Champagne Alexandre Penet
In 2007 Alexandre Penet returned to his family estate in Verzy. He was a man with a clear vision and resolute devotion to making great champagne. Alexandre grew up in Verzy at the feet of his father and grandfather making wine in this iconic Grand Cru Village. However, before he was to take the helm from his parents he left for university. After gaining an MBA from the University of Chicago Business School and a degree in Enology from the University of Reims, a career in his degree field of engineering took him to Hong Kong. Family and the vine called him back for his new career in winemaking, one he dug in with a renewed zeal.
The job he took was with the family business, Champagne Penet-Chardonnet. The estate was formed in 1967 when Christian Penet married Marie Louise Chardonnet combining almost 800 years of family history in the villages of Verzy and Verzenay. Alexandre took over from his parents in 2007 and has not looked back. He began by researching the geology and specific ecological traits of each of his 30 plots. This led him to the decision to vinify each of these plots separate. He also began to ferment each plot in a different vessel to coax out their individual nuances, some in small oak barrels and some in large 600L casks. There are also stainless steel and enamel lined steel tanks available in the decision making.
One of the decisions Alexandre made early on was to continue to explore and expand his champagne line. This meant he would have to expand beyond his 6 hectares to find what he was looking for. Many people expand their business by buying grapes. Alexandre is not buying grapes, he is working closely with some of the best growers in the region to make base wines that are specific to his exact specifications and are suitable to make the low dosage non malolactic champagnes he is known for.
The creation of the Alexandre Penet label is a compliment to the estate wines of Penet-Chardonnet. They are not of a lower quality but do have a lower price point. These wines are a window in to the style and vision of the house made in a very similar fashion. The reason for the separate label is to keep the negotiant business (Alexander Penet) separate from the grower champagne business (Penet-Chardonnet). Sometimes consumers draw lines of quality between the two, but this is an example of a negotiant business that is at the highest possible quality.
The Alexandre Penet bottlings feature the same rich, full-flavored champagne that lovers of Penet-Cgardonnet have come to love. The styles range from low to no dosage with a large majority of the wines coming from Grand Cru villages.