Champagne village profile: Verzenay, a grand cru village in the Grande Montage de Reims

Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 418 ha (1032.9 acres), of which 86% Pinot Noir, 14% Chardonnay, and 0,6% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: Grand cru (100%)
Noted for: good Pinot Noir from north-facing slopes, and the Champagne museum in the Phare de Verzenay.

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow indicates other open terrain, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

West: Mailly-Champagne (grand cru)
Northnorthwest: Sillery (grand cru)
Northeast: Beaumont-sur-Vesle (grand cru)
Southeast: Verzy (grand cru cru)
Comment: the remaining link will be added when that profile has been uploaded.

View over Verzenay from the hill where the Phare de Verzenay is located. In the background, Le Moulin de Verzenay is visible on the top of the Mont-Bœuf hill. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Lomita, 2013).

The village

Verzenay is located in the middle of the slope on the north side of Montagne de Reims, between two hills that “stick out” from the slope.

The Verzenay commune has a surface of 1062 ha and 1053 inhabitants (as of 2011), known as bouquins and bouquines respectively. This somewhat strange nickname of the inhabitants, which isn’t directly related to the name of the village, may originate with a demand from an earlier Seigneur de Verzenay that the villagers should always bring a bouquet of flowers when coming into his presence.

During World War I, the village was partially destroyed since it was located very close to the front.

The Phare de Verzenay in the background and the village in the foreground. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Pline, 2012).

Phare de Verzenay

The lighthouse (Phare) that is located on the east side of the village, i.e., in the direction of Verzy, houses a Champagne museum worth visiting. The lighthouse – located on dry ground quite a bit from the closest shoreline, om a hill called Mont Rizan – was built in  1909 by Joseph Goulot to advertise his Champagne house. The sides of the buildings had big letters saying JOSEPH and GOULOT. After a few joyous years as a meeting point, the lighthouse served as an observation post during World War I, and then stood deserted for a long time. In 1987, the commune bought the lighthouse and in 1995 the remodeling of it into a museum was started. The museum was opened in 1999. Below a video clip showing the Phare de Verzenay:

Picture linked form Wikimedia Commons (photo Vassil, 2007)

Le Moulin de Verzenay

A characteristic windmill (moulin à vent) on the Mont-Bœuf hill just west of the village, i.e., in the direction of Mailly-Champagne, is today used for hospitality functions by the Champagne house Mumm. The windmill was built in 1818 and was used for milling until 1903. In 1923 it was purchased by Heidsieck & Co Monopole, and in 1949 they had the buildings renovated. In 1972, the windmill was purchased by Mumm.

Vineyards

The vineyards of Verzenay are on average north-facing, but the two flanking the village means that there are also some east- and west-facing slopes. The vineyards are dominated by Pinot Noir.

The current vineyard surface in the Verzenay commune is 418 hectares (1032.9 acres), distributed over 198 vineyard owners (exploitants). There are 358 ha Pinot Noir (86%), 57.3 ha Chardonnay (14%), and 2.4 ha Pinot Meunier (0.6%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 411 ha.

Champagne houses that control vineyards in the Verzeany includes Bollinger, Duval-Leroy, Moët & Chandon, Mumm, Roederer, and Taittinger.

Specific vineyard sites and vineyard-designated Champagnes

  • Blanc de Noirs Mumm de Verzenay is produced from grapes from the first vineyard (the name is not mentioned) that Georges Hermann Mumm bought in 1840, pressed in the first own press house of Mumm, bought in 1843.
  • Les Noues. Jean-Claude Mouzon produces an oaked blanc de noirs from this vineyard, under the designation Brut Intégral, with 2005 as the first vintege.

Vineyards next to Le Moulin de Verzenay. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Pline, 2012).

