Reims – the largest city in Champagne, part 1

Diagram Reims 201506Key facts

Located in subregion/area: Montagne & Val de Reims / Vesle et Ardre
Vineyards and grape varieties: 55.5 hectares (137.1 acres), of which 38% Chardonnay, 34% Pinot Meunier, and 28% Pinot Noir.
Classification: “Autre cru” (88%)
Noted for: the largest city in or close to the Champagne wine region, many major Champagne houses including Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, the three Heidsieck houses, Lanson, Mumm, and Taittinger, the Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral.

The profile is divided into three parts
Part 1: Basic facts
Part 2: Major Champagne houses, members of the Union des Maisons de Champagne
Part 3: Other Champagne producers – cooperatives and small producers – and former producers

Map

Kartan är länkad från Wikimedia Commons, och den geografiska informationen har sitt ursprung i OpenStreetMap. Det prickade vita området motsvarar vingårdarna, ljusgult betecknar annan öppen terräng och grönt är skog.

Neighbouring villages

Champagne villages that directly border to the Reims commune
Southwest: Bezannes (premier cru)
Southsouthwest: Villers-aux-Nœuds
Åt söder: Trois-Puits (premier cru, part of the Grande Montagne de Reims)
Southsoutheast: Cormontreuil (premier cru, part of the Grande Montagne de Reims)
Southeast: Taissy (premier cru, part of the Grande Montagne de Reims)
Southeast: Puisieulx (grand cru, part of the Grande Montagne de Reims)
East: Cernay-lès-Reims (part of the Monts de Berru)
Northwest: Saint-Thierry (part of the Massif de Saint-Thierry)
Comment: a number of the neighbouring communes are not located in the Champagne appellation, i.e., they don’t have any vineyards, and therefore no village profiles.

The city hall of Reims, Hôtel de Ville. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo DXR, 2014).

The city

The Reims commune has a surface of 4702 hectares (18.15 sq mi) and 182 592 inhabitants (as of 2013), called Rémois and Rémoises. Including suburbs the entire urban area – aire urbaine – has 317 611 inhabitants (as of 2012). By a wide margin, Reims is the largest city in the Marne department as well as the now-defunct administrative region Champagne-Ardenne (which also included the Ardenne, Aube, and Haut-Marne departments), but it is Châlons-en-Champagne which is the departmental capital and used to be the regional capital. In the merged region of Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine (ACAL), formed 1 Januari 2016, Reims ends up in the fifth place among the communes and in the fourth place among the urban areas. Strasbourg in Alsace is the regional capital of ACAL.

Reims is located in the northern part of the Champagne wine region, north of the Montagne de Reims hill. In the Reims commune itself, there is also some amounts of vineyards here and there, despite the built-up areas of the city. However, the more continuous vineyards start only in the suburban communes south of Reims.

The Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Tim Hodson, 2011).

In Reims, we find the largest concentration of major Champagne houses, although Épernay is the home of almost as many houses (but fewer of the very largest). The deep chalk soils under the city made for good conditions for digging the deep and cool cellars that provided excellent storage conditions for millions of Champagne bottles, before air conditioning saw the light of day. Some of the Champagne houses that are located on the eastern side of Reims have used old chalk pits dating from the Roman era, called crayères, as part of their cellars.

The most well-known landmark of Reims is the Notre-Dame de Reims, the impressive Gothic-style cathedral which in former times was used to crown the kings of France.

Gastronomy

Reims and its suburbs currently (2016) sport four restaurants with stars in the Guide Michelin: L’Assiette Champenoise (on the southern side, in Tinqueux) with three stars, Le Parc Les Crayères (in the southeastern part of the city, between Pommery and Veuve Clicquot) has two stars, while Le Foch and Le Millénaire both have one star and are located in the city centre. One restaurant has a Bib Gourmand: Le Pavillon CG. Other restaurants that can be recommended are Le Jardin des Crayères (the bistro of the two-star Les Crayères) and The Glue Pot.

