Isabelle and Franck Pascal run a 4 ha biodynamic vineyard in the village of Baslieux-sur-Chatillon on the right bank of the Marne river.
Franck began his estate in 1994 when he left his job as an industrial engineer in Clermont-Ferrand and returned home Baslieux-sur-Chatillon. Within a few days he realized that he needed his own estate rather than work with his father, Claude Pascal. When Franck started his estate he was already convinced that that the viticulture had to be biodynamic because as a scientist while in the army performing his national service he studied the effects of chemical warfare on soldiers and he recognized that many of the compounds causing horrendous human suffering were related to the chemicals routinely applied to vineyards. He fully converted his vines to biodynamics in 2000 and is currently certified as such.
With the introduction of biodynamics he saw his soils rejuvenated with a greater diversity of microrganic life, healthier grapes with riper tannins, fruit with balanced sugars and acids and wines with a salty minerality that were less prone to oxidation. His vineyards are composed mainly of Pinot Meunier (73%) with Pinot Noir (20%) and Chardonnay (7%) playing a minor role in the vines and a slightly more important role in the cellar. The soils have a lot of sticky clay and after a trip to one of the vineyards where we were all mired in it we could all appreciate this description. There are occlusions of flint, limestone and conglomerates in the soil but the roots of the vines tend to be on the shallow side, especially if they're farmed conventionally so his farming practices have encouraged his vines to dig deeper into the calcareous sub-soil. Pascal makes his own biodynamic compost of 1/3 to 1/6 animal manure (horse and cow) with the remainder vegetable matter. He hope to convert entirely to vegetable matter in the coming years feeling that it boosts the mineral uptake in his vines.
Low yields are the rule in order to obtain the best quality and the vinification processes are natural to allow a Champagne with a great personality.