Armand-Raphael Graser was a wine trader. He left his native Alsace, in enemy hands at the time, and moved his family to safety in the Champagne region. He set up in the town of Damery, in an 18 th -century building which is still the company headquarters today, and started to produce champagne, sold from 1920 onwards under the brand name ‘AR Lenoble’ A.R. stood for Armand-Raphael and Lenoble was a tribute to the nobility of Champagne wines. Armand-Raphael, who died accidentally in the vat-house in 1947, was succeeded by his son Joseph Graser. When he retired in 1973, Jean-Marie Malassagne, the founder’s grandson, took over the business. Combining his activities as a winegrower and his profession as a doctor, he managed the house alone until the 1990’s, when Champagne was hit hard by the crisis. It was becoming necessary to work full-time to run the firm and so, in October 1993, Anne Malassagne, the great-granddaughter of Armand-Raphaël returned to the family firm to support her father. She was joined by her brother Antoine 3 years later. The fourth generation is now firmly established.
This is an elegant Champagne with a dominance of Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs providing soft nutty flavour with fine bubbles and a fruity bouquet. This is a crowd-pleaser, with notes of pastry dough, crushed black currant, kumquat and fresh ginger. It is fresh, light, lively and well balanced on the palate with a long satisfying finish.