The pink biscuits from Reims. Picture linked from  Wikimedia Commons (photo Cherry, 2011).

Outside the city, the closest starred restaurant is the excellent Le Grand Cerf (one star) in Montchenot, a village in the Villers-Allerand commune, located on the northern side of the Montagne de Reims.

One of the local specialities is the biscuit producer Fossier and their pink cookies, that many eat diped in Champagne. The Fossier factory is located in northern Reims and they have three shops of their own in the city.

Vineyards

urrent vineyard surface in the Montgueux commune is 55.5 hectares (137.1 acres). There are 21.1 ha Chardonnay (38.0%), 19.0 ha Pinot Meunier (34.2%), and 15.4 ha Pinot Noir (27.8%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 50 ha. There are today 41 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne houses that control vineyards in the commune include (according to older information) Canard-Duchêne, Lanson, G.H. Martel & Cie, G.H. Mumm, Piper-Heidsieck, Ruinart, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, and Vranken-Pommery.

Single vineyard sites

  • Clos Lanson is a vineyard of 1 ha (2.5 acres), planted to Chardonnay, which is located just behind Lanson’s facilities in southern Reims. The first vintage produced is 2006, and it is set to be released in May 2016. (The original plan was to release it in 2014.) This single vineyard Champagne is oak barrel-vinified, unlike the former production of Lanson, and it is said to have a ripe character since this city-located vineyard experiences a higher temperature than those in the surrounding countryside. The annual production is about 8 000 bottles.
  • Les Clos Pompadour is a collective name for three vineyard sites totaling 25 ha owned by Pommery and located near their facilities in eastern Reims. 75% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, and 5% Pinot Meunier are grown here. From the 2002 vintage, a smaller part of the harvest from these vineyards has started to be used for a vineyard-designated Champagne with the same composition as the vineyard i general, and it is only produced in magnum. The 2002 vintage of Les Clos Pompadour was launched in late 2011 and was sold without a vintage year, but can be identified by the back label saying “mise en cave en 2003” (the 2002 harvest ended up bottled in the cellar in 2003). The 2003 was labelled as a vintage Champagne and was launched in 2014.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016

Posted in Champagne, Champagne villages | Tagged | 2 Comments

Champagne village profile: Montgueux, a Chardonnay-dominated village close to Troyes

Diagram Montgueux 201509Key facts

Located in subregion/area: Côte des Blancs / Montgueux
Vineyards and grape varieties: 208.2 ha (514.5 acres), of which 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, and 0.4% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: “Autre cru” (80%)
Noted for: good Chardonnay

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 is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest. Troyes is located just outside the map to the east.

Neighbouring villages

None of the communes that border to Montgueux are part of the Champagne appellation.

View of Montgueux. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Superjuju10, 2011).

The village

Montgueux is located rather far to the south in the Champagne wine region, in the Aube departement. The village is situated a few kilometers west of the Troyes, the departemental capital with 60 000 inhabitants in the commune and 130 000 in Greater Troyes. It is by far is the largest city in this part of the region.

The Montgueux commune also includes the hamlet La Grange au Rez, in the southwestern part of the commune along the D660 road, and some producers are included here.

The Montgueux commune covers 1125 hectares and has 405 inhabitants (as of 2013), referred to as Montgueuillats and Montgueuillates.

The town hall (mairie) of Montgueux. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Hg marigny, 2011).

The Montgueux area

In the scheme used by the Union de Maisons de Champagne (UMC), Montgueux is one of 17 areas (“terroirs”) that the Champagne wine region is divided into. These 17 areas are then grouped into four subregions, one of which is Côte des Blancs, which the Montgueux area is part of. This subregion was formerly referred to as “Côte des Blancs et environs” by UMC. It may be somewhat confusing that there also is an area called Côte des Blancs (i.e., the same name as the subregion).

