by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
Deutz, Then and Now
Earlier Voltaire had praised the effervescing wine of Ay, writing:
Tightly compressed within its crystal home,
Drives out the cork; 'midst laughter's joyous sound
It flies, against the ceiling to rebound.
1882—Another British visitor, Henry Vizetelly, says Deutz is "the largest Champagne establishment at Ay...Adjoining M. Deutz's chateau was the entrance to their splendid range of cellars, no less than seventeen feet wide, the same number of feet in height, and of the aggregate length of 2,200 yards...They are capable of containing several million bottles of Champagne."
"Those 100 acres of family vineyards produce a range which, from the humblest wines to the prestigious Cuvee William Deutz, bears the hallmark of outstanding winemaking." (Feuilly & Johnston)
To sum up, while Deutz also purchases some additional grapes, basically they've stayed small, sharp and dynamic. Here's a suggestion on how to explore that "outstanding winemaking." I'd start with these two, getting another couple to share the cost and the wine.
Incidentally, some of those chalk tunnels in Ay can be hazardous to your health. To reach them we descended the Roman-cut, narrow steps excitedly, until we realized we'd gone down many stories. After the tour, it was a long climb up! Mr. Deutz must have been in good shape.
Note: For much more about Deutz, see the April 23, 1998 article "This Is No Plain Champagne." If questions, phone Michelle Armour at (510) 286-2000, Oakland, CA.
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