Champagne producers

Major Champagne houses, members of the Union des Maisons de Champagne

  • Chaudron, a house that earlier wrote Chaudron & Fils on the label. They also sell Champagnes under the brands:
    • Goulet
    • La Salle
  • Janisson & Fils, a Champagne house today run by Manuel Janisson, and which was founded in 1990 in its current form, but with a prehistory going back to 1923. In 2014, they moved into a newly built facility. The have about 10 ha vineyards of their own.
  • Eugène Ralle, a Champagne house founded in 1925, that was taken over by his grandson Pierre Arnould in 1955, and who also created his own. The house therefore also sells Champagnes under the brand:
    • Pierre Arnould

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name.

  • Michel Arnould & Fils (RM), a good producer with about 12 ha of vineyards in Verzenay with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. The sales volume in 2012 was 105 000 bottles, of which 55% was exported.
  • Arnould de Beaufort (RM), has vineyards in Verzenay, Verzy, Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Oger.
  • Pierre Berthon & Fils, has vineyards in Verzenay och Verzy.
  • Denis Bovière (RM), has 4 ha of vineyards and produces 25 000 bottles per year.
  • Bovière-Doria
  • Bovière-Périnet (RC)
  • Christian Busin (RM), member of Vignerons Indépedants, annual production is slightly more than 60 000 bottles.
  • Jacques Busin (RM), has mostly vineyards in Verzenay, but also inVerzy, Sillery, and Ambonnay.
  • Cappelle Charpentier
  • Daye Decotte was earlier located in Verzenay, but now seems to be in Mailly-Champagne and no longer produce themselves.
  • Jean-Yves De Carlini (RM), member of Vignerons Indépedants. Has 6.5 ha of vineyards and an annual production of about 75 000 bottles.
  • Louis Dousset (website being overhauled in Sep 2014, but can also be found on Facebook), has 10 ha of vineyards and an annual production of 50 000-90 000 bottles.
  • Duval-Charpentier (RM), has 5.5 ha of vineyards and an annual production of 25 000 bottles. Only Pinot Noir from Verzenay and no malolactic fermentation.
  • A. Francinet & Fils
  • Godmé Père et Fils (RM), member of Vignerons Indépedants. Has a bit more than 11 ha of vineyards in Verzenay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle, Verzy, Ville-Dommange (in Vesle & Ardre), and Villers-Marmery with 55% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier. The practice organic farming and aim for biodynamic certification (possibly in 2014). They produce a vineyard-deignated vintage Champagne (100% Chardonnay) from the vineyard Les Alouettes in Villers-Marmery, under the name Les Alouettes Saint Bets. Below a video clop that presents this producer:

  • Bernard Hatté (RM), has 10 ha of vineyards. Used to be a Special Club producer, but no longer seems to be a member. The last vintage of the Special Club that I have seen was a 2004 with the composition 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay.
  • Ludovic Hatté (RM), member of Vignerons Indépedants. Has 10 ha of vineyards in Verzenay, Verzy, Beaumont-sur-Vesle, and Sillery, as well as in the Vallée de l’Ardre (where they only grow Pinot Meunier). The most ambitious cuvées are called Charles-Louis Des Livry (100% Pinot Noir from Verzenay) and Gratien Hatté (100% Chardonnay from Montagne de Reims).
  • Marc Henriet (RM; Facebook seems to be used more actively than the website by this producer)
  • Michel Henriet (RM)
  • Jean Lallement et Fils (RM), has 4 ha of vineyards in Verzenay and Verzy. Annual production about 20 000 bottles.
  • Landragin
  • Jean-Paul Morel (RC), has 9 ha and an annual production of 20 000-30 000 bottles.
  • Jean-Claude Mouzon (RM), member of Vignerons Indépedants. Small amounts of oaked vintage Champagnes are produced under the designation Brut Intégral. The first was a blanc de blancs in the 2003 vintage. In the 2005 vintage, a blanc de noirs was added, produced from Pinot Noir from the vineyard Les Noues i Verzenay.
  • Pehu-Simonet (RM), has 6 ha of vineyards in Verzenay and neighbouring villages.
    Blog posts with tastings of Pehu-Simonet have been posted in 2013 and 2014. Below a video clip with David Pehu, where he talks about a vineyard used for his blanc de noirs.