Montgueux is the only commune of the Montgueux area, since there are no neighbouring villages with vineyards. The closest areas are Sézannais to the northwest and Vitryat to the northeast.

Of the Champagne-producing villages in the Aube department, 63 of 65 are part of the Pinot Noir-dominated Côte des Bar, which is divided into Barséquanais (around Bar-sur-Seine) and Bar-sur-Aubois (around Bar-sur-Aube). The two exceptions are Montgueux, which forms an area of its own, and Villenauxe-la-Grande which is located in the Sézannais area (where the other villages are in the Marne departement). Both these villages are clearly Chardonnay-dominated.

Future expansion plans of the area

In the expansion proposed for the Champagne wine region/appellation with 40 new communes (on top of the current 319, while 2 are removed), no less than 11 of the communes are located just to the west and south of Montgueux. They are Bouilly, Fontvannes, Javernant, Laines-aux-Bois, Macey, Messon, Prugny, Saint-Germain, Souligny, Torvilliers, and Villery.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the area will be referred to as something else than Montgueux when it is expanded to twelve villages, perhaps Côtes de Troyes or something similar.

Below a Google Maps view of Montgueux and the proposed new Champagne villages. Montgueux shown in orange and the rest in white.

Vineyards

The vineyards in Montgueux are mostly located together in one block to the south of the village. The whole planted area is in a mild southsoutheast-facing slope. The soil is partly clay, which is typical for all of Aube (i.e., also Côte des Bar) but also chalk, in similarity to the Côte des Blancs. Chardonnay dominates greatly in the vineyards.

Montgueux is (together with Villenauxe-la-Grande) one of only two villages in the Aube departement that are Chardonnay-dominated.

The current vineyard surface in the Montgueux commune is 208.2 hectares (514.5 acres). There are 186.6 ha Chardonnay (89.6%), 20.4 ha Pinot Noir (9.8%), 0.8 ha Pinot Meunier (0.4%), and 0.4 ha others (0.2%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 187 ha. I’ve seen a claim that the vine growing in the area was introduced only in the 1960s. There are today 87 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Single vineyard sites

  • Clos Saint Sophie is a 1.8 ha vineyard site surrounded by a hedge. It is the only clos vineyard in Montgueux, and according to one source one of three in the Aube department. Owner since 1913 is the Valton family, and since 2010 Jacques Lassaigne receive some of the grapes from this vineyard (0.4 ha Chardonnay from old vines), with the aim of launching a single vineyard Champagne in 2016, 2017, or 2018. Formerly, the owner sold all the grapes from this vineyard to Charles Heidsieck. There is not just Chardonnay in the vineyard, but also 0.5 ha Pinot Noir.
  • Les Corps is a site far to the east among the vineyards of the village. Didier Doué uses grapes from here for their Brut Nature.
  • Le Cotet is a site located just to the east of the village, close to the cemetery. This means that the vineyard is at a higher altitude since it is not located together with the other vineyards south of the village. The soil is clay and flint on chalk. Jacques Lassaigne produces a vineyard-designated Champagne from 100% Chardonnay from this site.
  • Haut Revers du Chutat is a site just below the village, where the D141 enters the village from the south. Jacques Lassaigne produces a still white Chardonnay from this site.

Vineyards in Montgueux. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Superjuju10, 2011).

The “autre cru” classification

On the new-defunct échelle des crus, Montgueux was rated 80%, the lowest number on the scale. This is in similarity to all other villages in the Aube department except one (Villenauxe-la-Grande). This means that Montgueux is an “autre cru”, and had a number as far as possible from premier cru or grand cru. Despite this, Montgueux today enjoys a very good reputation for Chardonnay, and is counted as one of the very best Chardonnay villages outside the “heartland” in the Côte des Blancs. The village has been referred to as “The Montrachet of Champagne”, a nickname which is usually attributed to Daniel Thibaut, former winemaker of Charles Heidsieck. It is probably fair to think of Montgueux as a village whose real quality potential is at premier cru level.

