Deutz is growing like a mad thing,tripling sales and production from 600000 bottles in the late 1990s to more than 2 million every year from 2004 to 208,dippling only slightly in response to the global economy and returning to 2 million in 2012. For such a breathtaking pace of expansion, the standards it has maintained are not only admirable, they are downright remarkable. The rough 2011 vintage aside, there isn’t one wine out of place in this line of crisp, pure champagne, impeccable crafted in a style of elegant finesse.
Deutz is still setting a cracking pace. The main press house in Aÿ was razed in 2010 and two new layers of cellars dug underneath. A completely new press house was erected just in time for vintage 2011, with new four-and-eight-tonne presses, a new bottling line and increased cellar capacity from 8 million to 11,5 million bottles, and Deutz is now bottling its annual production target of 2,5 million bottles and it has secured the grape supply to sustain it.
Owned by Louis Roederer, the house lays claims to just 42 of the total 200 hectares from which it sources fruit, all in grand and premier cru villages in the Marne, Chardonnay and pinot noir are the focus for Deutz, with meunier comprising just 5% of its fruit. Most of the supply increase in recent years has come from purchased fruit. « We are looking for vineyards to buy, but the availability of good vineyards is not high » explains president Fabrice Rosset, the powerhouse behing Deutz for almost 20 years. To reward quality growers are paid based not only on the standard of their terroir, but the quality of grapes delivered. Growers are hearing of Deutz’s reputation and calling the company to offer their grapes. « This is the highest compliment we could be paid ! » exclaims Rosset.
Can the house continue to maintain quality while following such a steep trajectory of growth ? « It is crucial that we maintain the same quality of supplies » chef de cave Michel Davesne emphasizes. The intention is to maintain the same suppliers, continuing to source from within 35 kilometres of Aÿ and using only the first pressings. He is confident the investments in the new winery and cellars will only aid the pursuit of quality.
Assuming the house can maintain reliable supply channels, Deutz will be well equipped to continue to achieve its target. Recently modernised disgorgement and warehousing facilities are already in operation, and 8 million bottles wait in anticipation in three kilometres of cellars extending into the hill, up to 65 metres deep beneath the vineyard behind Aÿ.
With sustainable agriculture a priority, Deutz is trialling organics and even biodynamics in the plot immediately above the winery. Chemical pesticides have been abandoned, and grasses cultivated in the mid-rows of some plots to avoid the use of herbicids and reduce yields to slightly below the average.
Even in its young vins clairs, the clean, crisp, fresh, pristine focus of the house is abundantly clear. Deutz preserves the purity of its fruit through fermentation plot by plot in 350 stainless steel tanks (no barrels), temperature controlled to 16-17°C. Malolactic fermentation is encouraged systematically. Non-vintage rested in the cellar for a further six months post-disgorgement. Dosages of around 9g/L are well balanced to the graceful style of the house.
« The key to Deutz is elegance . » expounds Rosset, « The Deutz style is made on refinement and harmony – this is the quintessence of champagne. » Then he checks himself and grins warmly « I am exagerating ! »
But he’s right. In its classic, eloquently labelled bottles, Deutz has upheld its air of consistently refreshing pure lemon sunshine.
Amour de Deutz rosé 2006
A new king has ascended in the great kingdom of Deutz rosé, a brand new release, replacing William Deutz Rosé with an intentionally more elegant style and inadvertently offering a profound insight into the motivation of this house and its president. A few weeks before I visited in late 2014, Fabrice Rosset made the tough and costly decision never to release the entire 14,768 bottle production of amour de Deutz rosé 2005. He poured me an exclusive tasting of that never-to-be-released cuvée (94 points). Goodness, many reputable houses would release (and have) lesser prestige cuvées. I have long respected Deutz, and at that moment it won an all-new respect.
It takes all the wizardry and resources of Deutz to create a new rosé of such thrilling, towering magnificence. It is at once ethereal in its elegance, precise in its definition and fairy light on its feet, yet there is grand presence and depth of fruit power driving it long and full breathtakingly graceful elegance elevates it to another spiritual plane. Exquisite purity of red cherries, wild strawberries, rose hip, pink pepper and pomegranate define an impeccably crafted shape of exuberant yet immaculate refinement, and mesmerizing persistence. A triumph, and an instant addition to Champagne’s top rosé tier – and who else can claim that with a new cuvée ?
Deutz Brut Millésimé 2008
Only in the great 2008 vintage can supermodel curves, ballerina daintiness, gymnastic muscle and Olympian energy all coexist in one desperately precise body. Fairy-footed grace of rose petal and lemon blossom fragrance find a breathtaking tension with exceptional fruit depth, epic persistence and breathtakingly chalk-fine, frothing salt minerality. Another thrilling performance from the most enduring vintage since 1996.
Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2008
The sublime 2008 season plays precisely to Deutz’s brief of precision and minrality. Embedded deeply in the two most confident chardonnay grand crus, this is a cuvée that encapsulates the ultra-elegance and coiled-up power and intensity that define this vintage. Its chalk minerality is breathtaking, surging and frothing with the seaspray of its terroirs. Freshness shines as pure and stark as high-noon daylight in lemon, crunchy pear and yellow mirabelle plum, with all the accumulated knowledge of seven years of age proclaimed in fresh almonds, brioche and nougat. It’s at once energetic and tense, yet intricately balanced and gentle, concluding in a crescendo of astonishing persistence. Ready to go now, it will deepen with unrelenting resolve for decades.
Deutz Brut Rosé Millésimé 2009
I was completely besotted when Deutz’s ultra-sensual 2008 Rosé walked onto the scene, and I never expected to fall for the 2009 in quite the same way but, gosh it’s silky, long-legged and downright gorgeous. This is grace in a salmon-crimson silk ballgown; a ravishing celebration of pinot noir in all its red cherry and strawberry succulence, trailing a smooth acid train and friendly chalk mineral texture. There’s a seamlessness to this vintage that beckons you to dance all night, albeit without the fast moves and stiletto tension of 2008;
Deutz Brut Millésimé 2007
A very impressive vintage, with a pinot noir lead reflected in a full straw hue and magnificent depth of enticing yellow mirabelle plums and rich figs. Its maturity is declared in a panoply of burnt butter, toast, honey, brioche, butterscotch and mixed spice, drawn out effortlessly by lively acidity, a creamy bead and fine chalk mineral structure.
Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2007
One of the first and most memorable 2007s that I ever tasted, from the day of its release this has been a wine of delicacy juxtaposed with power. Two years on, its focus and tension are unwavering, sustained by excellent, fine chalk mineral definition. Notes of struck-flint reduction waft over a precise palate of white pepper, crisp pear, crunchy golden delicious apple and subtle; simmering mixed spice.
Deutz Brut Classic
Brut Classic is the barometer of Deutz, representing 80% of the volume of the house, and the house gives it first priority. But if any cracks develop in the wake of increasing production, they will surely appear here, and certainly in a season as shaky as 2010. To the contrary, quite remarkably, this is as good as I have seen this refreshing apéritif. It presents an angaging contrast between the racy tension of lemon and grapefruit, the presence and volume of red apple, pear and white peach, and the elegant complexity of bottle age nuances of nougat, anise, brioche and mixed spice. the vivacity and subtlety that define the signature of Deutz are upheld within a style of cream bread, well-integrated dosage and expressive, long-lingering chalk mineral texture.
Deutz Brut Rosé
The pure, fresh style of Deutz is perfectly suited to elegant and restrained rosé, and the house is unusual in producing the style at three different levels. Fabrice Rosset admits the challenge is to maintain a consistent style every year. “In vintages like 2001 and 2011, the climatic conditions made it a real challenge to uphold the consistency of our non-vintage wines.” It leaves its stamp here in a dry, dusty mouthfeel and notes of temarillo. nonetheless, some subtle red cherry, pomegranate and pink pepper do manage to poke through amidst a creamy bead, good acid line, well-integrated dosage and lingering persistence. The 2010 base vintage is much more representative of a house accomplished in crafting pristine rosé right from its entry cuvée. It’s fine and elegant, with pristine red cherryand rose petal lift, excellent integration of finely structured acidity, subtle dosage and refined, soft chalk mineral structure.
Deutz Brut Millésimé 2006
Current for at least four years now, this vintage is every bit as engaging as it was on day one. Refined and effortless, it sustains an excellent core of primary citrus zest, slowly evolving into soft peach, toast and honey, drawn out through a long, even finish.
William Deutz 1999
One of the rare cuvées to appear in all three editions of The Champagne Guide to date, and here it is for one final showing. It peaked two years ago, and is now coming towards the end of its prime, complex, full and long with an impressive core of peach fruit and citrus zest becoming toasty, honeyed, spicy and buttery. Still great, but eclipsed in every way by the 2002.
Amour de Deutz 2005
I admire Fabrice Rosset for many reasons, not least his brutal honesty : “2005 is not my cup of tea, a vintage characterised by a vegetal character.” This cuvée is a triumph of this difficult season and it’s been evolving into itself confidently since its release. True to the style of the house, there is a zesty vibrancy; an energetic freshness and an effortless grace here that’s rarely expressed by this vintage. Crunchy pear, apple and grapefruit are evolving into nougat, vanilla custard, toast and spice. It concludes in a dry, brittle, almond skin-like phenolic texture, characteristic of 2005, yet diminishing with time post-disgorgement, thanks to a creamy body, expressive chalk mineral texture, substance, complexity and succulence that go some way towards softening and elongating the finish