Champagne village profile: Verzy in the Grande Montagne de Reims, one of the grand cru villages of Champagne

Diagram Verzy 201504Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 407.8 hectares (1007.7 acres), of which 77% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, and 1.2% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: Grand cru (100%)
Noted for: good Pinot Noir from north-facing slopes.

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 indicates other open terrain, and green indicates forest.


Google Maps view with the villages in the Grande Montagne de Reims highlighted. The grand cru villages including Verzy are in green, the premier cru villages are in yellow, and the autre cru villages in orange. The light green box shows the Perle blanche area.

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

Neighbouring villages

Northwest: Verzenay (grand cru)
North: Beaumont-sur-Vesle (grand cru)
Eastsoutheast: Villers-Marmery (premier cru)

View from the vineyards below the village, to the left the church is visible, église de Verzy, and to the right the facilities of Louis de Sacys. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2012).

The village

Verzy is located mid-slope on the Montagne de Reims hill, on the north/northeastern side.

The Verzy commune covers an area of 1337 hectares and counts 1047 inhabitants (as of 2012) referred to as Verzyats and Verzyates.

Saint Basle (born approx 555, died approx 620), also called Basolus, lived a hermit life in the Verzy area. Later, there was an abbey at the site, named Abbaye de Saint-Basle.

In Verzy there is also a small forest of dwarf beeches growing in a crooked way, called Faux de Verzy.

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

Vineyards

The vinyards consist mainly of north-facing slopes, and mostly consist of Pinot Noir. The north-facing slopes means that Pinot Noir-dominated Champagnes from here can be a little less powerful but still more nuanced than those that originate from villages with south-facing slopes, such as Aÿ, Ambonnay, and Bouzy.

Verzy was promoted from premier cru to grand cru status in 1985, at the same time as Chouilly, Oiry, Oger, and Mesnil-sur-Oger. At this time the number of grand cru villages increased from 12 to 17. This means that the neighbouring village Beaumont-sur-Vesle, today much less known than Verzy, was a grand cru village before Verzy was.

The current vineyard surface in the Villers-Marmery commune is 407.8 hectares (1007.7 acres). There are 312.4 ha Pinot Noir (76.6%), 89.6 ha Chardonnay (22.0%), 4.9 ha Pinot Meunier (1.2%), and 0.9 ha others (0.2%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 403 ha. There are 181 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne houses that control vineyards in the village include Bollinger, Duval-Leroy, Moët & Chandon, Mumm, Piper Heidsieck, Pol Roger, and Roederer.

Single vineyard sites

  • La Blanche Voie, a site just beyond the village itself to the east that borders to the D34 road and is situated just south of the road. The site is northeast-sloping with 8% inclination. Penet-Chardonnet produces a vineyard-designated Champagne (100% Chardonnay) from this vineyard site since the 2010 vintage.
  • Les Epinettes, a site east beyond the village that borders to the D34 road and is situated just south of the road. Les Epinettes is located immediately east of La Blanche Voie. The site is northeast-sloping with 3% inclination. äget sluttar åt nordost med 3% lutning. Penet-Chardonnet produces a vineyard-designated Champagne (100% Pinot Noir) from this vineyard site since the 2009 vintage.
  • Les Fervins, a site just close to the village itself to the eastnortheast that borders to the D34 road and is situated just north of the road. The site is southeast-sloping with 15% inclination. Penet-Chardonnet produces a vineyard-designated Champagne (70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay) from this vineyard site since the 2009 vintage.

Champagne producers

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

  • Cuperly, a house founded in 1845 as a wine and spirits merchant in Mourmelon-le-Petit a short distance to the east from the Montagne de Reims. In the early 20th century, Robert Cuperly purchased vineyards in Verzy and moved the operation there. In 1979, they moved back to Mourmelon-le-Petit. Today, they are located in both Verzy and Prunay, just beyond Sillery, a stone’s throw from the Reims-Prunay airport. Cuperly has 10 ha of vineyards of their own, and an annual production of about 300 000 bottles.
  • Louis de Sacy, a Champagne house named in honour of the member of the French academy Louis de Sacy (1654-1727). The Sacy counts its vinegrowing history back to 1633, but the house in its present form was founded in 1967 and is today led by Alain Sacy. Louis de Sacy has 19 ha of vineyards. Here a clip where a wine merchant talks to Alain Sacy about the Louis de Sacy Champagnes:

  • Veuve Clicquot is located in Reims but has since the late 19th century been the owner of a mansion-like building in Verzy called the Manoir de Verzy, which is used for hospitality.

