crafting expressive, unique wines, which reflect both place and his philosophies and personality. Mostly, he works to express the character of Verzy in his wines, making Champagnes of striking tension and balance without losing their appealing drinkability. These are not hedonistic, fruit forward wines, but soulful, thoughtful, and satisfying wines that bring you back to the glass as they open and develop, displaying true transparency and expression of place. 

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