Alexandre Filaine is the Champagne house of Fabrice Gass, who was until recently employed as a winemaker at Bollinger. Fabrice began producing wines under the Filaine label while he was still working at Bollinger, though it is now a full-time project. He hails in from Damery, in the Montagne de Reims, where he works organically, no small feat in Champagne. A selection of his best grapes are used to create wines of remarkable balance, breadth and complexity. Fabrice is a lifelong tinkerer, which is readily evident in his cellar, where he still hand riddles, hand disgorges and hand administers dosage to all of his wines with some delightfully old-school tools. Fermentation is carried out with native yeasts in old, often exceptionally old barrels that he inherited from Bollinger.
Though the production methods at Alexandre Filaine might seem archaic in this region, he is no stranger to technology, Fabrice’s wines are unquestionably world class.
Alexandre Filaine ‘Speciale’ Brut shows plenty of weight and creaminess but it remains perfectly chiselled. This NV Champagne is defined by tension, drive, and energy and provides so much pleasure in every sip. There’s a lovely mousse, bold with a red-fruited, Montagne de Reims expression. The finish is long with notes of bread and brioche.
This may be our most exciting discovery in Champagne over the past 10 months. The only downside to these wines is their scarcity, as production at Filaine is generally just over 300 cases per vintage.