Champagne village profile: Chigny-les-Roses, a premier cru village in the Grande Montagne de Reims

Diagram Chigny-les-Roses 201504Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 131.9 hectares (325.9 acres), of which 58% Pinot Meunier, 24% Pinot Noir, and 18% Chardonnay.
Classification: Premier cru (94%)
Noted for: Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir from north-facing slopes, home village of Cattier, the producer of Armand de Brignac.

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, and green indicates forest.


Google Maps view with the villages in the Grande Montagne de Reims highlighted. The grand cru villages 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: Rilly-la-Montagne (premier cru)
East: Ludes (premier cru)

The town hall (mairie) of Chigny-les-Roses. Picture linked form Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2011).

The village

Bust of Jeanne Pommery (1819-1890) in Chigny-les-Roses. Her roses led to les-Roses being added to the village name. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2011).

Chigny-les-Roses is located on the north side of the (Grande) Montagne de Reims, where it is part of a string of premier cru villages. The name Chigny was originally written Chaigny, and is probably derived from the French name for oak, chêne.

The Chigny-les-Roses commune has a surface of 438 hectares and 565 inhabitants (as of 2012), referred to as Chignotins and Chignotines.

Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Pommery, one of the well-known Champagne widows and at the time owner of the house of  Pommery & Greno, had a mansion built in the village in 1860-1864. In 2013, it was for sale for 3.25 million euros including 14 ha of land (see Domaine du Châlet below!). The les-Roses part was added on to the village name when the to-be-president of France, Émile Loubet, had visited madame Pommery in Chigny, and become impressed by her roses.

The church in Chigny-les-Roses, Église Saint-Nicolas. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2011).

Vineyards

The vineyards of Chigny-les-Roses consist mostly of north-facing slopes, with a high proportion of Pinot Meunier.

The current vineyard surface in the Chigny-les-Roses commune is 131.9 hectares (325.9 acres). There are 76.3 ha Pinot Meunier (57.9%), 32.1 ha Pinot Noir (24.3%), 23.2 ha Chardonnay (17.6%), and 0.3 ha others (0.2%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 130 ha. There are 129 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne houses that control vineyards in Chigny-les-Roses include Cattier.

Single vineyard sites

  • Le Clos des Pécherines, a west-facing site with a mild slope located immediately to the northeast of the village, across the road from the church and cemetery. Borders in the northeast to Les Pécherines.
  • Clos du Moulin, a 2.2 ha vineyard purchased by Cattier in 1951, when the land was mostly unplanted. Produced as a non-vintage Champagne, both in white (50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay) and rosé (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay), consisting of three vintages. Annual production is about 15 000 (white) and 4 000 (rosé) bottles.
  • Les Pêcherines, a west-facing site with a mild slope close to the village on its northeastern side. Borders in the southwest to Le Clos des Pécherines. Duménil produces aCuvée Prestige Vieilles Vignes from this vineyard, with 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir.

A vineyard in Chigny-les-Roses, close to the village. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Jean Weber, INRA DIST, 2005).

