Champagne Frerejean Frères Forges Their Future
Updated: May 4, 2020
Words by Megan Barber
Champagne Frerejean Frères has exploded onto the scene and taken a strong foothold on the global stage since their inception in 2005. “It began as confidential production between my brothers, Guillaume, Richard and I,” says a candid Rodolphe Frerejean Taittinger. “We wanted to embrace old tradition but leave room for innovation, the idea was to produce our champagnes like a great wine, a wine of authenticity, a wine of emotion, a wine that represents the Côte des Blancs which we hold so dear” Rodolphe declares as we depart a bustling Paris, making our voyage to the great region of Champagne.
Guillaume, Richard and Rodolphe Frerejean Taittinger hail from two very old French families, the original Frerejean brothers, Georges and Louis were Master Forgers who manufactured cannons for Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte during the Prussian attacks. Moreover, there is no mistaking the “Taittinger” lineage, a grande marques etched into Champagne’s history.
As we drive down Rue de Cramant and wind our way toward Avize, Rodolphe points out the rolling vineyards of the grand cru village of Avize “My brothers and I would ride our bicycles between the vines, this is essentially my childhood backyard”. The sentiment the brothers hold to the region is palpable and you can clearly see the calm ambition they have forging their own future in a highly competitive market.
The dedication to craft champagne is clearly reaping its reward with exceptional industry recognition. Champagne Frerejean Frères was named Michelin Star’s Champagne partner for the second consecutive year, paving the way for listing in the likes of L’Ambroisie, Paris and Le Bernardin, New York to name a few. “Our 2012 Cuvée des Hussards Premier Cru was awarded the platinum award, 97/100 by Decanter World Wine and the 2006 Extra Brut Premier Cru was well received by Master of Wine, Jancis Robinson, with an outstanding scoring of 18/20” says a proud yet still very humble Rodolphe. Champagne Frerejean Frères has made appearances in Forbes Asia, Vogue US and Vogue Italia, noting their undeniably attractive bottles that exude elegance. The brothers are quickly mastering artisan modern luxury.
Upon arriving at the Avize Maison, it is evident how rapidly Champagne Frerejean Frères is growing. Didier Pearson, Chef de Cave (and fifth generation Avize grower) emerges from the Winery to greet us. There is excitement written all over his face. Champagne Frerejean Frères is present in more than twenty countries across both hemispheres and to house the growing production, Frerejean Frères acquired the neighbouring château and its caves. Excavations had commenced to connect the underground passages. “We do not wish to ever produce more than 300,000 bottles, our wines are mature, elegant and complex we take our time to produce artisan champagne.” Rodolphe states.
As we descend into the cellar, it is plain to see there is absolute trust between Didier and Rodolphe. Didier leads the tour, passing the resting 2018 Rosé. 2018 was an exceptional year and Didier works closely with Guillaume (the oldest of the Frerejean Taittinger brothers) to ensure only the best grapes are secured for production. Frerejean Frères over the years, have acquired approximately five hectares of premier cru and grand cru parcels, supplementing this with some of the most accomplished Growers from the Côte des Blancs (this includes some of Didier’s own parcels).
Alas, the cause of the visit is to inspect the Extra Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs. This is a brand new champagne in the range that is yet to be named and will be released in later 2020. As Rodolphe explains this particular Blanc de Blancs is from three grand cru parcels Avize, Cramant and Oger. “We are on a quest for quality and for a champagne with character.” voices Rodolphe. This is the first of a Grand Cru series for the young brand.
Having emerged from the dark, velvet cellars to a sun drenched courtyard, you can’t help but hold a sense of anticipation for what is next for this young eponymous Maison. “We stand by our traditions,” says Rodolphe, “but we certainly speak to a new generation of Champagne drinkers”.