Notice I didn’t say “boxed wine.” This has nothing to do with what’s in the box – though the wines of Bérèche et Fils are excellent – but everything to do with what’s on the box. Bérèche packs their wines, for convenient carrying given the weight of Champagne bottles, in six-pack boxes. On the top of each carton is a map of the environs of Craon-de-Ludes, the estate’s home base on the Montagne de Reims. The map details the distribution of vines owned by the estate, right down to the single pied, or foot, the word the French use to denote a planted vine.
I’ve uploaded a larger image than usual, just in case you’d like to click through for a closer look. If your display or your eyes are not up to the task, here’s the lay of the land: 8,678 Pinot Meunier vines just north of Chambrecy; 5,050 Chardonnay vines, 10,549 Pinot Noir vines and 13,600 Meunier vines to the south of Ormes; 9,236 vines of Chardonnay, 11,839 of Pinot Noir and 8,839 of Meunier to the north and west of Ludes; 1,036 vines of Pinot Noir to the west of Chigny-les-Roses; 11,511 Chardonnay vines, 4,000 vines of Pinot Noir and 12,666 Pinot Meunier vines south of Mareuil-le-Port; 4,353 vines of Pinot Meunier to the northeast of Festigny; and 1,400 Chardonnay plants just southwest of Trepail. Get the picture?
Some of my fellow wine bloggers (Neil and Peter, for instance) have called out for the provision of detailed information (vintage mix, grape blend, disgorgement date, etc.) when it comes to Champagne labeling. They’re requests for information that I heartily second. But who could realistically ask for the type and detail of information provided on the Bérèche box? Does it even serve a purpose? And who counted all those vines, anyway? I don’t know, but I dig it.