Champagne producers

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

  • Cattier (NM) is a house that started to produce Champagne under their own name in  1918 (the family had owned vineyards since 1763). They control 32 ha of vieyards, where the jewel in the crown is Clos du Moulin that they bought in 1951. Their annual production is 1 million bottles. The non-vintage Clos du Moulin were traditionally their best Champagne.
    • Armand de Brignac is a brand for a prestige champagne produced by Cattier, and it tends to leave non Champagne fan indifferent. Armand de Brignac was launched in 2006, as it happens just after some Cristal-slurping US rappers including Jay-Z (who has later included Armand de Brignac bottles in several of his music videos) had taken offense at comments by the owner of Roederer on some Champagne customers in the bling-bling segment. The launch took place in the US, and the initial marketing there included some strange statements in order to indicate a long history behind the brand, but without identifying Cattier as the producer. This together with quite a high price – significantly more expensive than Cristal or Dom Pérignon – led to some raised eyebrows and some still remaining skepticism from more traditionally-minded Champagne fanatics. The brand name is supposed to come from a romantic novel that the grandmother of Alexandre Cattiers had read once upon a time.
      The first Armand de Brignac cuvée, the one launched in 2006, is often referred to as “Ace of Spades”, but is officially called Brut Gold, and is sold in a gold-coloured bottle with a metal (pewter?) label, indeed featuring an ace of spades. More cuvées have been added to the range, in bottles with other eye-catching metallic colours: a rosé in pink metallic, and a blanc de blancs in silver metallic. All these cuvées are non-vintage, or “multivintage”, typically consist of three vintage, and have spent at least five years on the lees and half a year on the cork before being shipped. For example, the 2012 release of Brut Gold was a blend of the three vintages 2003, 2005, and 2006. A blanc de noirs composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier will also be launched (not known under which metallic colour). Clos Yons, a vineyard-designated vintage version which is a Pinot Meunier, will be launched when it has matured in Cattier’s cellars, possibly in 2018. The grapes for Clos Yons come from a vineyard site in Rilly-la-Montagne where Cattier has a holding of 1.1 ha, and these grapes have previously been blended into the Brut Gold version.
      In 2012, the annual production of Armand de Brignac was given as around 50 000 bottles, of which 35 000 Brut Gold, 15 000 rosé and 5 000 blanc de blancs. There was capacity to increase to 70 000 bottles annually, presumably based on the supply of grapes that Cattier thought were good enough.
      The style is supposed to be easily accessibly and fruity for a prestige cuvée, since it is primarily intended for immediate consumption by (the less price-sensitive part of) a nightclub audience. As to the quality of Armand de Brignac, different opinions exist, but I don’t have one myself. Some Champagne critics were not impressed just after it was launched, or has been completely silent about it in their books (this is true for both Richard Juhlin and Tyson Stelzer in their 2013 or 2014 books). On the other hand, some critics have rated Armand de Brignac highly, and this included a number one spot in a tasting put together by the Fine Champagne magazine in 2009, led by Essi Avellan MW. (However, Armand de Brignac has not entered the top 10 in any of the later annual tastings put on by the Fine Champagne magazine.) These differences in reviews has made me ask myself if there are differences in quality between the various releases. With three years in the blend, perhaps the vintage variations are not evened out in the same way as e.g. Krug does, using some 10-15 vintages. If Cattier has been using the same cellaring time since the launch, the initial batch from 2006 should have had the 2000 vintage as base year/youngest vintage. Batches including the top-rate 2002 vintage should have been launched in 2008 or so, and continued to appear in 2009 and 2010, which would coincide well with the Fine Champagne tasting in 2009. However, I’ve never seen anyone report on a vertical tasting comparing different batches of Armand de Brignac, and as far as I know, the bottles do not have a code that allow the identification of which batch/release it comes from.
      Below a video clip from Cattier where Armand de Brignac is presented:

  • Domaine du Châlet rents out luxurious rooms in the former mansion of Madame Pommerys and has two Champagnes with their own label, produced by Cattier.

Other 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.

  • Philippe Dumont (NM), whose two most expensive cuvées both come from the vineyard site Les Bas Moutions in Rilly-la-Montagne and consist of 100% Pinot Noir: Perle Noir and Havana.
  • Gardet (NM), a house founded in Épernay in 1895 by Charles Gardet, and moved to Chigny-les-Roses in the 1930s by his son Georges Gardet. Since 2007, the house is owned by the Prieux family. Gardet has 7 ha of their own vineyards in the premier cru villages Chigny-les-Roses, Ludes, and Rilly-la-Montagne, and an annual production of 1.2 miljoner bottles. The company is officially called C.G.D. (G. Letandert – Georges Gardet – Charles Gardet). Gardet also sells Champagnes under the brand:
    • Pol Gardere
    • Ray Maurin
    • Veuve Reuther
  • Maurice Philippart (NM)

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.