The “one size fits all” treatment of the villages in the Aube department, including really good villages such as Montgueux and Les Riceys, had historical origins and was one of the weaknesses of the échelle des crus.

Champagne style

The Montgueux style is usually described as most similar to that of the Côte des Blancs area, of all the villages not actually located in the Côte des Blancs area. (Note the difference between the area and the larger subregion Côte des Blancs which also includes e.g. Montgueux and Sézannais.) I’ve also seen claims of a broad and almost tropical style as being typical of Montgueux, but since Montgueux seldom is compared to Sézannais (which is considered to give “tropical” Chardonnay), a fair description would be that some consider the Montgueux style as something in-between Côte des Blancs and Sézannais.

Chardonnay from Montgueux has long been popular among the large houses, the négociants that are mostly located in Reims and Épernay.

Vineyards in Montgueux. Note that the vines are cultivated on the slope, but that other plantations take over on the flat land below the slope. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Superjuju10, 2011).

Champagne producers

Champagne houses/négociants

The producer status NM = négociant-manipulant means that purchased grapes can be included in the Champagnes. NM producers can be anything from small producers that supplement their own grapes with some that they buy in, to large Champagne houses that primarily rely on purchased grapes.

  • Jacques Lassaigne (NM) is a high-class small producer with 4.7 ha vineyards that also buys in small amounts of grapes from other growers in the village. Is run by Emmanuel Lassaigne since 1999. The vinification takes place in steel vats, with the exception of Le Cotet and Colline Inspirée. Vignes de Montgueux is a non-vintage blanc de blancs. Le Cotet is a vineyard-designated but non-vintage blanc de blancs from older vines, which is partly oak barrel-vinified. La Colline Inspirée is a non-vintage blanc de blancs from older vines which is fully oak barrel-vinified. Les Papilles Insolites is composed of 75-100% Pinot Noir and sometimes some Chardonnay. The vintage Champagne is a blanc de blancs. The range also includes a still Chardonnay, a Coteaux Champenois, from the single vineyard site Haut Revers du Chutat.

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.

  • Beaugrand
  • Beliard-Lassaigne (RC)
  • Bigard (RM). The vintage Champagne is a cuvée composed of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
  • Régis Corniot (RM), also Alexis St Aude and on older cuvées Jean Corniot, has 7 ha of vineyards.
  • Didier Doué (RM). Brut Nature originates from the Les Corps site, which is also indicated on the labels, and is composed of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. The vintage Champagne is a 100% Chardonnay.
  • Etienne Doué (RM), member of the Vignerons Indépendants with just over 6 ha of vineyards. The vintage blanc de blancs is called Prestige, and Il était une fois is a blanc de blancs blended from several vintages.
  • Jean Guérinot (RM)
  • Gérard Lassaigne (RM)
  • Olivier Lassaigne (RM)
  • Christian Lassaigne-Berlot (RM), has 5.5 ha of vineyards. The range includes two vintage Champagnes: a blanc de blancs and Grande Cuvée which is composed from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
  • Leroy FM Père et Fils (RC; Facebook page), the range of which includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Jean-Pierre Leroy (RC)
  • Michel Leroy-Galland (RC)
  • François Leroy-Meirhaeghe (RC), the top cuvée of which is called Symphonie, is Chardonnay-dominated and is cellared longer before release than the rest of the range.
  • Eric Therrey (RM), member of the Vignerons Indépendants with vineyards in Montgueux and Celles-sur-Ource. The vintage Champagne is a blanc de blancs.
  • Jacky Therrey (RM)
  • Jean Velut (RM), which is one of the producers in Montgueux that has received some attention. The range includes a vintage Champagne.

Comment: It is not certain that the list is complete.

The church in Montgueux, Église Sainte-Croix. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Hg marigny, 2011).

