Champagne Augustin is Emmanuelle and Marc Augustin. Between them they represent nine generations of winemakers. Now, with 2 sons of their own, they run Marc's family estate located in Avenay-Val-d’Or in the slope above famed Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.
They grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, though the majority of their cuvées are dominated by Pinot Noir. Since 2012 they have been farming organically with a full force switch to biodynamics in 2013. Every aspect of their winery follows biodynamic and holistic practices. The winery was built while adhering to biodynamic principles, the vines, cultivated by Emmanuelle, are grown with cover crops utilizing biodynamic preparations.
The vines are not pruned in Spring but braided so as not to hurt the living plant. Harvest is of course by hand and happens following the lunar cycle on a Flower day, deemed the best day for harvest.
Marc, responsible in the cellar, crafting the wines, a term he prefers, has created a philosophy called coeurviculture which means following the heart and being attentive to nature. Marc and Emmanuelle's belief that the vine and the resulting wine they craft is a living organism truly permeates every aspect of their domaine.
Following these principles of harmony, their extraordinary Champagnes, named after the elements: Terre (Earth), Air, Feu (Fire) are balanced and nuanced, their complexity making them truly gastronomical as well as celebratory.
A lot of thought and work goes into the selection of the appropriate vessel for each of these cuvées, always with the goal to express the element at its best. A clay amphora from Georgia that rests in dirt is where the Terre is made, while the Air is produced in Italian amphora and just from Chardonnay.
Even the architecture and decor of the cellar are a representation of the elements that are to influence the wines' development.
It quickly becomes clear that Marc and Emanuelle treat their wines as living beings, creations that need to be treated with respect and love to see them blossom into their very best. Marc is quick to admit that his ideas are not for everyone, and even within the family his enthusiasm for the more esoteric ideas of Biodyamie has at times been met with raised eyebrows.
But what is clear when you see Mark and Emanuelle's work and process, is that these wines are treated with the utmost attention to detail and nature and with an approach that always seeks the natural over the artificial and the organically grown over the manipulated.
If a wine is the sum of many decisions and in the case of a good Champagne of many hundreds of decisions made daily over the course of many years, then Augustin wines have certainly received the most protected and loving upbringing we have ever seen at any winery.