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.

  • Fresnet-Juillet (NM), a Special Club producer who have produced their own Champagnes since 1952, then under Gérard Fresnet. Fresnet-Juillet has 5.7 ha of vineyards in Verzy (70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay) and Bisseuil (30% Pinot Noir and 70% Chardonnay) with an annual production of 45 000 bottles. Their Special Club is composed of 60% Chardonnay from Bisseuil and 40% Pinot Noir from Verzy (refers to the 2000 and 2002 vintages).
  • La Maison Penet, the négociant wines are called (Cuvées & Sélections) Alexandre Penet, while their own Champagnes are called Penet-Chardonnet. They have 6 ha of their own vineyards in Verzy and Verzenay that are used for Penet-Chardonnet. All their Champagnes are given no or very little dosage, so they are all labelled Extra Brut or Brut Nature. Penet-Chardonnet has a series of three vineyard-designated vintage Champagnes: Les Epinettes which is 100% Pinot Noir (first vintage 2009), Les Fervins composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay (first vintage 2009), and Les Blanches Voies is 100% Chardonnay (first vintage 2010) from La Blanche Voie.
  • Mouzon Leroux & Fils, a Special Club producer. Has 10 ha vineyards, of which 8 ha in Verzy and the rest in Verzenay, Ludes, and Villers-Marmery, with 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 4% Pinot Meunier as well as 1% Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc. The annual production is about 100 000 bottles. Has practiced biodynamic cultivation since 2008, and became certified in 2011. The biodyanmic cuvées are sold under different names and with different label design from the “regular range” that is being phased out, and from 2017 all the range will be biodynamic. Their first Special Club hasn’t been launched yet (as of 2016), will be from the 2012 vintage, and there will apparently be two of them: a Blanc de Blancs and a Blanc de Noirs. (Comment: some older labels seem to carry the classification RM.)

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 Barbier, has 4 ha of vineyards.
  • Dom Basle – not a grower of their own but a cuvée (50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay) from Lallement–Deville Damien, see below
  • Laurent Bouy (RM)
  • Burlot–Nahé
  • Jean-Paul Deville (RM). Are also owners of a 36 ha property in Bordeaux, Château Deville, producing in the appellations Entre-deux-Mers and Côtes de Bordeaux.
  • Pierre Deville (RM)
  • Thierry Faucheron (RM)
  • José Gomez
  • Jean Hanotin (RM)
  • Hurier Jouette et fils (RM)
  • Juillet–Lallement (RM), a Special Club producer founded in the early 20th century by René Juillet and Paul and Arthur Lallement as R. Juillet – P. & A. Lallement, and today led by Jean Lallament. Juillet-Lallement has 4.1 ha vineyards in Verzy and Sillery with about 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay (they also have a small amount of Pinot Meunier) and an annual production of 25 000 bottles. The composition of their Special Club is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2006 vintage). Other vintages produced include 1996, 2004, and 2008. A video clip that presents Juillet-Lallement:

  • Alain Lallement (RM), the company is called Lallement-Fagot since 2006. Annual production 25 000-30 000 bottles.
  • Lallement–Deville Damien
  • P. Lardennois (RM)
  • Etienne Lefèvre, vineyards are mostly located in Verzenay and Verzy, with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay.
  • Lepreux–Penet, has 8 ha of vineyards.
  • Christophe Michel (RM)
  • Millet-Esquerre
  • Bertrand Morel, has a bit more than 3 ha of vineyards in Verzy, with 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay.
  • Mouligneaux-Gourdain
  • Mouzon-Juillet is a cuvée name from Mouzon Leroux & Fils (NM), see above.
  • Penet-Chardonnet (RM), a part of La Maison Penet, see above.
  • Jean-Pierre Poirel (RM)
  • Vincent Renoir (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants.
  • Fernand Thill (RM), has vineyards in Verzy and Verzenay. Also owns vineyards in Saint-Véran in southern Burgundy (Maconnais).
  • Nahé William

Comment: the list is probably not complete.

Cooperative

When bottles are sold directly by a cooperative the producer status is given as CM = coopérative de manipulation, as opposed to RC when sold by a cooperative member under their own name.

  • Coopérative Vinicole (à Verzy), has 74 members with 47.47 ha. Doesn’t seem to have a website.

Video clips

A presentation of Faux de Verzy with its dwarf beeches (French with no subtitles).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014-2016, last update 2016-07-10

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