Chef de Cave, Champagne Deutz
The creator of 'Amour'
The nose is highly distinctive with captivating aromas of white flowers, buttery brioche, hazlenuts, fine bubbles, so elegant and delicate...« Amour de Deutz » is a crystal pure expression of Chardonnay from Grands Crus in Champagne. The cuvée marks a new and original departure for this house in the heart of Aÿ, best known for their Pinot Noirs and whose flagship cuvée is also superb.
The secret? Michel Davesne, the very modest Chef de Cave in charge at Deutz since 2003, is adamant there isn't one. "You need very, very fine grapes, that's it" "Even the best winemaker cannot perform miracles".
He started on the eve of the 2003 harvest and was plunged headfirst into an atypical and memorable vintage which proved challenging for many in Champagne as it turned out both overly ripe and acidic.
On top of which, the Deutz vineyards had been hit by April frosts reducing production to 1m bottles, down almost 50% on an average year. A strange baptism for Michael Davesne starting out on a long and prosperous career with this house to which he so well-suited.
His career path has been atypical, too. Contrary to the usual route, he did not start out with the DNO (diplôme national d'oenologie), almost compulsory for winemakers in Champagne. After a preparatory year in Reims, he enrolled to do Biotechnology at the University of Compiègne then accepting the role of Chef de Cave with the Palmer Group. He learnt on the job! Then, after ten years, he decided to take the DNO, mainly for fun but also as a challenge. "It was brilliant" "It taught be the scientific basics and in return, my experience proved invaluable for the other students."
He was easily persuaded to join Deutz, the size of production was relatively the same, but the role was bigger, far more exciting and rewarding. He looks after the vinifications, also managing allocations, client relations and dinners in Champagne. In short, he follows the cuvées from the grape to the end client. A role that is perfectly suited to this exacting and fulfilled Chef de Cave.
Photo credit: Leif Carlsson