Marc and Bernadette Hébrart started producing Champagne in 1964. Their enterprise was initially on a small plot but little by little they added more. Now their estate encompasses more than 15 hectares spread over 75 plots across the two river banks that sweep through Valée de la Marne.
On average their vines are 28 years old and the grapes they grow are 70% Pinot Noir and the remaining 30% are Chardonnay. The eagle eyed will discern that this is only two of our three champagne grapes, with the missing party being Meunier. We’ve not forgotten, you’ve just picked up on something that makes this grower a bit different.
Marc Hébrart only produces champagne from a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Their trick is to balance the minerality and bright acidity given by Chardonnay with the robust juiciness of Pinot Noir. They also separately vinify all of the grapes from individual parcels of land to preserve their distinct identities. So the selection for blending is by grape and then by compatibility of which parcels the grapes are grown on. It’s a harmonisation of science, art, patience and passion.
If that wasn’t enough, in general bottles from Marc Hébrart spend a minimum of two years on lees and more often than not even three to four. This combined approach leads to the production of some exceptional wines.
Another way they bring the magic is by advocating sustainable viticulture, keeping chemical treatments to the absolute minimum. Points for flavour and for the environment.
Hébrart is also a member of Club Trésors de Champagne, a growers’ association that seeks to promote quality wines. The Club Trésors comprises 27 artisans wine makers, selected from the finest areas of the Champagne region, each one recognised for the quality of their work.
This month Jean-Paul talks with us about Marc Hebrart Champagne and his love for the champagne making process…
In 1983 at age 19 the Hébrart’s son, Jean-Paul, joined his father and mother on the vineyard. In 1997, when they retired Jean-Paul became the director and remains so till today.
Tell us a bit about your vineyard and story...
I see Champagne making as “The nobility of a job well done”. The role of ‘The Artisan Vigneron’ is a free, independent and passionate person - who will reveal the best of their
terroir thanks to their knowledge and expertise.
For me, ’Patience’ and ‘Time’ are essential notions when producing Champagne.
Being an Artisan is a life choice. This profession is fascinating, exacting, close to nature, allowing me to make a wine based on extensive terroirs from a mosaic of different plots.
Being an Artisan is being able to observe and listen… There are no set rules, one must always adjust.
Which part of the champagne making process is the most challenging?Harvesting at the point of a perfect level of maturity and then the blending are the most challenging during the champagne making process.
What’s your top tip for drinking champagne?
I recommend it as an aperitif with a suitable large-format glass, for example Zalto Glass
What is your favourite type of champagne?
A Blanc de Noirs is my favourite Champagne !
What other things do you like to drink besides champagne?
I like to drink Bourgogne, Cote du Rhône, Tokaï and Barolo.