'L’Echappée Belle' translates to 'The Great Escape.' 70% of the base wine comes from the village of Grauves, known for its cooler microclimate. The vineyards were planted by Etienne’s grandparents, who are both from Grauves. Beginning in 2011, Etienne has kept a perpetual reserve just for this cuvée, and 30% of the final blend of 'L’Echappée Belle' is produced with reserve wine.
In 2010, at the age of 26, Etienne Calsac decided to take control of his grandparents’ three hectares of vineyards scattered in and around Avize, which had previously been rented out to the grandes maisons. Chez Calsac, stewardship of the terroir is the basis for great Champagne, so Etienne set out to ensure that all the vineyards are planted with grass cover crops, plowed, and transitioned to organic farming.
Etienne himself had worked several vintages helping with press before starting his own domaine, and he decided to maintain the same strict quality controls, as well as add a few personal touches inspired by tastings and conversations with other young vignerons. Each parcel is vinified separately, with a small percentage of wines aged in barrels. In addition to the perpetual reserve for his non-vintage cuvée ‘l’Echappée Belle,’ Calsac also keeps a separate reserve tank for the single-vineyard ‘Les Rocheforts.’
Calsac has an eye for experimentation and has released several limited cuvées, including a yearly vintage-dated Grand Cru from the Clos des Maladries in Avize, and ‘Les Revenants,’ a blend of Pinot Blanc, Arbanne, and Petit Meslier from a vineyard that Etienne planted himself in the Côte de Sezanne. With dynamic releases and impactful quality, the potential of the domaine is unlimited – though the highly sought-after wines are not.