Alexandre Filaine

It feels as though we've known the Champagnes of Alexandre Filaine for much longer than a few vintages. We have found ourselves utterly enchanted with each release of these powerful and compelling wines.

After a career as winemaker at Bollinger, Fabrice Gass switched gears, establishing himself as a premier grower, making wines of precision and power. He farms a mere hectare and a half, predominantly of Pinot Noir; few are as fervently devoted to that grape as Fabrice. In his home village of Damery he's known as much for his small-production sparkling Champagne as for his illicit red wine he shares with friends.

His winery is equally miniscule—the size of an average suburban garage. Within his madman's workshop are hundred-year-old barrels, some inherited from his days at Bollinger, where all fermentation takes place. Distinctly lacking are any technological instruments; no, Fabrice is a man who prefers to use his hands, some self-crafted tools and his spectacular terroir to create his dynamic and opulent wines.

The wines do not go through malo, ensuring rippling acidity and cementing their age-worthy status. His disdain for stainless steel, choosing to embrace ancient barrels for both fermentation and aging, makes him something of an anachronism in modern Champagne; indeed, he's producing wine like it would have been made a hundred years ago, with painstaking effort and immaculate craftsmanship.

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