  • Thierry Perrion (RM), a small producer with an annual production of about 8000 bottles. Their Champagnes consist of Pinot Noir from Verzenay and Chardonnay from Avize. (Their grapes from Trépail are sold.)
  • Emmanuel Pithois (RM; website not active in Sep 2014, but is connected to Maison des Vignes de Verzenay that rents out rooms), has 5 ha of vineyards in Verzenay, and an annual production of 30 000-35 000 bottles.
  • Michel Pithois (RM), blog, (website not active in Sep 2014). Has 4 ha of vineyards in Beaumont-sur-Vesle, Verzenay, Verzy, and Tauxières, as well as in Vavray-le-Grand and Val-de-Vière (two villages in Vitryat), with 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay.
  • Hervy Quenardel (RC), has 5.8 ha of vineyards in Verzenay, Verzy, and Sillery with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. Annual production about 40 000 bottles.
  • Quenardel & Fils (RM), has 8 ha of vineyards in Verzenay, Berru (in the Monts de Berru, northeast of Reims), Ludes, and Fontaine-Denis (in Sézannais). Annual production is about 75 000 bottles.
  • Jacques Rousseaux (RM), has 7 ha of vineyards.
  • Olivier Rousseaux (RM), member of Vignerons Indépedants. Has 4.9 ha of vineyards with 80% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay.
  • Rosseaux-Daye (RM)
  • Guy Thibaut (RM), has 2 ha of vineyards with 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay.
  • Vignon Père & Fils (RM), has 5 ha of vineyards.

Comment: There are supposed to exist 85 RM in Verzenay, so the list is not complete.

Cooperative

  • Coopérative Vinicole (à Verzenay), doesn’t seem to have a website.

Links

Video clip

A video clip from the 2011 harvest in Verzenay, at the Moulin de Verzenay:

© Tomas Eriksson 2014

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Champagne village profile: Trois-Puits, a premier cru village between Reims and Montagne de Reims

Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 40.1 hectares (99.1 acres), of which 59% Pinot Meunier, 32% Pinot Noir, and 9% Chardonnay.
Classification: Premier cru (94%)

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow indicates other open terrain, and orange is built-up areas.

Neighbouring villages

Northeast: Cormontreuil (premier cru)
East: Taissy (premier cru)
South: Montbré (premier cru)
Comment: the remaining link will be added when that profile has been uploaded.

The village

The church in Trois-Puits, Église Saint-Etienne. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Gérald Garitan, 2010).

The Trois-Puits commune covers 214 ha and has 153 inhabitants (as of 2011).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Trois-Puits consist of mild south-facing slopes below the actual Montagne de Reims slope, and are continuous with those in Montbré.

The current vineyard surface in the Trois-Puits commune is 40.1 hectares (99.1 acres), distributed over 21 vineyard owners (exploitants). There are 23.7 ha Pinot Meunier (59%), 12.7 ha Pinot Noir (32%), and 3.6 ha Chardonnay (9%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 41 ha.

Champagne producers

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name.

  • Pierre Baillette
  • Jean Baillette-Prudhomme (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with 5 ha vineyards and an annual production of 30 000 bottles. Their Brut Réserve consists of an impressive 50% of reserve wines, which is unusually much. It’s run by a trio of ladies (since the death of Jean Baillette in 2005), mother Marie-France Bailette and the two daughters Laureen and Justine. This led to this producer being profiled as one of seven parts of the documentary “Les Femmes & le Champagne, un Amour fou”, that was aired on TV by France 3 in December 2012. The video clip below is in French without subtitles:

  • Cousin-Bressy, is classed RC = cooperative member, but has photos on their website of how their own wine press is being installed, so it probably on the way to becoming RM.
  • Larnaudie-Gadret (RC), has 4 ha of vineyards.
  • Larnaudie-Hirault (RM), also called just “Larnaudie”. Has 6.5 ha of vineyards and an annual production of 40 000 bottles.
  • Trichet-Didier, has vineyards in Trois-Puis and Verzy as well as in Trigny and Hermonville in Massif de Saint Thierry. Also rents out rooms.

