Champagne Louis Nicaise is located in the heart of the premier cru village Hautvillers, which many know of as it was made famous by Dom Perignon. Here the Nicaise family has been growing grapes and producing champagnes for four generations. In 2008, Laure Nicaise-Préaux and her husband, Clément Préaux began working the domaine together and over the years they have been incorporating their beliefs that great champagnes are created through respect to the earth, lower yields, greater maturity in their grapes before harvest, longer lees aging, the art of blending réserve wines and the usage of less dosage. Some of these beliefs were absorbed by Clément during his time apprenticing under Anselme Selosse in Avize, while Laure worked alongside her father at the domaine. In 2012, Laure and Clément officially became the fourth generation.
We began visiting Clément in 2017 and after three years of continual visits to say that we have been impressed with his progress at the domaine would be an immense understatement. The increasing complexities of their vin clair and finished wines continue to raise the bar of expectations. Clément is quite charismatic and passionate for his work. Laure and Clément are focused and they truly understand their land. We are thrilled to be working with Champagne Louis Nicaise, Laure and Clément. The future is bright for the domaine and with its fourth generation paving its future, potential is limitless.
The Nicaise family holds approximately 9 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards in Hautvillers separated into 72 parcels. They farm equal quantities of each Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and feel grateful for such a terroir as Hautvillers as the Chardonnay lies on chalk and limestone, Pinot Noir on silex and schist and Pinot Meunier on white and green clay, chalk and limestone. They also have a few parcels in Premier Cru villages Accueil and Choilly. The average age of the domaine’s vines are 35 years and the majority of the vines are exposed to the south.
In the vines, chemical use is avoided, all work is done by hand, yields are restricted and harvesting of the grapes does not occur until maturity is reached. After harvesting, the grapes are gently pressed and undergo fermentation naturally in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation does not occur and the vin clairs rest in a combination of stainless steel and burgundy barrels. The réserve wines rest on their lees in concrete vats. Clément has ten disgorgements a year allowing his finished wines to rest for a handful of months before being released.