Barberry Garden

A wine corner in a crazy world


De Sousa

Champagne De Sousa, with its roots firmly planted in the historic vineyards of the Côte des Blancs, embodies a legacy that spans over half a century. The family's deep connection to the land and commitment to sustainable viticulture are evident in every aspect of their winemaking. Erick De Sousa, taking over the reins, has been a transformative figure, integrating the family's ingrained values of soil respect, work ethic, and innovation into a modern vision for the domaine.

Nestled in the renowned Grand Cru villages of Avize, Cramant, and Oger, Champagne De Sousa has established itself as a producer of exceptional quality. The vineyards, some of the oldest in the Côte des Blancs, are cultivated with a focus on organic farming. This approach, certified in Organic Farming since 2010 and Demeter since 2013, reflects Erick De Sousa's philosophy of nurturing the vines to express the unique characteristics of their terroir.

The vines of De Sousa, with their deep-rooted "pivots," delve into the chalky soils up to 12 meters deep. This profound rooting system allows the vines to absorb a rich array of minerals and trace elements, imparting a distinct minerality and complexity to the grapes. The deeper rooting also distances the vines from surface-level fertilizers, ensuring a natural intake of nutrients and guaranteeing the quality of the grapes.

The De Sousa vineyard, established before 1890, spans 11 hectares and consists of 42 different lots, all resting on 100% chalk geology. The vineyard composition reflects a thoughtful balance of grape varieties: 30% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier, and 60% Chardonnay, with an average vine age of over 45 years. The domaine's approach to pruning, including Chablis and Cordon de Royat methods, along with a careful yield management strategy, ensures the health and vitality of the vines.

In the cellar, Erick De Sousa's commitment to capturing the essence of each parcel is evident. The winemaking process respects the natural characteristics of the grapes, with vinification in coated steel vats and small oak barrels for older vines. This method enhances the wine's complexity while preserving the soil's authenticity. Fermentation is carefully controlled at 18°C, and indigenous yeasts are used to maintain the wine's unique profile. The wines are bottled without filtration, and remuage (riddling) is performed manually, adding to the meticulous nature of the production process.

The De Sousa family's history is interwoven with the vineyards themselves. From Manuel, Erick's Portuguese grandfather who settled in Avize after the harrowing experiences of World War I, to Erick's father, a prisoner of war during World War II, their stories of resilience and connection to the land are integral to the domaine's identity. This history is not merely a backdrop but a driving force that inspires their approach to winemaking.

Today, Champagne De Sousa is renowned for its minerally driven, complex, and nuanced Champagnes, a direct result of the family's dedication to expressing the terroir's unique qualities. Erick De Sousa's visionary approach, coupled with a deep respect for tradition and the environment, positions Champagne De Sousa as a distinguished producer, crafting wines that are not only a reflection of their prestigious terroir but also a tribute to the family's enduring legacy in the Côte des Blancs.