De Sousa Champagne house is using the latest creation by Taransaud, the French barrel-maker that specialises in large casks. Taransaud has designed an egg-shaped barrel called Ovum, using proportions based on the ‘golden ratio’.
The design, a technical feat and aesthetic achievement, won an award for innovation from the French wood industry. From an oenological point of view, the cask performs well. Comparative tests carried out by the Bordeaux University Oenology Department and the R&D Department at Taransaud on a Graves Grand Cru Classé, in Léognan, showed that wine matured in the Ovum cask offered a higher intensity of fruit characteristics than wine matured in classic barrels. The tests concluded that wine aged in Ovum is characterised by great purity, harmony and woody notes creating a complex bouquet. The wine has a lively palate, is supple and very long in the mouth.
Erick de Sousa comments: “I was immediately seduced by this innovation and was delighted to acquire the latest model of this cask. De Sousa is also the only Champagne house to use casks of this type.
“I was attracted by the quality of the product that appears to correspond to the quality I require of my Champagnes, bringing more ‘fat’ and roundness to them and gaining in depth and length in mouth. We started this year with the cuvée 3A and will switch to the cuvee Mycorhize if Ovum lives up to all its promises.”
It was back in 1986 that Erick de Sousa, representing the third generation, took over the reins of the family business based in Avize, in the heart of the Côte desBlancs. His vineyard of 9.5 hectares brings together the finest Grand Cru Chardonnay classified vineyards (Avize, Oger, Cramant and Le Mesnil sur Oger) but also Pinot Noir (Ay and Ambonnay).
Passionate about local produce and his region, Erick de Sousa, helped by his children, has long been engaged in organic viticulture, and, as a strong supporter of natural practices, is a pioneer of biodynamics, working some of the vines with a horse, using rock crystal to improve soil quality. A respect for vines and the land passed from generation to generation, which leaves its mark on de Sousa Champagne and gives it its remarkable and noticeable qualities.
2 April 2016 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor