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Graham Holter from The Wine Merchant Magazine talks to Winemaker Laurent Fédou at Champagne Thiénot and Canard-Duchêne for their winemaker files.
Born in 1960, Laurent has been cellarmaster at this acclaimed Champagne house since 2013. A holder of the french National Diploma of Oenology, he has also worked at Thienot’s Bordeaux properties and spent two years teaching with an NGO in Chad.
“Becoming a winemaker was a late calling. I was originally studying microbiology chemistry. However, a meeting with a teacher of oenology inspired me to employ my skills in winemaking”
“The years of winemaking alternating between Bordeaux and Champagne were exciting and revealed how important each detail in the wine process really is. It became very clear that everything starts with the terroir and the care of the grapes”
“My time in Chad was a two-year break from my profession. I was teaching mathematics, chemical physics and theatre in a very small town in the south of the country. It was two passionate years of discoveries and encounters”
“ We have to make wines in the style of the house but also influence them with our personality. We want to leave wines for future generations that allow them to continue with the style. No, it’s not particularly a pressure but a duty.”
“Our approach is very particular, since we taste all grape musts during the harvest. We then base our juices on these tastings. Our blends are made only by blind tastings and without any particular formula”
“The UK market is a market of connoisseurs and Champagne lovers – they love wines with a strong personality. We know that it is really challenging for independent merchants to compete with the national retailers. However, there is scope for independents to work with a quality producer which allows them to make a decent margin and not be compromised on price”
“I would say that the more people discover sparkling wines, the more they will one day want to reach the king of sparkling wines: Champagne! As far as English wines are concerned, I understand the passion of a country to discover its own wines.”
“I have a particular fondness for the Rosé CND, which is the most symbolic of the range revival. It is soft, fruity and full of joy. I also take a particular pride in the latest additions to the range, the Charles VII Blanc de Blancs and the Organic.”
“Champagne is respectful of its origins and traditions but it evolves and innovates. The wines are more and more pure, neat, tight, mineral with a good acidity, daring!”
Laurent’s favourites Cuvées:
Canard Duchêne Cuvée Léonie “We made a wine for connoisseurs and gastronomes. It is a mature wine, rich, full but without heaviness.”
Canard Duchêne Charles VII Blanc de Blancs “There were no more Blanc de Blancs in the Canard Duchêne range so we created a fresh white, easy drinking, with refreshing and exotic notes of white fruits.”
Canard Duchêne Smooth Rosé “This is a wine to discover Champagne. It is fruity with aromas of strawberries, with roundness and simplicity. It is a wine to be enjoyed in group celebrations. It demonstrates the enormous potential of Champagne.”