A key winemaker for Alain Thiénot since 1985, when the latter took over Canard Duchêne in 2003, Laurent Fédou was tasked with breathing new life into the long- established brand. We asked Laurent to tell us more about his adventure in Champagne, and in particular the introduction of organic wines with Cuvée P181 Extra Brut.
In 2003, Alain Thiénot asked me to bring Canard Duchêne up to more contemporary and modern standards than the style it had at the time. We created a number of new products, the rst being the Cuvée Léonie, made in homage to the founder of the company, Léonie Duchêne. It’s a wine destined to restaurants and specialist stores. Among my contacts in Champagne, I had several friends who were organic winegrowers, and over the years, I pondered over the organic wine phenomenon, trying to understand it better, and in 2009, we launched the first organic wine of the Canard Duchêne brand, to underline the fact that we were audacious and modern, and to ‘brush the dust’ off our name.
What are the difficulties in making an organic wine in the Champagne region?
The main issue with the grapes is keeping tabs on the mildew, which requires a great deal of vigilance. It is vinexpodaily.com also necessary to have good relations with one’s neighbours, because if they are not organic, they must respect the work of those who are. In terms of the wine elaboration process, we have not changed anything at all.
Is the taste any different?
That’s always a big question. I can’t say whether it does, but in any case, the blend of our Cuvée P181 is very different from our other wines, which is what makes it so distinctive.
What would you say are the “key selling points” of Cuvée P181 Extra Brut?
Firstly, it’s the purity of the wine, which is quite fresh. It is an extra brut, which gives it that pure and tonic feel. It has quite a lot of intensity… and of course, it is organic, and has also been certified vegan, as this had been another concern of consumers.
Hall 1 / Stand E139
Laurent Fédou, Winemaker