L. Aubry Fils (JOUY-LES-REIMS)
Philippe Aubry works with his brother Pierre and brother-in-law Noël Poret and has been trying to give expression to Champagne’s indigenous varieties such as Arbanne and Petit Meslier, as well as Pinot Gris (the local name is Fromenteau) and Pinot Blanc.
“One of the most original estates in Champagne, Aubry Fils is located in the village of Jouy-lès-Reims, in the western sector of the Montagne de Reims. Of the estate’s 15 hectares of vines, 12 lie in Jouy and the nearby villages of Pargny-lès-Reims, Villedommange and Coulommes-la-Montagne, all of which are classified as premier cru; the other three hectares are located elsewhere and are sold off to the négoce.
Proprietors Pierre and Philippe Aubry are twin brothers, although after a few visits it’s easy to tell them apart: Pierre says very little, and always seems to have a lit cigarette; while Philippe (pictured) is garrulous and inquisitive, as interested in what you have to say about the wines as he is in showing them to you. In fact, the Aubrys have a little tasting notebook that they pull out every time they host visitors, and Philippe will ask you to describe all of the flavor associations that you find in the wines and fastidiously write them down.” – Peter Liem, Champagneguide.net
The key moment in the professional life of champagne grower Philippe Aubry came in 1989 when he took a business trip to Italy. He offered his champagne to a Bolognese restaurateur. The Bolognese tasted it, and told Philippe Aubry that it “wasn’t intelligent.” Aubry was nonplussed, and asked him what he meant. “It’s too rich,” the Italian replied. “Rich champagnes should be called Krug. You’re just a seller of little champagne; you should produce something light and easy.” “It mad me mad,” recalls Aubry, “but it also made me think. I decided at that moment to become a real vigneron, and not just to be ‘a seller of little champagne’.”-Andrew Jefford, The New France
In the heart of Petit Montagne de Reims, twin brothers Pierre and Philippe Aubry have shouldered a legacy dating from 1790, with 16.5 hectares from 60 individual locations. Today, Pierre holds a national diploma in enology and Philippe in biology; they run this small company in a highly innovative way. The yield is low and only “coeur de cuvée” is used for the vintage wines. The grapes are divided into five classes according to their quality, and a considerable amount is vinified in old, traditional 205-liter oak barrels. The most remarkable thing about Aubry is that, through almost archaeological search for old plant varieties, they have succeeded in making a brilliant Champagne out of three forgotten grape types: Pinot Gris, Arbanne, and Petit Meslier. Furthermore many grapevines are planted “en foule,” as they were before phylloxera. -Richard Juhlin, 4000 Champagnes