Comment: The list may not be complete.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014

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2011s from Lucien Le Moine – a small Burgundy house with top-class wine and one toe in southern Rhône

Lucien Le Moine is a small Burgundy négociant located in Beaune and one in a small circle often referred to as “luxury négociants”. This refers to producers/wine houses that purchase their grapes, but aims at only producing truly high-class wines. This usually means that the quantities are small, or even miniscule. This sets them apart from the regular wine houses/négociants, that usually have a large production where a high proportion consists of entry-level wines like Bourgogne Rouge and Bourgogne Blanc. Two other producers in the “luxury négociant” category are Dominique Laurent (who has been around longer than Lucien Le Moine) and Oliver Bernstein (more recently established). These and Lucien Le Moine differ quite a lot in style, such as in how obvious the oak barrel notes are in the wines, but if there is something that these producers have in common, it is a rather concentrated wine style that is more accessible as young than the typical Burgundy producer, and that they aren’t too shy about pricing.

Lucien Le Moine 20140218 Mounir S

Mounir Saouma talks about his wines when he visited Sweden in February 2014.

Lucien Le Moine was founded in 1999 by the couple Mounir Saouma and Rotem Brakin. Mounir Saouma was a Trappist monk and then became interested in Chardonnay och Pinot Noir. “Lucien” is derived from the meaning of “Mounir”, which means bringer of light, and “Le Moine” which means the monk, was the nickname of Mounir.

The raw material is bought in primarily from premier cru and grand cru vineyards in Côte d’Or, but there is also a small amount of Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne Rouge in their range. They produce 80 wines, but the total production is only 30 000-35 000 bottles per year since their cellar has a capacity of about 100 barrels. This means that for many of their wines, there is only one barrel per vintage, and about 300 bottles. Logistics- and marketing-wise, this sounds like a bit of a nightmare, but this is probably the way things often are in Burgundy for anyone “new” who wish to get access to grapes from top vineyards and fill up the cellar with only that quality level. In recent times that have also started to supplement their range with some wine from southern Rhône.

White wines are purchased in directly after pressing and are fermented and raised in their own cellar, while the red wines are bought in after maceration and fermentation, but are raised in oak in their cellar. All wines are stored on their lees during the entire time they spend in oak, and the lees are stirred upp rather frequently (but at intervals adapted to the vintage character), so-called battonage. There are no rackings to remove the lees. They aim to delay the malolactic fermentation as long as possible, to the summer they year after harvest. This provides some protection to the wines through the carbon dioxide that is developed during the malolactic fermentation, which means that they can manage with a very low addition of sulfur. The wines are neither fined nor filtered before bottling, which takes place by gravity. This handling means that some carbon dioxide remains in the wines, and the producer therefore recommends that all their wines are decanted before serving.

The handling of oak at Lucien Le Moine deserves a comment. They only source oak from Jupilles in northwestern France, where the oak fibers are unusually tight. This makes the oak barrels a bit more neutral and means that they give off less aromas. So although they use new oak, this is not as apparent as is sometimes the case with other producers.

Lucien Le Moine 20140218 glas

The Swedish importer of Lucien Le Moine is Wineworld, and is part of Vingruppen. In February this year, they invited to a very rewarding tasting of some 2011s from Lucien Le Moines together with Mounir Saouma.

White from Burgundy

The white 2011s were all “foody” with good body, and also showed good acidity, which means that they had balance and freshness. They also showed rather developed notes, and came across as rather ready to drink. Rather noticeable buttery notes could be found in most of them. I got the impression that this wasn’t only due to the use of oak, but that the use of battonage and ripe Chardonnay grapes contributes.

Mounir said that their white wines are darker in colour than most other white Burgundies, but that they stay the same colour when cellared further.

