Jean-Paul Hébrart took over the operations of Marc Hébrart Champagne in the Vallée de la Marne from his father Marc in 1997. This estate is not exactly new: Jean-Paul’s father has been producing champagne under the Marc Hébrart name since 1964 and has been a member of the Special Club since 1984. Hébrart farms 14 hectares of vines on 65 different sites in 6 villages. His Pinot Noir comes from the great 1er Cru vineyards of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Avenay, Val d’Or and Bisseuil and his Chardonnay from the Grand Crus Chouilly and Oiry in the Côte des Blancs. Each parcel is always vinified separately in glass lined stainless steel and ceramic tanks. He is slowly phasing out the ceramic as it is more difficult to control the temperature. Hébrart is also experimenting barrel fermentation and indigenous yeast fermentation for some of his older vine parcels.
Using these new techniques Jean-Paul has made an alternative Téte de Cuvee (2004 vintage dated) called Rive Gauche-Rive Droite, named for the sites on both sides of the Marne that comprise the blend. These old vine parcels are fermented and aged in 205 liter four year old barrique (without battonage) before being bottled sur latté. Jean-Paul hand selects grapes, uses a Bucher press, and is experimenting with fermentation in petite cuvee. Hébrart doesn’t block malolactic fermentation and does all remuage by hand.
Peter Liem writes of Champagne Hébrart on Champgneguide.net: “Hébrart’s wines have a broad appeal: if you like to think about your wines, they’re intellectually engaging enough to satisfy you; on the other hand, if you’re just looking to drink, they’re simply delicious. The wines are full and generous without being weighty, complex and soil-driven without being demanding. Overall, the entire range is of consistently high quality, and represents excellent value for the money.”
Hébrart represents a departure from the other producers in this portfolio, for Jean-Paul’s wines marry the top Pinot Noir sites of the Vallée de la Marne with Grand Cru Chardonnay sites in the Côte des Blancs. More similar to the philosophy of Gimonnet than to that of Larmandier-Bernier, Hébrart’s wines are buoyant and lithe with deft integrations of minerality and juicy fruit.