The most northerly wine region in France, Champagne is a specific appellation reserved for the production of one or more of three grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – grown within a legally-defined area 90 miles northeast of Paris, with Épernay at its centre and Reims to the north. Many other countries of course make fizz, but few can do it quite like the Champenois. Normally one has to pay handsomely for such pleasures from a well-known brand or Grande Marque, but there are smaller, lower-profile, quality-conscious producers who can offer superb quality at value-for-money prices. Maison Lenique is one such producer.
Maison Lenique is in the village of Pierry to the south of Épernay. It was founded in 1768 during the reign of Louis XV, and although now into its third century, it is still owned and run by the Lenique family. Today, it is Michel and Danièle Lenique’s son Alexandre who continues the family tradition. Maison Lenique owns about 23 acres of land in six communes throughout the region, from the Vallée de la Marne through the Côte des Blancs and into the Côtes de Sézanne and is one of the smallest Champagne ‘Houses’. This means that as well as owning their own land they are also allowed to buy in grapes from some of the region’s 4700 growers, which they use in the all-important blending process. These cuvées, blends of different grapes from different communes, crafted by the skill and experience of the blender, are the result of Dom Pérignon’s experiments of ‘marrying’ grapes to produce the very best wine.
As well as establishing their own House, over the centuries the Leniques have been cellar masters to many of the region’s Grandes Maisons and they have used all their experience to produce for us a unique cuvée, which is a blend of all three Champagne grape varieties. Your guarantee of quality and authenticity is carried on our special label, the small letters NM denoting a true Champagne House as opposed to a co-operative (CM) or an ‘own brand’ (MA).