Lucien Le Moine 20140218 vita 2011

2011 Meursault 1er Cru Perrières

Nose with butter, yellow apples, some hazelnuts, zest, and mineral; classical and somewhat developed. The impression is that we’re not just talking about “oak barrel buttery notes” but a note that is derived from both ripe grapes and such development that come normally with time. Palate with ripe yellow apples, some winter apples, citrus, mineral, high acidity, good concentration, and a long aftertaste with citrus and acidity. 91 p

This wine has slightly “heavy” profile and is open for business with rather classical Meursault style in general, rather than how (young) Meursault Perrières often is, which too me means more tight and mineral-packed.

2011 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières

Nose with butter, ripe yellow apples, some winter apples, peach, discrete nutty note, some zest, mineral, slightly flowery. Gives an impression of development and maturity, and show most oxidation notes of the four white. Palate with yellow apples, winter apples, some cider and Sherry character (in a positive sense), noticeable minerality and a long aftertaste. Classical, comes across as developed already. 92 p

2011 Corton Blanc Grand Cru

Nose with apple, freshly cut pear, white peach and rather discrete oak notes with a buttery note that was rather discrete in the beginning but grew with time in the glass, as well as some mineral and flowery notes. Palate with yellow apples, butter, powerful concentration, good acidity, citrus, good minerality, and a long aftertaste with mineral. A good and powerful wine, but doesn’t quite reach the same level of elegance as the Corton-Charlemagne, mainly due to the finish. 91 p

2011 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

Powerful nose with butter, ripe yellow apple, peach, spice, some mineral, and some development. Palate with citrus, apple, noticeable minerality, powerful concentration, high acidity, fine finish and aftertaste. More minerality on the palate than in the nose, more butter and spice notes than the Corton Blanc. Classical style with fine elegance, 93 p.

Red from Burgundy

In general the red 2011s had a nose that is somewhat typical for the vintage and that to me indicate a “tough minerally style”. The didn’t show any obvious green notes, as some 2011s do, although some hints may have been hiding the background. The wines grew in the glass and showed better with food than on their own, which is always a good sign of quality and sign that they should respond well to cellaring.

The 2011s from Lucien Le Moine in my opinion clearly demonstrate how the 2011 vintage behaves differently on the white and the red side, where the white are more ripe and accessible in a more “drink now or soon” type of style, while the reds are much more firm and meant for cellaring. To me, high-end red 2011s aren’t generally in a style meant for drinking now (in difference from 2009 and 2010 that showed more charm and accessibility directly on release, although we all like to have a lot of 2010 for the cellar as well), but I have understood that there are those who prefer very firm Burgundies who are of a different opinion than I am.

Lucien Le Moine 20140218 röda 2011

2011 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Charmes

Rather discrete nose with cherries, some spice, noticeable minerality with a certain “tough stoniness” that I consider typical for 2011. Palate with cherries, noticeable minerality, high acidity, and a slightly tough style. A very mineral-dominated wine, comes across as quite young, 90 p?

2011 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru

Nose with ripe cherries, dark fruit, some impression of sweetness of fruit, some spice and mineral. Palate with good concentration and fine sweetness of fruit, ripe sweet strawberries with cherries, and some tannin that shows a bit of a tough profile. A well polished and rather young wine, 93 p.

Charmes-Chambertin was that of the red wines that I found to be in least need of cellaring to show, well, charm, although time in cellar definitely won’t harm it. It also had the darkest notes and most powerful nose of the four reds.

2011 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru

Nose with ripe cherries, strawberries, mineral, spice notes and some tough “2011-typical” notes. Palate with good concentration, strawberries and cherries, quite pronounced minerality, and a distinct toughness in the palate with a high acidity. Young and at present rather tough, 92 p.

2011 Échezeaux Grand Cru

Nose with ripe strawberries, cherries, flowery notes, some spice, and well integrated oak notes. Palate with good concentration, quite mineral-dominated, red berries and some dark berries in the background, slightly tough style and with a high acidity. Young and at present slightly tough, 92 p.

Lucien Le Moine 20140218 Rhône

Rhône wines

The Lucien Le Moine range nowadays also includes some wines from southern Rhône. We tasted one white and two reds, of which one red was a 2010. The label doesn’t actually say Lucien Le Moine, but rather Rotem & Mounir Saouma, so the Rhône wines are handled in a separate firm.

