The Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs
By Tom Stevenson and Michael Edwards
This Guide was last updated on 14 August 2014
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In the sleepy village of Oeuilly in the Marne Valley, due west of Epernay, the Tarlant family have farmed vineyards since the 17th century, and bottled their own Champagnes since the 1920s. Today Champagne Tarlant is run by Jean-Mary and Micheline with their very dedicated children (in their 30s), Benoît in the cellar and Mélanie in charge of marketing. Both Jean-Mary and Benoît have been moving towards making no or low dosage wines for many years and their best-seller is the deliciously spicy Brut Nature Zero, which even though bone dry, manages to be very rounded. All their reserve wines are fermented and aged in oak, and today 2/3rds of the total production of base wine is oak fermented. As well as their exemplary prestige Cuvée Louis from a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, when the vintage permits the Tarlants make a wonderful Vigne d’Antan from old ungrafted Chardonnay vines and La Vigne d’Or from old Pinot Meunier vines, both with very low dosage. They have a welcoming tasting room, where either Micheline or the bubbly Mélanie will most likely host your visit, both of whom speak English. Incidentally, Benoît and Mélanie have ensured that Tarlant is the most switched on Champagne House in the wine social media world – you will find blogs, videos and a presence on all the social media channels.
Useful information: Shop open Monday-Saturday 10.00-12.00 and 13.30-17.30 with the Réserve Brut available to taste free. Further tasting formulas for €5 or €15. Tours Monday-Friday (Saturday by appointment) at 10.30 and 14.30. English spoken. Groups possible by arrangement.
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