A longtime grower, José Dhondt produced his first cuvée in 1974. His five hectares of vineyard are divided almost equally between the Côte des Blancs and the Côte de Sézanne, which is also predominately planted to Chardonnay. Unsurprisingly, sublime, elegant Blanc de Blancs is José’s main focus. All of his Pinot Noir from the Sézannais vineyard goes into his Rosé de Saignée, a deeply pure Pinot rosé that drinks almost like a red wine.
José does severe debudding to keep his production low and the concentration high. Meticulous sorting ensures that only the best grapes are used. The Dhondt family uses a traditional vertical wood press, which permits very slow and fine pressing. They do only one “retrousse” (breaking up of the cake press between cycles) on the first pressing, to keep as much freshness as possible and to avoid any oxidation. They also have small stainless-steel temperature-controlled tanks. Fermentation takes roughly three weeks. Vinification is done in small tanks, allowing the origin of each vineyard to be kept separate.