A century ago, producers in departement Aube were not allowed to put 'champagne' on their labels. To be honest, this southern part, over 100 kilometers from Épernay, is a geographical far corner in the Champagne region. Yet the big maisons close to Reims did buy their grapes from Aube: pinot noir does very well here.
After struggle and lobbying, Côte des Bar, part of the Aube, was enclosed in the AOP Champagne. You won't find premier or grand cru villages here, but all the more headstrong producers with their own style who make great, sometimes very personal champagnes.
One of them is Thibaud Brocard. Since 2009 he works the vineyards around Celles-sur-Ource that have been in the family since 1932. He took over the business from his father Pierre, still a very active contributor. Thibaud's first step: getting rid of pesticides and herbicides. In practice, Brocard works organically, and uses the lowest possible amounts of sulphite.
Pinot noir is the number one grape in this area, but, in addition to chardonnay, you may find some pinot blanc as well. This variety is allowed, but hardly found in Champagne. Thibaud Brocard uses it in his blend Tradition, and we wouldn't be surprised if he had more plans with pinot blanc.
The young producer considers his champagnes wines, more than anything: he enjoys making champagnes from one vintage, one grape variety and one vineyard, vinified in inox or enamel (you'll find few oak barrels in his cellar), that are allowed time to age.
This makes the Brocard Pierre champagnes expressive and fruity, exciting, sometimes a little funky. Maybe not crowdpleasers, but wines that will steal the hearts of vin nature lovers who like their flavors a bit edgy.