Champagne village profile: Cumières in the Grande Vallée de la Marne

Diagram Cumières 201503Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Grande Vallée de la Marne
Vineyards and grape varieties: 171.6 hectares (424.0 acres), of which 54% Pinot Noir, 24% Pinot Meunier, and 19% Chardonnay.
Classified as: Premier cru (93%)
Noted for: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from south-facing slopes, one of the villages that also produces red wines.

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 indicates built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neigbouring villages

West: Damery, part of Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite
East/Northeast: Hautvillers (premier cru)
South: Mardeuil, part of Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche

View of Cumières. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo  Zubro, 2005).

The village

The town hall (mairie) of Cumières. Picture linked form Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2013).

Cumières is located at the Marne river, and is the western outpost of the Grande Vallée de la Marne are, the wider eastern part of the Marne valley. One commune further to the west, in Damery, there is neither premier cru classification nor a “Grande” prefix, and we are simply on the right bank of the Vallée de la Marne.

The Cumières commune covers 299 hectares and counts 802 inhabitants (as of 2012) called cumariots and cumariotes.

Cumières is the home port of a boat that is used for sightseeing cruises on the Marne. (Just upstream of Cumières, i.e., to the east, the Marne and the Marne canal flows together.)

Vineyards

The vineyards in Cumières are predominantly south-facing slopes with Pinot Noir as the most common grape variety, but also with a fair proportion of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

The current vineyard surface in the Cumières commune is 171.6 hectares (424.0 acres). There are 92 ha Pinot Noir (53.6%), 47.1 ha Pinot Meunier (27.4%), and 32.5 ha Chardonnay (18.8%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 167 ha. There are 186 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne houses that use vineyards in this village include Moët & Chandon and Joseph Perrier.

Cumières Rouge

Cumières is one of a handfull of villages with a strong tradition of producing good red wines, called Cumières Rouge, but their appellation (when sold on their own) is Coteaux Champenois, as for all red wines from Champagne. All of theses red wine villages are located in south-facing slopes in the Grand Vallée de la Marne and the southern part of the Grande Montagne de Reims. A surprisingly large number of growers in Côte des Blancs get the red wine to their rosé cuvées from Cumières, so the village seems to have Pinot growers that unusually willing to exchange grapes/base wine.

Specific vineyard sites and vineyard-designated Champagnes

An unusually large number of vineyard-designated Champagnes are/have been produced from vineyards in Cumières, currently (as of 2014) the largest number I’ve found in any village.

  • Bois des Jots. Vadin-Plateau produces an oaked Pinot Noir from this vineyard, under the cuvée name Y.
  • Chêne la Butte. Vadin-Plateau produces a Chardonnay from this vineyard, under the cuvée name Aurélie.
  • Les Chênes, a south-facing vineyard. Georges Laval produces a vineyard-designated Chardonnay from this vineyard.
  • Les Chèvres Pierreuses, a vineyard with some limestone and early ripening. Leclerc Briant in Épernay earlier owned 2.8 ha in this site. They still release vineyard-designated Champagnes from it in their Les Authentiques series. The 2008 vintage consists of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. The first vintage was 1992. The vineyard was purchased by Roederer in 2012 together with the rest of Leclerc Briant’s then-remaining vineyard holdings.
  • Le Clos des Champions. Leclerc Briant used to produce a vineyard-designated Champagne from this vineyard in their Les Authentiques series. The first vintage was 1992, and it disappeared from their range sometime before 2010.
  • Les Crayères, as the name indicates a vineyard with a high proportion of limestone. Leclerc Briant in Épernay used to own 1.07 ha in this site, and still release vineyard-designated Champagnes from it in their Les Authentiques series. The 2009 vintage consists of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay. The first vintage was 1992. The vineyard was purchased by Roederer in 2012 together with the rest of Leclerc Briant’s then-remaining vineyard holdings.
  • Les Hauts Chèvres. Georges Laval produces a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from this vineyard, but also has Pinot Meunier here.
  • Terre d’Antan. Philippe Martin produces a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from this vineyard.

Champagne producers

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

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.

