Articulating from these visits how one grower-producer stands apart from another in their genius is a challenge. However, Raphaël Bérêche makes tossing around that word very, very easy for me. Tasting the entire range it's so crystal clear that there's a level of precision to these wines that's simply on a plane unto themselves. They are bottled with a little less pressure than many, bringing a more vinous sensibility. The suave texture and perfect harmony of their balance stands out immediately, above all.

On one hand, Rapha (yeah, we're trés tight now) is as adventurous as any vigneron I've come across, with a child-like joyous demeanor exuding enthusiasm at every turn in the cave. On the other hand, him and his brother, Vincent (who focuses in the vineyard) take an exacting approach to every detail in this domaine founded in 1847.

The nine hectares owned by Bérêche are farmed by ten full-time workers, an extremely unusual ratio. But, Rapha knows the quality in bottle will be dictated, above all, by the number of minutes each vine sees of hand working through the growing season.

The Bérêche estate also stands out for a vast array of terroir at their disposal. Starting at home base with the chalky soils of 1er Cru Ludes, ideal for Chardonnay (pictured below), all the way to the western Valée de la Marne and those heavier clay soils, where Pinot Noir and Meunier excel.

Coteaux Champenois Blanc 1er Cru Les Monts Fournois is the rarest wine from the domaine. A still, single vineyard Chardonnay, this wine from a surprisingly warmer vintage (2013) in Champagne has all of the chalky drive and crystalline personality that you'd imagine, but with a definitive weight that fleshes out on the palate and finishes very long. I've stashed many bottles in my cellar and always am amazed at the evolution from one year to the next, slowly picking up more deeper color, orchard fruit tones, but framed by wild acidity, nonetheless.

NV Brut Resérve is comprised of equal parts Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. The Premier Cru village Ludes in Montagne de Reims is where parcels of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are sourced to bring that nervosity from chalky soils. And the broader and richer tones come from Pinot Meunier and additional Chardonnay parcels from Mareuil le Port in the western Vallée de la Marne.

35% of the Brut Réserve comes from a perpetual blend of reserve wine and is supplemented with 65% from the harvest listed below. It's this reserve portion of the blend that brings a sense of grandeur perfectly suited to mesh with the more taut structure from the single vintage. Fermenation is split between 60% neutraul French oak barrels and 40% small vats, aging taking place in 600-liter neutral barrels. 

Remensis rosé comes from a single parcel in the Petite Montagne de Reims village of Ormes. 2/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Chardonnay, with all color coming from small addition of still wine. This has always been a favorite for its ginger and tangerine notes supported by beaming acidity and a precision rare to find in the world of rosé champagne. Today's offering features wines from the 2012 base vintage, the maturing in bottle has put this in a perfect spot where all of the notes are now more pronounced and expressive than I've ever tasted before, still finished by laser-focused salinity. 

Reflet d'Antan is as special as they come. Sourced from a solera started in 1985 by Rapha's father, Jean-Pierre. This is equal parts Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Each vintage 2/3 of each barrel is removed to blend with the Brut Reserve. "Reflection of yesteryear" tells the story of this esteemed producer, still showing the fine lacy texture and brimming energy that you will find with the youngest wines here.

2013 Bereche Coteaux Champenois Blanc 1er Cru Les Monts Fournois
$99 per bottle.
Special E-mail 3-Pack Pricing: $282 ($94/btl)

3x Bereche Brut Reserve NV
(12/13 Base, Disgorged 12/15)
$53 per bottle.

2x Bereche Brut Reserve NV
(13/14 Base, Disgorged 1/17)
$53 per bottle.

1x Bereche Brut Réserve Champagne NV 1.5L (2013 Base)
$119 per bottle.

12x Bereche Reflet D'Antan Brut NV
$128 per bottle.

14x Bereche Campania Remensis Extra Brut Rosé NV
(2012 base vintage, Disgorged 12/16)
$97 per bottle.