Semi-pro basketball player Aurélien Suenen made an about-face in the late 2000s, leaving basketball and returning to the family estate to help his ailing father. And he hasn’t looked back since. He farms five hectares of Chardonnay vines in the Côte des Blancs (in grand cruAOCs Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry), and Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay in the St. Thierry hills, due northwest of Reims. Approaching organic and sustainable viticulture with the same zeal as his athletic training, he has been seeing to the revitalization of his soils—implementing organic and some biodynamic practices with the aim of rejuvenating the land and local ecosystems. Aurélien is one of the 2% of producers in the Côte des Blancs to farm organically.
Heavily influenced by Burgundian winemaking, as well as the savoir-faire of mentors Pascal Agrapart and Anselme Selosse, he seeks slow, gentle, temperature-controlled vinifications and a separation of cuvees by individual parcel to achieve rich, ripe, layered, vibrant and mineral-driven champagnes. Beyond those memorable traits, Aurélien’s wines are filled with a character that goes beyond mere taste. Seeing how ardently he directs his passion, it is clear that these wines are destined for greatness.