Jan 23 2017
The story of the estate goes back to two generation. It was Flore Dauby´s grandfather, Guy, who purchased the domaine in the 1950’s from Veuve Clicquot. Guy Dauby loved the vineyards of Champagne and he always had a few small parcels of land. When he was young, he acquired two hectares. In 1954 three barrels were produced, the first cuvée – as Flore recalls it – was perhaps 200 bottles only. And the story began…
Today the property has 8 hectares and sells annually 40.000 bottles. They do everything on their own (growing grapes to bottling), a true “recoltant manipulant”, (RM). The 8-meter deep cellar has the perfect temperature, constantly 10°C, and chalk is everywhere in Ay, also underneath the surface with different colour from “white-ish” to light brown. It acts like a sponge, says Flore, capturing the water, retaining moisture and allowing the roots of vines to penetrate deep down.
She prefers to ferment the base wine in inox, concrete tanks are not used and oak is just in action, when it comes to the “Guy Dauby” champagne. While riddling is done by gyropalette, at some champagnes not a metal cup is used during second fermentation, but rather cork closure. It does show a certain difference in the evolution, when it comes to ageing, oxygen transfer rate.
The commune of Ay is famous for Pinot Noir, this is reflected also in the percentage at the Dauby House. While Pinot Noir is leading with roughly 80%, Chardonnay is making up around 20% and less than 1% is Pinot Meunier. Complete destemming (?) is done, which is a bit unusual for champagne. Flore points out, that if low dosage is used the champagne needs a longer lees ageing to maintain a better stabilization. Generally speaking the champagnes age for 3,5 years on lees, while the vintage goes up 5 years.
The Dauby House focuses on champagnes, which are rather about finesse and elegance. Pinot Noir adds to the body and richness, but the champagnes tend to have a certain perfume, especially the Dauby Cuvée. The champagnes are never too heavy and beside the aromatic character, they share a personal touch and agility.
Dauby Cuvée Reserve
The so called Brut authentic, the house style. Reserve wines from 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. Aged for 3,5 years on the lees. 60% of Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay. Lemon colour. Fresh floral perfume, delicate nose. Vibrant on the palate as well, lovely fruity style, bright zesty, 9 g/l residual sugar feels a bit more on the palate, adding to the roundness. Savoury, nutty and bright with a good dash of ripeness.
Blanc de Noirs
1er cru 2011 with the reserve wine of 2010. Only Pinot Noir used.
Straw, yellow colour. Neat, floral, fine spicy note, delicate wild berries and fruit. Smoky, wild herbs. Round, nutty style, delicate, fairly full-bodied wine with striking, long focus.
70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Only base wine, fermented in stainless steel tanks, no barrels used. Around 5 years of lees ageing.
Lemon colour. Floral, perfume, vanilla with a hint of creaminess on the nose. Good nuttiness, citrus, lime, fresh, lighter style, walnut and brioche character. Bright walnut, hazelnut. Good finish with some freshness, lovely breeze.
Drink now – 2020
Guy Dauby Brut
The champagne is named by her Grandfather, 8 g/l dosage. Same champagne production, as he started. Base wines from barrels, used ones. Mainly Pinot Noir with a bit of Chardonnay.
Lemon colour. Floral, fine fruit on the nose. A dash of vanilla spiciness. Spice from the oak, very gentle and delicate. Fine fruit, a touch of vanilla, smooth, silky touch. The oak seems very much intense, creamy texture. Discrete and elegant with a good finish.
12% red wine in the blend, just before bottling (2nd fermentation).
Pink colour. Fresh style, herbs, a touch of fruit. A little bit tough on the mid palate, some herbal character. Fresh red fruit, light with a hint of greenness on the finish.
Mátyás Zarubay co-owner of the Hungarian “Francia Pezsgők” wine merchants (http://www.franciapezsgok.hu/) has assisted in the organization of the trip. Thank you!