Champagne village profile: Bisseuil in Grande Vallée de la Marne

Diagram Bisseuil 201503Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Grande Vallée de la Marne
Vineyards and grape varieties: 125.6 hectares (310.4 acres), of which 63% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 7% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: Premier cru (95%)
Noted for: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from south-facing, but not very steep slopes.
Other information: from 2016 a part of the Aÿ-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, and light yellow indicates other open terrain.


Google Maps view with the villages in the Grande Vallée de la Marne highlighted. The grand cru village is in green, and the premier cru villages are in yellow.

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

Neighbouring villages

West: Mareuil-sur-Aÿ (premier cru)
Northwest: Avenay-Val-d’Or (premier cru)
North: Fontaine-sur-Aÿ (part of Grande Montagne de Reims)
Northnortheast: Tauxières-Mutry (premier cru, part of Grande Montagne de Reims)
East: Tours-sur-Marne (grand cru, part of Grande Montagne de Reims)

The Marne canal at Bisseuil. The picture is linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo H.P.Burger, 2008).

The village

Bisseuil is located below the slopes of the Montagne de Reims, at the Marne river and the Marne canal (canal latéral à la Marne) between Mareuil-sur-Aÿ to the west and Tours-sur-Marne to the east.

The former Bisseuil commune covers 1003 hectares and counts 645 inhabitants  (as of 2013), that are called Bissotiers and Bissotières respectively.

Aÿ-Champagne

Since 1 January 2016, Bisseuil is a so-called commune déléguée within the merged commune Aÿ-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 Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Bisseuil, and it resulted in 3194 hectares and 5841 inhabitants (as of 2013 in the former communes). The town hall of the new commune is located in Aÿ.

The northern part of the Bisseuil commune, where the vineyards are located. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo by October Ends, 2013).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Bisseuil are predominantly south-facing, but not too steep, and with a high proportion of Chardonnay. Bisseuil is the only village in the Grande Vallée de la Marne that has more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir in its vineyards. I have not been able to figure out the explanation for this, if it is due to the less steep slopes or a difference in soils, or if it is simply is a local tradition. The vineyards are located in the northern part of Bisseuil, in the direction of the Montagne de Reims hillside.

The current vineyard surface in the former Bisseuil commune is 125.6 ha (310.4 acres). There are 79.0 ha Chardonnay (62.9%), 37.3 ha Pinot Noir (29.7%), 9.1 ha Pinot Meunier (7.3%), and 0.2 ha others (0.2%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 125 ha. There are 35 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne houses that use vineyards in this village include Bollinger.

Single vineyard sites

  • Barmont, a southwest-facing slope with a mild inclination in the northwestern part of Bisseuil, rather close to the border to Avenay-Val-d’Or. William Saintot in Avenay-Val-d’Or produces a Champagne called Cuvée Séduction from this site,using 100% Chardonnay planted in 1963.
  • Dessulchêne, a south-facing slope with a mild inclination in the northnorthwestern part of Bisseuil. Gonet-Medeville has a plot in this site.
  • Pirouette, a south-facing slope with a mild inclination in the northnorthwestern part of Bisseuil very close to the border to Avenay-Val-d’Or. Gonet-Medeville has a plot in this site.
  • Les Rocheforts, a flat site in the westnorthwestern part of Bisseuil, that in one corner borders to Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and is close to the border to venay-Val-d’Or. Étienne Calsac in Avize produces a vineyard-designated Champagne from this vineyard site from 100% Chardonnay.
  • La Tortelue, a south-facing slope with a mild inclination in the northnorthwestern part of Bisseuil. William Saintot in Avenay-Val-d’Or has Pinot Noir in this site.

This steep cliff at the D1 road and the Marne canal west of Bisseuil, in the Mareuil-sur-Aÿ direction, is one of the clearest illustrations of the deep layer of chalk found under most of the best vineyards in Champagne. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo October Ends, 2010).

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.

  • Albert De Milly (NM), has 15 ha (or 13 ha?) of vineyards with 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay.

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.

  • Bauchet Père & Fils (RM), has 34 ha of vineyards spread over several villages, of which 9 ha in the two premier cru villages Bisseuil and Grauves with mostly Chardonnay and 25 ha in five Côte des Bar villages (Bar-sur-Seine, Bragelogne-Beauvoir, Saulcy, Vitry-le-Croisé, and Bligny) with mostly Pinot Noir. The two vintage Champagnes originates from Bisseuil and Grauves: the regular one is composed of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay (refers to the 2009 vintage) and Saint-Nicaise is a blanc de blancs from 100% Chardonnay. The company name is Clos Babot (but doesn’t seem to be taken from any vineyard site). Has also used the names/brands:
    • Gérard Bauchet
    • Roland Bauchet
    • Chatelin Père & Fils
  • Calixte Bonanfant (RC)
  • Philippe Chochina (RM), whose range includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Gonet-Médeville (RM), has a total of 12 ha of vineyards in eight villages: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Ambonnay, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Bisseuil, Billy-le-Grand, Trépail, and Vaudemange. The same family owns Château Gilette in Sauternes and other producers, and expanded to Champagne in 2000. Cuvée Théophile is a vintage Champagne composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from Le Mesnil-sur-Mesnil and Ambonnay (refers to the 2000 vintage). Ambonnay La Grand Ruelle is a vineyard-designated vintage Champagne from 100% Pinot Noir, which is oak barrel-vinified.
  • Dominique Hémard (RC)
  • Frédéric Hemard
  • Juget-Brinet (RM), has vineyards in Aÿ, Bisseuil, and Épernay. The range includes a vintage Champagne composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. The producer used to be located in Aÿ.
  • Pierre Nicolas, whose range includes a vintage Champagne.

Comment: the list is probably not complete.

The church in Bisseuil, Église Saint-Hélain. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo October Ends, 2012).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014-2016, last updated 2016-07-26

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