Champagne producers in neighbouring villages

Some producers are located in nearby communes which are not part of the production zone where the vineyards are found. There are no village profiles for these villages, so I have chosen to list some producers here, by commune:

Saint-Lyé

Comment: It is not certain that the list is complete.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016

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Champagne village profile: Orbais-l’Abbaye on the left bank of the Marne valley, one of two villages proposed to be thrown out of the Champagne appellation

Diagram Orbais-l'Abbaye 201512Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 44.0 hectares (108.7 acres), of which 95.9% Pinot Meunier, 2.3% Pinot Noir, and 1.8% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (82%)

Maps

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


Google Maps view with the villages in the Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche highlighted.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile.

Neighbouring villages

Northwest: La Ville-sous-Orbais
Comment: most of the villages to the south on the map are not part of the Champagne appellation and therefore don’t have any profiles.

The Abbey church in Orbais-l’Abbaye and surrounding buildings. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Amassychamp, 2014).

The village

Orbais-l’Abbaye is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river. The village is located at Le Surmelin, a river which flows through the southern part of the Terroir de Condé area, and then empties into the Marne River downstreams at Mézy-Moulins. The valley formed by Le Surmelin is called Vallée du Surmelin, and in Champagne terms it consists of the southern part of the two areas Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche and Terroir de Condé.

The Orbais-l’Abbaye commune covers 1603 hectares and has 583 inhabitants (as of 2013), referred to as Orbaciens and Orbaciennes.

Vineyards

The vineyards in Orbais-l’Abbaye are located in a block to the northeast of the village, on the right bank of Le Surmelins, in a very mild south-facing slopes. The vineyards are completely dominated by Meunier.

The current vineyard surface in the Orbais-l’Abbaye commune is 44.0 hectares (108.7 acres). There are 42.2 ha Pinot Meunier (95.9%), 1.0 ha Pinot Noir (2.3%), and 0.8 ha Chardonnay (1.8%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 42 ha. There are no vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Proposal to remove Orbais-l’Abbaye from the Champagne appellation

In the proposal for expansion of the Champagne wine region that was presented in 2007, Orbais-l’Abbaye was one of two villages proposed to be removed from the zone de production, the list of communes whose vineyards may be included in the Champagne appellation. The other commune was Germaine in the Grande Montagne de Reims area. News from 2011 claims that that the French appellation organisation INAO then had validated the proposal with Germaine and Orbais-l’Abbaye still outside the production zone, but I have seen no final decision.

In this 2008 article, Champagne writer Tom Stevenson speculated that these two villages were made “sacrifical lambs” to counter any criticism of the expansion plans. Apparently, these two villages have no small growers, and the vineyard owners that are affected are two major Champagne groups (LVMH/Moët & Chandon and Vranken-Pommery-Monopole) who definitely stand to gain from the expansion as a whole, and therefore want to see it happen.

Champagne producers

I haven’t found any Champagne producers with seat in Orbais-l’Abbaye.

The Abbey church in Orbais-l’Abbaye. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo MOSSOT, 2004).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016

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Chardonnay from Domaine Labet in Jura

Recently, Swedish-French online wine merchant Caviste presented a release from Domaine Labet i Jura. I tasted the corresponding release in 2014, when I wrote a bit more on the producer, and in 2015.

The tasting included three Chardonnay wines that were sold as a mixed box. They were all in ouillé style, i.e., vinified in “toppaed up” barrels without the oxidation that characterises traditional Jura wines. To me, these Labet wines shows quite a bit of Chablis-type character, with some similarities to “regular Burgundies”.

I wrote a slightly longer profile on Jura in late 2013 when I blogged about a different Jura tasting in the autumn of 2013. So check that out for more background.

Caviste Labet 20160323

These tasting notes are mostly based on samples from bottles that had been open for a while.

2014 Fleur
Côtes du Jura, grape variety Chardonnay, 15 months in old oak barrels.

Nose with ripe apple, pear, chalky minerality and a discrete Chardonnay butteriness. Palate with apple, pear, grapefruit, good concentration of fruit, prominent minerality, rather high acidity, and a mineral-dominated aftertaste. Drinks rather well now, could develop and should be more approachable in 1-2 years, 87 p.

