Today The Aube/Côtes des Bar has become one of Champagne’s most dynamic regions where small grower producers like Cèdric Bouchard, Maríe-Courtin, and Jacques Lassaigne have risen to global prominence. Yet this southernmost region of Champagne still remains something of a backwater as it lies closer to the city of Beaune in Burgundy than it does to Reims. Another factor is that the region lacks a large, glamourous Champagne house to draw in visitors and generate publicity. The good news is that, especially in these inflationary times, the Côtes des Bar’s under the radar status makes it a great hunting ground for bargain shoppers. Even the Champagnes of Drappier, the Aube’s best-known producer, are shockingly underpriced as our featured trio (below) attests. Founded in 1808 in the hamlet of Urville, the Drappier family sold all their grapes to négociants in the department of the Marne until the early twentieth century. In the 1930’s Georges Collot, the maternal grandfather of Champagne master Michel Drappier, first planted Pinot Noir in the area earning him the moniker “Father Pinot” from his skeptical neighbors. The Pinot Noir vines Georges planted thrived in the region’s Jurassic Kimmeridgian soils and formed the basis for the firm’s first prestige cuvee in 1952. Michael Drappier took over the winemaking duties in 1979 while his father Andre still watches over the family’s 250 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards. In the cellar Michel strives to maintain very low levels of dosage and sulfites. He finds that these practices work to bring out the subtle flavors of vine stock, yeast, and the minerality of the area’s limestone infused soil.
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Disgorged in April 2021, Drappier's new NV Brut Carte d'Or delivers attractive aromas of golden orchard fruit, stone fruit, honeycomb and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, it's charming and elegantly vinous, with a flavorful core of fruit, lively acids and a chalky finish."
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Racy acidity enlivens this crisp and lacy Champagne. Well-knit, with the delicate mix of ripe white cherry, blanched almond, yellow plum and grated ginger flavors. Drink now. 3,000 cases imported."