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Magis (white)
80% Grenache Blanc, 24 months in oak.

Nose with white peach, butter, some oak, mineral, and discrete flowery aromas. Slightly oily palate with good concentration, yellow apple, white peach, mineral, freshness, and a medium acidity. 91 p

This wine definitely showed some similarities to the white Burgundies from Lucien Le Moine, including some notes of maturity, so the philosophy of this wine house comes through also when they produce wine at another address.

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Omnia (red)
A blend of all allowed grape varieties from several different vineyards.

Nose with ripe red berries, beetroot!, some dark berries, spice notes, slightly flowery, a rather “nice” and berry-dominated Châteauneuf-du-Pape nose. Palate with ripe red berries, good concentration, a light fiery note, good acidity, medium tannins, fresh aftertaste. Young, but with good freshness, 90 p.

2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Arioso (red)
3 year in oak.

Nose with dark berries, blackberries, liquorice, graphite, tar, spice notes, noticeable but well integrated oak. Palate with ripe dark and red berries, powerful concentration, finely integrated sweetness of fruit, good acidity, medium(+) tannins of a velvety character, and a long aftertaste with tart berries. Definitely impressive, 93 p.

Lucien Le Moine 20140218 Mounir S fotas av BLH

Mounir ibeing photographed next to his bottles by another blogger who didn’t want to be in my picture.

Swedish version

Posted in 2011, Burgundy, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Pinot Noir, Rhône | Leave a comment

Champagne village profile: Cormontreuil, a premier cru village in the Grande Montagne de Reims and suburb of Reims

Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 5.4 ha, of which 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
Classification: Premier cru (94%)
Noted for: being a suburb on the south side of Reims.

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow indicates other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

Southwest: Trois-Puits (premier cru)
Southeast: Taissy (premier cru)

The town hall (Mairie) of Cormontreuil. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2011).

The village

Cormontreuil is a suburb of Reims, located on the southern side of the city, and continuous with the built-up metropolitan area.

The Cormontreuil commune has a surface of 462 ha and counts 5999 inhabitants (as of 2011) called cormontreuillois and cormontreuilloises.

Vineyards

The vineyards are located in the southern part of the commune and are a continuation of those in the neighbouring village of Taissy.

The current vineyard surface in the Cormontreuil commune is 5.4 hectares (13.3 acres), distributed over 6 vineyard owners (exploitants). There are 2.7 ha Chardonnay (50%) and 2.7 ha Pinot Noir (50%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 5 ha.

Champagne producers

I have not found any Champagne producers in Cormontreuil.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014, last updated 2014-09-20

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Champagne village profile: Taissy, a premier cru village in the Grande Montagne de Reims and suburb of Reims

Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 145.9 ha (360.5 acres), of which 38% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Meunier, and 26% Pinot Noir.
Classification:
 Premier cru (94%)
Noted for: The location of Thiénot’s production, but mostly for being a suburb on the southeastern side of Reims.

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow indicates other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

West: Trois-Puits (premier cru)
Northwest: Cormontreuil (premier cru)
Southeast: Puisieulx (grand cru)
South: Ludes (premier cru)
Southwest: Rilly-la-Montagne (premier cru)
Westsouthwest: Montbré (premier cru)
Comment: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The town hall (Mairie) of Taissy. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2012).

The village

The Taissy village is continuous with Reims and its other southeastern suburbs.

The Taissy commune covers 1153 ha and a major highway junction, and counts 2305 inhabitants (as of 2011) referred to as taissotins and taissotines.

Château de Taissy. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2012).

Vineyards

The vineyards, that are located in the southwestern part of the commune, consist of north-facing slopes on the lower parts of the Montagne de Reims slope.

The current vineyard surface in the Taissy commune is 145.9 hectares (360.5 acres), distributed over 29 vineyard owners (exploitants). There are 54.9 ha Chardonnay (38%), 53 ha Pinot Meunier (36%), and 38 ha Pinot Noir (26%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 146 ha.

Champagne house that control vineyards in Taissy include Cattier and Moët & Chandon.