Chablis-like on the palate, but more Bourgogne Blanc-like in the nose. Rather fruity for its origin. The vintage character probably plays in here, because 2014 seems to have given more ripe French wines in general than 2013 did.

2013 Les Champs Rouges
Côtes du Jura, grape variety Chardonnay, 12 months in 4-10 year old oak barrels.

The nose is noticeably chalky with a slightly smoky minerality, green apple, discrete spice and oak barrel notes in the background with slightly oily notes and hints of flowers. (A bottle that just had been opened showed some notes of reduction with a smoky impression.) Palate with a tough attack, noticeable minerality, high acidity, a bit of body and concentration, a light mineral bitterness, and a long minerality-packed aftertaste. Young, cellaring recommended, 89+/90(+) p.

Stylistically, this wine reminds me quite a bit of a Chablis premier cru with discrete oak barrel notes or possibly a slightly lean Puligny-Montrachet. It is slightly tougher than the following wine, which probably is a reflection of the vintage Character. 2013 is generally high in acidity which gives firm wines suitable for extended cellaring. Of these three wines, I’d say this deserves to be cellared the longest.

2012 Les Varrons
Côtes du Jura, grape variety Chardonnay, 22 months in old oak barrels.

Nose with noticeably chalky minerality and green apple. (A bottle that just had been opened showed some notes of reduction with a smoky impression.) Palate with good concentration and firmness combined with rather generous fruit, green apple, rather high acidity, and minerality mid-palate and aftertaste. Young, should preferably be cellared at least a couple of years, 89(+) p.

This wine is rather firm and definitely balanced, but at the same time a bit more fruity, generous and bigger than the Les Champs Rouges. This is probably also a reflection of the vintage character. 2012 has good acidity and a fine balance, but doesn’t quite show the same firmness and “hardness” as 2013. From one and the same vintage, Les Varrons is probably the wine to cellar longer, but in this case I think the 2013 Les Champs Rouges should be kept longer than the 2012 Les Varrons.

Caviste Labet baksida 20160323

Swedish version of this post.

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Champagne village profile: La Ville-sous-Orbais on the left bank of the Marne valley

Diagram La Ville-sous-Orbais 201512Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 0.4 hectares (1.0 acres), of which 100% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: “Autre cru” (82%?)

Maps

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest. The dashed red line in the left-hand part of the map is the departmental border between Marne (where La Ville-sous-Orbais is located) and Aisne.


Google Maps view with the villages in the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite highlighted.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile.

Neighbouring villages

Northnortheast: Igny-Comblizy
Southeast: Orbais-l’Abbaye
Northwest: Le Breuil
Comment: some of the villages to the southwest and southeast on the map are not part of the Champagne appellation and therefore don’t have any profiles.

The church in La Ville-sous-Orbais. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2014).

The village

La Ville-sous-Orbais is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river. The village is located at Le Surmelin, a river which flows through the southern part of the Terroir de Condé area, and then empties into the Marne River downstreams at Mézy-Moulins. The valley formed by Le Surmelin is called Vallée du Surmelin, and in Champagne terms it consists of the southern part of the two areas Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche and Terroir de Condé.

The La Ville-sous-Orbais commune covers 1105 hectares and has 51 inhabitants (as of 2013).

Vineyards

The current vineyard surface in the La Ville-sous-Orbais commune is 0.4 hectares (1.0 acres). It consists of 0.4 ha Pinot Meunier (100%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. There are no vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne producers

I haven’t found any Champagne producers with a seat in La Ville-sous-Orbais.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016, last update 2016-04-19

Posted in Champagne villages | Tagged | 1 Comment

Champagne village profile: Le Breuil on the left bank of the Marne valley

Diagram Le Breuil 201512Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 140.5 hectares (347.2 acres), of which 82% Pinot Meunier, 10% Pinot Noir, and 7% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (83%)
Noted for: home village of the Champagne house Pierre Mignon

Maps

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest. The dashed red line in the left-hand part of the map is the departmental border between Marne (where Le Breuil is located) and Aisne.