  • Joseph Perrier (NM) is a medium-sized Champagne house founded in 1825 with their seat and cellars in Chalons-en-Champagne. They do however also have facilities in Cumières, as well as a and a 19th Century mansion with an impressive park. Their own vineyards consist of 21 ha on the right bank of the Vallée de la Marne, and the heart of their own vineyards are the 9 ha in the Cumières area, including Damery and Hautvillers. The Cumières property was bought in the early 19th century by Alphonse Pithois-Bertin, father of Pithois who bought this Champagne house in 1888, and is therefore a part of Joseph Perrier since then. Cumières Rouge is used in the blend for all rosé Champagnes produced by the house.
    Link to UMC’s page about the park.

In the foreground vineyards in the borderland between Cumières (those in the middle and to the right) and Hautvillers (those to the left), with a sign (on the Hautvillers side) that says “Vignobles Joseph Perrier”. In the background, the Marne river can be seen. In the distance to the left Épernay is visible, and the built-up area a little closer to the right in the background is Mardeuil. The Picture is linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Rob & Lisa Meehan 2007, originally uploaded to Flickr)

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 Bertrand (RM)
  • Blosseville-Marniquet (RM)
  • Bonnenfant & Fils (RM)
  • Jacques Delabaye
  • Alfred Denois
  • Florence Duchêne (RM?), also has a blog and a Facebook page, and is a member of Vignerons Indépendants. Has 4 ha of vineyards in Aÿ, Hautvillers, Cumières, Damery, Oeuilly, Vauciennes and Châtillon-sur-Marne with 51% Pinot Noir, 34% Pinot Meunier, and 15% Chardonnay. Florence has a Philippine mother and has given her cuvées Philippine names.
  • François Duchêne (RM), har 4 ha vingårdar i Cumières, Damery, Mardeuil, Leuvrigny och Faverolles-et-Coëmy med 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay och 30% Pinot Meunier.
  • Daniel Etienne (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants, has slightly more than 7 ha of vineyards.
  • Geoffroy (RM), also known as René Geoffroy, formerly located in Cumières (where they have 11 ha of vineyards), but is now located in Aÿ.
  • François Laval
  • Georges Laval (RM), one of the modern generation of organic growers, who has been organic since 1971. Vincent Laval runs the domine today. The range includes two vineyard-designated wines from Cumières: Les Chênes (a Chardonnay) and Les Hauts Chèvres (a Pinot Noir). All wines are vinified in oak. Only has 2.5 ha of vineyards and an annual production of about 10 000-15 000 bottles due to low yields. 1 ha of rented vineyard will be added after 2014, when a contract to supply the grapes to a cooperative runs out. With such a small production, and a name that has received a lot of attention in some circles, the prices have become high.
  • Laval-Louis (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants, has 4.4 ha of vineyards in Cumières, Damery, and Hautvillers, annual production 15 000-20 000 bottles under their own name.
  • Vve Maitre-Geoffroy (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants, has vineyards in Cumières and Hautvillers.
  • Marizy Père et Fils (RC)
  • Philippe Martin (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants. Has 10 ha of vineyards and an annual production of 80 000 bottles.
  • Michel Mignon (RM?), has about 4.5 ha of vineyards in Cumières, Hautvillers, Damery, Mardeuil, Épernay, and Chouilly.
  • Gaston Poittevin (RM)
  • Sanchez-Le Guédard (RM), a Special Club producer and member of Vignerons Indépendants. Has 5 ha of vineyards in Damery, Cumières, and Oger, with 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier.
  • Alain Suisse (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants
  • José Tranchant-Mangeot (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants
  • Vadin-Plateau (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants, has 7 ha distributed over seven villages: Aÿ, Pourcy, Hautvillers, Cumières, Damery, Venteuil, and Château-Thierry, consisting of 44% Pinot Meunier, 39% Pinot Noir, and 17 % Chardonnay.

Comment: the list is probably not complete.

Cooperatives

  • Coopérative Vinicole Louis Dupont – founded in 1937 and part of Union Champagne. The 171 members have a total of 70 ha of vineyards. In 1966, this cooperative founded Union Champagne (having its seat in Avize, and more known under the name of its high-end brand De Saint Gall) together with three other cooperatives, in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, and Vertus.

Links

Video clips

A panorama of Cumières and the vineyards above the village, photographed from the other side of the Marne river. Some of the vineyards located at the very top of the hill, closest to the edge of the forest, are actually located in the Hautvillers commune, as can also be seen from the map above. In the “left-right direction”, this strip of Hautvillers vineyards begins a little to the right of the small house that is mid-picture at 0:09, but it begins some distance higher up the slope than the location of the house.

© Tomas Eriksson 2014-2015, last update 2015-10-18

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