Champagne producers

Major Champagne houses, members of the Union des Maisons de Champagne

  • Marie Stuart is owned by Groupe Thiénot since 1994, but since they have no production facilities of their own today, these are shared with Champagne Thiénot (see below), i.e., partly in Taissy and partly in Reims.
  • Thiénot has a large facility in Taissy, but also a facility on a more posh address in Reims. Champagne Thiénot was founded in 1985 by Alain Thiénot and was called Champagne Alain Thiénot until 2002. The house is part of Groupe Thiénot, which is also the owner of the houses Joseph Perrier (in Chalons-en-Champagne), Canard-Duchêne (in Ludes) and Marie Stuart (see above). The top cuvée La Vigne aux Gamins is sourced from a vineyard in Avize.

Champagne growers

  • Barthelemy was formerly located in Taissy, but can be found in Pierry since July 2013.
  • Olivier Brochet (RM, i.e., a champagne grower-producer), specifies “Caves à Taissy” on the label but also an address in Reims.

Comment: The list is probably not complete.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014

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Champagne village profile: Puisieulx, a grand cru village in the Grande Montagne de Reims

Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 18.8 ha (46.5 acres), of which 53% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay, and 14% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: Grand cru (100%)
Noted for: Being one of the rather anonymous grand cru villages, the pronunciation of which is difficult to decipher for non-French speakers.

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow indicates other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

East and southeast: Sillery (grand cru)
South: Mailly-Champagne (grand cru)
Southwest: Ludes (premier cru)
West: Taissy (premier cru)
Comment: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The village

The town hall (mairie) of Puisieulx. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2011).

The Puisieulx village is located on flatter land below the actual Montagne de Reims slope, where the neighbours Mailly-Champagne and Ludes are located, and it is close to the A4 highway.

The Puisieulx commune covers 907 ha, has a oblong shape, and counts 383 inhabitants (as of 2011), called puisieutins and puisieutines.

In the northern part of the commune, close to the D944 road, we find Fort de la Pompelle, a fortification from the 1870s that was used during World War I. Since 1972, this fort is a museum.

Fort de la Pompelle. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Les Meloures, 2007).

Vineyards

The vineyards consist of mild southeast-facing slopes and are located in the southern part of the commune, and are all in a block that stretch across the border to Sillery.

The current vineyard surface in the Puisieulx commune is 18.8 hectares (46.5 acres), distributed over 35 vineyard owners (exploitants). There are 10 ha Pinot Noir (53%), 6 ha Chardonnay (32%), and 2.7 ha Pinot Meunier (14%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 19 ha.

Champagne producers

Champagne growers

  • François Chaumont (RM = champagne grower-producer) is located in the Œuilly village in the Vallée de la Marne, but has all of their 5 ha (2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay) in Puisieulx. François Chaumont seem to produce the only monocru Champagnes from Puisieulx. François Chaumont is married to Marie-Hélène Littière, daughter of the champagne producer Michel Littière in Œuilly, which is the reason why the production takes place there, after having previously been done at a cooperative.
  • Ludovic Dumont (RC = cooperative member) seems to have been located in Puisieulx earlier, but can now be found in Chigny-les-Roses.
  • Michel Duval (RC)

Comment: The list is probably not complete.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014

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Champagne village profile: Sillery, a grand cru village in the Grande Montage de Reims

Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 91.9 ha (227.1 acres), of which 57.5% Chardonnay, 33.2% Pinot Noir, and 9.3% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: Grand cru (100%)
Noted for: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from grand cru-classified vineyards, once upon a time one of the best known Champagne villages.

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow indicates other open terrain, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

West: Puisieulx (grand cru)
Southwest: Mailly-Champagne (grand cru)
South: Verzenay (grand cru)
Southeast: Beaumont-sur-Vesle (grand cru)
Comment: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The yacht port of Sillery, located in the Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2012).

The village

The Sillery village is located on the more flat land below the actual Montagne de Reims slope, on the other side of the A4 highway.

