Sister-and-brother owners Anne and Antoine Malassagne are the great-grandchildren of Armand-Raphaël Graser who founded AR Lenoble in 1920. For nearly a century, AR Lenoble has remained 100% family-owned and 100% independent.
In 1993, Anne and Antoine started to transform the house they inherited from their father and in just over twenty years, they have quietly yet confidently transformed AR Lenoble into one of the jewels of the Champagne region.
Lots of producers talk about the involvement of certain family members but downplay the investors and shareholders actually running the company. On the other hand, AR Lenoble is entirely independent, meaning we only answer to ourselves. We are not in any rush to release our wines too early before they are ready. Every single cent is reinvested back into the company. Unlike many other producers in Champagne, AR Lenoble is able to guarantee the long-term perennial stability of our commercial strategy.
AR Lenoble believes very strongly in privileging the characteristic expression of fruit from its own vineyards located in three prime locations in Champagne:
CHOUILLY, the northernmost Grand Cru village located on the celebrated Côte des Blancs (10 hectares are estate-owned by AR Lenoble) and home of some of the most magnificent Chardonnay in all of Champagne.
BISSEUIL, the Premier Cru village located between Mareuil-sur-Ay and Tours-sur-Marne (6 hectares are estate-owned by AR Lenoble) and home of rich and structured Pinot Noir.
DAMERY, the site of AR Lenoble since 1920, located to the immediate east of Cumières. The village is home to some elegant and expressive Pinot Meunier due to soils that are a combination of clay and limestone. AR Lenoble is fortunate enough to own 2.5 hectares.
Ploughing is routinely practiced in our vineyards to make sure that our plants are able to obtain the maximum of nutrition from the soils. We let the grass grow in our vineyards in order to reduce yields on purpose. Our yields are significantly lower than the average yields in Champagne, year after year. We control the date we begin picking in each of our parcels to consistently obtain ideal ripeness. AR Lenoble was the second House in Champagne to be awarded the “Haute Valeur Environnementale” certification in recognition of more than 20 years of environmentally-friendly procedures put in place on the estate: zero use of chemical fertilisers, practically zero use of weed killer, drastic limits on the use of phytosanitary inputs to control mildew and powdery mildew in the vineyar, and particular attention to biodiversity and enhancement of the vineyard with hedgerows, orchards, embankments, trees and low walls.
A parcellaire approach which begins in the vineyard is followed by a vinification adapted to the harvest and to the parcel, meaning that our wines are ‘made to measure’ in every sense of the word. A combination of different vinification vessels are employed so that individual parcels are fermented accordingly in small Burgundy barrels of 225 litres, 5000-litre foudres, stainless steel tanks and/or enamel-lined tanks. All reserve wines are conserved in either small Burgundy barrels of 225 litres or 5000-litre foudres. Malolactic fermentation is done or not done according to parcel and year however it is never done for vinified or aged under wood. Evaluation of the different vinified parcels begins in December and lasts for a period of six months. Once the blends and wines are decided, bottling takes place. Bottles are aged underneath the winery in the historic 18th century cellars. A constant temperature of 11°C and a humidity level of 85% ensure that the wines are aged in only the most pristine conditions. Long periods of ageing is mandated for all wines, never less than three years.
AR Lenoble was an early advocate of limiting dosage in order to let the terroir express itself purely and precisely. We don’t believe in low dosage as a “marketing trick”. For each wine it is a question of finding the right balance. We have taken a lot of time to determine the right dosage and have decided for most of our wines, dosage is never more than a maximum of 6g/l. AR Lenoble Brut Nature Dosage Zéro was first released more than 15 years ago and is considered to be one of the first world-class examples of this style of wine.
We are constantly experimenting in an attempt to craft better and better wines each year and have a very empirical approach to winemaking in order to adapt ourselves to the quality of the grapes.
Although many of the earliest producers of Champagne arrived in the region from Germany during the 18th and 19th centuries, Armand-Raphaël Graser arrived in Champagne from his native Alsace in 1915 in the middle of the First World War. He started producing champagne in 1920, two years after the end of the war. Not wanting to have a German-sounding last name at that particular moment in history, he christened his wines “Lenoble” as he believed the wines of Champagne to be the most noble wines in France; his initials “AR” preceded the “Lenoble” and a new name was born! Since the beginning, AR Lenoble has believed very strongly in privileging the characteristic expression of fruit from its own vineyards located in three prime locations in Champagne.
Anne and Antoine Malassagne
Sister-and-brother owners Anne and Antoine Malassagne are the great-grandchildren of Armand-Raphaël Graser. They took over in 1993 from their father and in just over twenty years, they have quietly yet confidently transformed AR Lenoble into one of the jewels of the Champagne region. Anne and Antoine manage every aspect of the business personally, supported by a team of 12 individuals spread between the vineyards, the winery and the offices. They complement each other perfectly, Antoine having a natural capacity to take care of the vineyards and craft the wines while Anne naturally finds herself drawn to administrative management and communication. Both of them travel the world extensively. AR Lenoble is 100% family-owned and 100% independent. We do not answer to anyone except ourselves.