In the Aube, a department that has at times been Burgundian, at others part of the Champagne region, Olivier Horiot produces highly original wines. He grows seven grape varieties biodynamically, releasing rosé, still wines and champagne.
Domain Horiot has been a part of the winemaking village of Riceys for several generations. Olivier Horiot grew up in the region, and now tends 7-hectares of biodynamically grown grapes, making wines that are rather unusual in the Champagne region.
Ricey has a complicated history and, sitting on the border with Burgundy, it has much in common with this region. This is the only village in Champagne to produce still wines (white and red Coteaux Champenois), sparkling wines, and still rosé (le rosé de Riceys). Olivier has made the most of this regional specificity by producing superb rosé de Riceys in the lieux-dits ‘En Barmont’ and ‘En Valingrain’ (another Burgundian influence), and delicious Coteaux Champenois. He has only been producing champagnes since 1999, yet they are amongst the most accomplished in the region.
Olivier Horiot also wanted to reintroduce native grape varieties that are no longer in favour in the region. Of the seven varieties permitted in the cahier des charges, the domain grows seven! As well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier, he cultivates Arbanne (and even produces a 100% Arbanne champagne), Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. At the zenith of his production is the cuvée Solera, a blend of 7 varieties and several parcels. This method inspired by the production of sherry is a blend of mature and young vintages and is known for conferring further complexity to the toasted, pastry notes of the wine.
What the guides say about Olivier Horiot
Revue du vin de France (1*/3)
This artisan winemaker produces an intriguing lineup of rosé de Riceys and (unfiltered) Coteaux Champenois, vinified plot by plot: they deliver the vegetal vibrancy and aromatic finesse of northern Pinot Noir. A unique taste sensation amplified by biodynamic viticulture; the wines become more natural with every vintage.
Olivier Horiot has developed a range of champagnes that is making a name for itself with every new vintage. Their style has become more refined, without taking anything from the incomparable ‘taste’ of Riceys. The Riceys terroir, at times Burgundian, at other times Champenois, has shaped the domain’s wines. A constant combat between power and balance, richness and freshness.
Wines currently for sale
The Sève en Barmont Extra-Brut rosé champagne is a rosé de saignée (macerated rosé) that opens into aromas of red berries (cherry, wild strawberry, redcurrant) and flowers (rose, peony). The palate reveals its sweetness and great delicacy, and ends with remarkable length.
This Champagne is produced using the famous solera method, which is heavily inspired by Andalusian sherry production. On tasting, this remarkable wine reveals an attractive golden appearance and a bouquet releasing complex, evolving notes of yellow fruit, white-fleshed fruit and tertiary notes (almonds). Full bodied and supple, it has a long finish featuring extremely indulgent notes. A truly great wine produced from seven varieties, requiring several years’ keeping; it can be served at the table with flavoursome dishes.
A (still), 100% Pinot Noir rosé from the « En Barmont » parcel, vinified « Burgundy style »; it undergoes élevage in wooden barrels for a year. It offers great concentration, with red fruit and notes of liquorice, plenty of indulgence, complexity, freshness, and a finish with smoky notes.
This 100% Pinot Noir is a clean, powerful champagne, opening out against a background of acidity providing the perfect balance. This cuvée is produced as Brut Nature (non-dosed).