The Sillery commune consists of 920 ha and has 1637 inhabitants (as of 2011) called sillerotins and sillerotines.

In the southern part of the commune, there are grand cru-classified vineyards that border to those of Verzenay and Mailly-Champagne. Most owners of vineyards in Sillery are found in other villages.

In former times Sillery was a more well-known Champagne village than it is today. In his 1875 book, Facts About Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines, Henry Vizetelly describes Aÿ and Sillery as the two villages that are best known abroad, but this apparently only lasted until about this time, the late 19th century, in the case of Sillery. It seems that the renown of the Sillery wines was created already in the 17th century, by the Brûlart de Sillery family and their Château de Sillery. At this time, the style of wines produced in Champagne were still wines. The last owner in the direct line was a lady called Adelaïde, maréchale d’Estrées (died in 1785), and the wines from her time were called Clos de la maréchale. What was then called Sillery wines were most likely sourced from the entire northern side of the Montagne de Reims rather than from just the Sillery village. After the French Revolution, the former vineyards of Brûlart were sold to Moët and Ruinart.

View of the Montage de Reims with the eastern, mostly industrial part of Sillery in the foreground. Rather far to the right, the Phare de Verzenay lighthouse is visible, and to the far right the Verzenay village. Just to the left of the middle, the Verzy village is situated in the slope. The main part of the vineyards in the picture are located in the Verzy. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2012).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Sillery have mild northeast-facing slopes, and are located in the southern part of the commune, a smaller part at the border to Puisieulx, and a larger part at the border to Verzenay and Mailly-Champagne. Just as these three neighbours, Sillery is classified grand cru.

The current vineyard surface in the Sillery commune is 91.9 hectares (227.1 acres), distributed over 35 vineyard owners (exploitants). There are 52.9 ha Chardonnay (57.5%), 30.5 ha Pinot Noir (33.2%), and 8.7 ha Pinot Meunier (9.3%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 92 ha.

A Champagne house that control vineyards in Sillery is Moët & Chandon.

Specific vineyard sites and vineyard-designated Champagnes

  • Les Champs de Romont is one of the vineyards from which Moët & Chandon has formerly produced a vineyard-designated Champagne, in the box La Trilogie des Grands Crus (that I haven’t seen on the market for a couple of years now). Curiously enough, Moët’s about 8 hectares in this vineyard apparently consist of Pinot Meunier, which means that this vineyard contain almost all Pinot Meunier in Sillery. There is rather little Pinot Meunier in the grand cru villages, and finding a varietal Meunier grand cru is quite rare. My guess is that the grapes from this vineyard usually goes into vintage Moët, since Dom Pérignon doesn’t contain any Pinot Meunier. Moët has owned this vineyard since 1807.

Champagne producers

Champagne houses/négociants

  • Virginie T., run by Virginie Taittinger, has a winery in Sillery since October 2013, but it doesn’t seem to have been inaugurated until 2014. The Champagnes have formerly been produced by other producenter, and the company still has its main address in Paris, but is reasonably in the process of becoming a négociant-manipulant.

Champagne growers

  • Collin-Guillaume (RC = cooperative member), has 8.5 ha of vineyards, of which some in Barséquanais and Vitryat. Also has a small amount of the unusual grape varieties Arbanne and Petit Meslier.
  • David Floquet
  • Fresnet-Baudot (RM), has vineyards in Verzy, Mailly-Champagne, and Sillery, with 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay. The range includes a Sillery Rouge.
  • Jean Langlais
  • François Secondé (RM), a member of Vignerons Independants. Has 5.5 ha of vineyards in Sillery, Mailly-Champagne, Puilsieux, and Verzenay, with 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay. They are apparently the only current producer of monocru Champagne from Sillery, in the shape of a vintage blanc de blancs and a non-vintage blanc de noirs. They also produce still Sillery Blanc (a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and Sillery Rouge.

Comment: the status as récoltant-manipulant (RM), i.e., genuine Champagne growers-producers, has not been verified for all of these. All small producers are placed under this heading when there is no other information. The list is probably not complete.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014

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