Google Maps view with the villages in the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite highlighted.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile, if there is one.

Neighbouring villages

North: La Chapelle-Monthodon
Northeast: Igny-Comblizy

Southeast: La Ville-sous-Orbais
Northwest: Baulne-en-Brie
Comment: some of the villages to the southwest on the map are not part of the Champagne appellation and therefore don’t have any profiles.

The church in Le Breuil, Église Saint-Martin. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2014).

The village

Le Breuil is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river. The village is located at Le Surmelin, a river which flows through the southern part of the Terroir de Condé area, and then empties into the Marne River downstreams at Mézy-Moulins. The valley formed by Le Surmelin is called Vallée du Surmelin, and in Champagne terms it consists of the southern part of the two areas Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche and Terroir de Condé.

The Le Breuil commune covers 1601 hectares and has 403 inhabitants (as of 2013), referred to as Breuillois and Breuilloises.

Le Surmelin at Le Breuil. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2014).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Le Breuil are located north of the village, on the right bank of Le Surmelin. These vineyards are mostly located on southwest-facing slopes and are continuous with the vineyards in Baulne-en-Brie in the west. The vineyards are dominated by Pinot Meunier.

The current vineyard surface in the Le Breuil commune is 140.5 hectares (347.2 acres). There are 115.9 ha Pinot Meunier (82.5%), 14.4 ha Pinot Noir (10.2%), and 10.2 ha Chardonnay (7.3%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 121 ha. There are 53 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne producers

Champagne houses, members of the Union des Maisons de Champagne

  • Pierre Mignon (NM), a Champagne house founded in its present shape in 1970. They specify themselves that they have 16 ha of vineyards in the Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs, and the Épernay area with 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir. UMC says 44 ha, which should be the number including bought-in grapes, since it well matches the annual production of 450 000 bottles. The range includes several vintage Champagnes: Harmonie de Blancs is a blanc de blancs, Année de Madame is composed of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2006 vintage), and Année de Madame Rosé is composed of 55% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 15% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2008 vintage). Several of their Champagnes are also released in specially decorated bottles, often with a not too discrete use of metallic paint and Swarowski crystals. Sometimes these bottles are given special names, where Cœur d’Or is the same as Année de Madame and Désir & Sens is a vintage blanc de blancs. The range also includes a red wine (a Coteaux Champenois) from Le Breuil from 100% Pinot Meunier.

Other Champagne houses

The producer status NM = négociant-manipulant means that purchased grapes can be included in the Champagnes. NM producers can be anything from small producers that supplement their own grapes with some that they buy in, to large Champagne houses that primarily rely on purchased grapes.

  • Moutardier (NM), also Jean Moutardier, a Champagne house with 18 ha of their own vineyards, of which 14 ha Pinot Meunier. On top of that, grapes are bought from 12 ha in the area, for an annual production of 250 000 bottles. In total there are 80% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Meunier. The range includes a vintage Champagne composed of 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay (refers to the 2007 vintage). Their Pure Meunier is a non-vintage 100% Pinot Meunier which is Brut Nature, i.e., without dosage.

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.

  • Charpentier-Sertelet (RM)
  • Didier Dépit (RM)
  • Roger Dépit (RM), which has just under 11 ha of vineyards, of which 90% in Le Breuil and 10% in Baulne-en-Brie, with 80% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir. The latest addition to the range, Cuvée Originelle, is to 75% raised in oak barrels and produced as a varietal wine originating from a single vintage (but is formally non-vintage). It exists in Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay versions.
  • Stéphane Fir (RM; Facebook page)
  • Anne-Marie Mignon (RM), which has 3 ha of vineyards.
  • Philippe Mignon (RM), has about 6 ha of vineyards. Other than Pinot Meunier in the Vallée de la Marne, they also have Pinot Noir in the Montagne de Reims, and Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs.
  • Sendron Destouches (RM), a producer founded in 1964 which has all their vineyards in Le Breuil. The range includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Maxime Toubart (RC), the range of which includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Tony Toubart (RC)
  • Jean-Luc Vincent (RC)

Comment: the list may not be complete.

