Working with your spouse can be hard, which is why Perine Baillette decided to keep her day job making her family wines, instead of working with her husband Alexandre of Chartogne-Taillet. Their philosophies are quite similar: to find the purest expression of their individual terroir through the lens of Champagne. She makes 3 mineral-laden and seductive single vineyard bottlings from her 1er and Grand Cru vineyards in the Montagne de Reims along with a delightful non-vintage and smashingly delicous rose. Like Alexandre all the vines are non-certified-organically and plowed by horse. In the cellar, Periné uses a mix of vessels but mostly old oak barrels. Wines spontaneously ferment, with malolactic fermentation allowed to progress naturally. Dosage is kept low, relying on extended lees aging and a solera started in 2002 to temper the vicious acidity in her limestone and chalky vineyards. Production is tiny, less than 13,000 bottles from 3.65 hectares, which gives her the ability to painstakingly craft some electrifying, aromatic and pure Champagnes.
Champagne boasts some of the world’s greatest luxury brands with Krug, Cristal and, of course, Dom Perignon. But it’s also home to hundreds of small dynamic producers—farmers who grow their own grapes (often organically) and make (often with natural methods) tiny amounts of pure and absolutely delicious wine that reflect the individual personalities of their villages and terroirs. Toast with these wines, for sure. But also treat them like the great wines they are: taste, drink, explore!