  • Baé J.P. et E.
  • Barbelet-Leroux (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with 7 ha of vineyards in Chigny-les-Roses, Rilly-la-Montagne, Ludes, Montbré, and Taissy.
  • Bämchen-Kosierk
  • Jean Coquet (RC)
  • Cossy-Péchon (RC)
  • Roger Debay (RM)
  • Guy Dumangin, (RM) has 45% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir, and 26% Pinot Meunier in their vineyards.
  • J. Dumangin Fils (RM)
  • Jean Dumangin (RM)
  • Dumangin Rafflin (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants.
  • Duménil (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants and Special Club producer (to be). Has 8 ha of vineyards in Chigny-les-Roses, Rilly-la-Montagne and Ludes, with 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 15% Pinot Noir. Annual production 80 000 bottles. Produces a Cuvée Prestige Vieilles Vignes (80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir) from the vineyard Les Pêcherines. Their first Special Club hasn’t been launched yet, since they joined the club in 2012. Below a video clip presenting Duménil, with a lot of pictures from both the vineyard and the cellar work:

  • Bernard Dumont (blog, Facebook page)
  • Gerlier-Perthois
  • Gilles Menu (RM; website not active in Sep 2014), member of Vignerons Indépendants.
  • Gounel Lassalle (RM, but older bottles say RC)
  • Philippe Griffon
  • Griffon-Lestarquit
  • Ph. Janisson, or Philippe Janisson.
  • J. Lassalle (RM), a Special Club producer (member of the club since 1979) and also a  member of Vignerons Indépendants. Has 11.5 ha of vineyards in Chigny-les-Roses, Ludes, Montbré, Puisieulx, Rilly-la-Montagne, Sermiers, and Villers-Allerand with 48% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 22% Pinot Noir. Annual production is 125 000 bottles. Their Special Club consists of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir.
  • P. Lassalle-Hanin (RM), has 10 ha of vineyards.
  • Lepitre-Prevost (RC)
  • Fred. Leroux, has the press house in Chigny-les-Roses and the cellar in Aÿ.
  • Hilaire Leroux & Fils (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants with 7 ha of vineyards in five villages in the Montagne de Reims.
  • Maurice-Lassalle (RM), has 7.2 ha of vineyards of which 1 ha in Rilly-la-Montagne, 2.75 ha in Chigny-les-Roses, and 3.45 ha in Ludes.
  • Mayot-Lagoguey
  • Pascal Mazet (RM)
  • Rafflin-Lepitre (RC)
  • Rafflin-Peltriaux (RC), has vineyards in Chigny-Les-Roses and Ludes.
  • Gil Roupsy (RC)
  • Robert Thoumy (RC)
  • André Tixier & Fils (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants with 5 ha of vineyards in Chigny-les-Roses and Ludes.
  • Guy Tixier (other website, probably older), the vineyards are located in six villages and consist of 47% Pinot Meunier, 37% Pinot Noir, and 16% Chardonnay.
  • Michel Tixier (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants. Har about 5 ha of vineyards in Trois-Puits, Rilly-la-Montagne, Chigny-les-Roses, Ludes, Mailly-Champagne, Chouilly, Cramant, and Barzy-sur-Marne.
  • Paul Tixier

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 de Chigny-les-Roses, (also called Coopérative Vinicole le Moulin à Vent) has 127 members with 124.34 ha of vineyards. Slightly more than  100 000 bottles are produced annually in their own facility, which means that the main part of the members’ harvest is sold on, and at least partially end up in Champagnes frpm Nicolas Feuillatte. This cooperative is namely one of the 82 cooperativ that are members of the Centre Vinicole Champagne-Nicolas Feuillatte (CVC-NF), with its main facilities located in Chouilly.

Video clips

A video clip from Chigny-les-Roses from the beginning of September 2014.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014-2015, last update 2016-09-04

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