Monument in Le Breuil over locals fallen in World War I. To the right, the church is visible and in the background the town hall and the school can be been. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2014).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016, last updated 2016-04-04

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Champagne village profile: Baulne-en-Brie on the left bank of the Marne valley

Diagram Balune-en-Brie 201603Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 101.0 hectares (249.6 acres), of which 79% Pinot Meunier, 11% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (80%)
Other information: from 2016 a part of the Vallées-en-Champagne commune.

Maps

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest. The dashed red line in the left-hand part of the map is the departmental border between Aisne (where Baulne-en-Brie is located) and Marne.


Google Maps view with the villages in the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite highlighted.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile, if there is one.

Neighbouring villages

Northnortheast: La Chapelle-Monthodon
Eastsoutheast: Le Breuil
Northwest: Celles-lès-Condé (part of the Terroir de Condé area)
Northnorthwest: Saint-Agnan (part of the Terroir de Condé area)
Comment 1: some of the villages to the west and south on the map are not part of the Champagne appellation and therefore don’t have any profiles.
Comment 2: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The church in Baulne-en-Brie, Église Saint-Barthélemy. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Jpduburcq, 2006).

The village

Baulne-en-Brie is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river. The village is located at Le Surmelin, a river which flows through the southern part of the Terroir de Condé area, and then empties into the Marne River downstreams at Mézy-Moulins. The valley formed by Le Surmelin is called Vallée du Surmelin, and in Champagne terms it consists of the southern part of the two areas Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche and Terroir de Condé.

Baulne-en-Brie covers 1889 hectares and has 259 inhabitants (as of 2013).

Other than Baulne-en-Brie itself, the hamlets Montchevret (which is located near the vineyards), Grande Fontaine, and Romandie are located in the commune.

Baulne-en-Brie is located in the Aisne department, unlike the main part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche, which is in Marne.

The town hall (mairie) in Baulne-en-Brie, now the town hall of Vallées-en-Champagne. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2014).

Vallées-en-Champagne

Since 1 January 2016, Baulne-en-Brie is a so-called commune déléguée within the merged commune Vallées-en-Champagne, which is of the type commune nouvelle. This is a rather new type of merged commune which means that some functions are kept within the communes déléguées, rather than the former communes completely disappearing in the merged commune. The new commune was formed by Baulne-en-Brie, La Chapelle-Monthodon, and Saint-Agnan, and it resulted in 4124 hectares and 557 inhabitants (as of 2013 in the former communes). The town hall of the new commune is located in Baulne-en-Brie.

Le Surmelin in Baulne-en-Brie. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2014).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Baulne-en-Brie are located to the north and northwest of the village, on the right bank of Le Surmelin. These vineyards are mostly located on southwest-facing slopes and are continuous with the vineyards in Le Breuil to the east. The vineyards are dominated by Pinot Meunier.

The current vineyard surface in the Baulne-en-Brie commune is 101.0 hectares (249.6 acres). There are 80.0 ha Pinot Meunier (79.2%), 11.2 ha Pinot Noir (11.1%), and 9.8 ha Chardonnay (9.7%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 88 ha. There are 15 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

A Champagne house that has vineyards in Baulne-en-Brie (near Montchevret) is Pol Roger.

Champagne producers

I haven’t found any Champagne producers with seat in Baulne-en-Brie.

Video clips

Videos presenting Baulne-en-Brie itself and the surrounding hamlets, where also some vineyard can be glimpsed.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016, last update 2016-04-02

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