Prévost's 2.2 hectare vineyard, Les Béguines, is in Gueux, 10km west of Reims in the north of the region. Inherited from Jérôme's grandmother, the site was planted in the 1960s with an old, slow growing, rootstock that descends deeply. Les Béguines is close to 100% Pinot Meunier, although there is now a small amount of 10 year-old Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc, that has been planted next to the Pinot Meunier parcel.
As these vines are still young, they are currently blended in the Les Béguines cuvée, representing roughly 6% of the blend. With time they may produce a stand-alone wine. The soil of Les Béguines is a layer cake of calcareous sand (Thanetian sand) over clay, over calcareous sand.
The vineyard management is of course organic, with the soils cultivated and yields kept at balanced levels - nothing is forced. The fruit is picked ripe and the wine is vinified without any additions in large format, used barrels for ten months. Bottled unfiltered, Prévost disgorges the wine after 18 months on lees and adds approximately 2.5g/l dosage - it's an Extra brut. These are wines that always show better after time in bottle - five to ten years is ideal but even a year or two makes a great difference. Frustrating but true. That's not to say these wines won't give pleasure when young and the striking 2016 is a case in point!
"It's the anti-Champagne Champagne, and so darn (vinous) and good. The 2016 (LC16 on bottle) is very lean and racy. Outstanding Champagne of velocity, freshness, lean-powerful feel. It shows faint but floral and apply in perfume, with a cast of chalk-talc-granite minerals chiming in. The palate is knife-edge stuff, with saline acidity underpinning tight and tart green apple flavours with a similar cast of granite-slate-talc mineral character. There's faint savouriness too, nuts and ginger and marzipan sort of thing. It's complex, energetic and so very delicious. Beyond that, it just has this sense of high quality, finesse and individuality." Peter Liem.