Deutz is one of Champagne’s Grande Marques , the name the Champenoise give to the big houses in the region such as Moët Chandon, Taitinger, Bollinger, Veuve Cliquot, Pol Roger and the like. Founded in 1838 it was originally known as Deutz Geldermann, taking its name from founders William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann, both involved in the wine trade by profession. Deutz is located in the village of Ay, one of the 17 villages in Champagne to be awarded the very prestigious Grande Cru status.
Deutz owns 42 acres but through the strength of their relationships with top growers, the House is now producing 1.4 million bottles annually. Deutz now buys from top growers covering 160 hectares in top villages such as Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger, Avize, Ambonnay, Bouzy and Verzy. In 1983, Deutz was sold to the Rouzaud family that owns Louis Roederer. Ten years later, Deutz was made a part of the Roederer group which also owns star Northern Rhone producer Delas Freres.
Deutz utilizes all three grape varieties grown in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The Deutz signature is definitely one of elegance and therefore it came as a surprise to us to learn that the grape this House focuses on is the Pinot Noir, usually known to deliver a more powerful style of Champagne. But in their hands these Pinot dominant blends manage to produce intense flavours combined with a lightness that is most compelling. Perhaps this is achieved through no oak ageing; 100% of the vinification takes place in stainless steel.
Deutz produces several different cuvees: their classic NV Brut; NV Brut Rose; their Millésime, produced as a vintage Champagne in select years; their vintage Blanc de Blancs, made from 100% Chardonnay (including the 2002 which we tasted and found to be sublime); the Amour de Deutz and Amour de Deutz Rose, and finally their Tête de cuvée, the Cuvée William Deutz.
Made only in exceptional years, the Cuvée William Deutz utilizes grapes from their best plots. A typical vintage of the William Deutz would see 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier.
Medium to deep gold, this Champagne shows the colour that develops after 18 years of ageing. The fine and widely spaced bubbles reveal further evidence of its age. The nose is a beautiful array of bread dough, honey and almond notes. On the palate it quite literally caresses your mouth with its silky softness. The flavours are intense but the balance is so precise that an ethereal quality of lightness cannot help but be noticed. Lemon zest and citrus notes join in to balance the brioche character and keep it lively. There is good acidity remaining which suggests this wine could go on to see its 25th birthday in fine form.
(2006 vintage available at BC Liquor Stores for $149.99 +tax)