Champagne village profile: Écueil, a premier cru village in the Petite Montagne de Reims

Diagram Écueil 201506Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Vesle et Ardre
Vineyards and grape varieties: 144.9 hectares (358.1 acres), of which 76.3% Pinot Noir, 11.8% Chardonnay, and 11.7% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: Premier cru (90%)

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 Vesle et Ardre highlighted. The premier cru villages, including Écueil, are in yellow and the autre cru villages are in orange. The La Petite Montagne de Reims part, where Écueil is located, is shown within red borders and the Vallée de la Vesle part within green borders.

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

Neighbouring villages

South: Chamery (premier cru)
East: Villers-aux-Nœuds (premier cru)
North: Sacy (premier cru)

Southwest: Pourcy
Westsouthwest: Marfaux

Écueil with surrounding vineyards and agricultural land as seen from below the slope. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2015).

The village

Écueil is located in the slope of ”La Petite Montagne de Reims”, the northwestern part of the Montagne de Reims. The village is part of a string of Champagne villages, most of which are classified premier cru.

The Écueil commune covers a surface of 703 hectares and has 316 inhabitants (as of 2013).

The town hall (mairie) of Écueil. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2011).

Vineyards

The vineyards mostly consist of east-facing slopes on the the northwestern part of the Montagne de Reims, and are dominated by Pinot Noir. Compared to the neighbouring villages, the proportion of Pinot Noir is considerably higher and the proportion of Pinot Meunier is lower.

The current vineyard surface in the Écueil commune is 144.9 hectares (358.1 acres). There are 110.6 ha Pinot Noir (76.3%), 17.2 ha Chardonnay (11.8%), 16.9 ha Pinot Meunier (11.7%), and 0.2 ha others (<0.2%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. There are 61 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 141 ha.

Single vineyard sites

  • Les Chaillots is a vineyard site in the northern part of Écueil, northwest of the village itself, on the border to Sacy. The site is located in the upper part of the slope, but is rather flat. It is one of two vineyard sites where Nicolas Maillart has old Chardonnay vines used for their Les Chaillots Gillis.
  • Les Gillis is a southeast-sloping vineyard site in the southern part of Écueil, on the border to Chamery. The site is located mid-slope, just above/west of the D26 road. It is one of two vineyard sites where Nicolas Maillart has old Chardonnay vines used for their Les Chaillots Gillis.

Vineyards around Écueil sett as seen from a cross above the vineyards. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2015).

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. ND = négociant-distributeur, which means that they at least partly sell Champagnes produced by someone else, but under their own name.

  • Nicolas Maillart (NM), a good producer with vineyards in Écueil, Villers-Allerand, and Bouzy with 75% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay. The regular vintage Champagne is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. Les Chaillots Gillis is a 100% Chardonnay vintage Champagne from old vines in the two vineyard sites Les Chaillots and Les Gillis, and is oak barrel-vinified. Les Francs de Pied is a varietal Pinot Noir from ungrafted vines in a vineyard site in Éceuil with sandy soils. It is an oak barrel-vinified vintage Champagne. Also sells Champagnes under the following brand:
    • Marie-Hanze, the brand was added in the 1990s to honour the mother of Nicolas Maillart, Marie Madeleine Maillart, born Hanze, whose family has provided a large part of the vineyards of Maillart.

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.

  • Allouchery-Bailly (RC), whose vintage Champagne is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay (refers to the 2009 vintage).
  • Allouchery-Courleux (RC), has vineyards with 90% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier, and 5% Chardonnay. The range includes two vintage Champagnes, where the regular is a 100% Pinot Noir and Blanches Vignes is a 100% Chardonnay.
  • Allouchery-Perseval (RC), has 9 ha of vineyards, primarily in Écueil, and an annual production of 60 000 bottles. The vintage Champagne is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2007 vintage). A French-language presentation of this producer is found in the video belo:

  • Baillet-Jauroyon (RC)
  • Bonet-Varry (RM)
  • Louis Brochet (RM, formerly Brochet Hervieux), member of Vignerons Indépendants. Has a background from Brochet-Hervieux (see below) and is today led by Alain Brochet, son of Henri Brochet. Louis Brochet was the father of Henri. The vintage Champagne is composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The top cuvee is HBH, short for Henri Brochet-Hervieux, and is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. Tintin cartoonist Hergé was a fan of the Brochet-Hervieux Champagnes and a bottle is featured in Destination Moon, where Captain Haddock runs into considerable problems when trying to open a bottle. Brochet Hervieux has earlier printed special labels with drawings from this Tintin album.
  • Vincent Brochet (RM). The vintage Champagne is composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay (refers to the 2008 vintage). 3 gr is a vintage Champagne composed of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay (refers to the 2007 vintage) and unsurprisingly, its level of dosage is 3 grams per liter.
    History
    The producer has a background from Brochet-Hervieux (see also above). In 1944, Henri Brochet married Yvonne Hervieux from Sacy, which resulted in Brochet-Hervieux. The son Vincent Brochet took over Brochet-Hervieux in 1990. In 2010, he bought Domaine Les Croix and in 2012 he started to use his own name, Vincent Brochet.

    • Espionne is a cuvée from Vincent Brochet that has its own website. It is the best vintage cuvée of the producer, and is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2002 vintage).
  • Brochet-Dolet (RC)
  • Brochet-Prévost (RM)
  • M. Brugnon (RC), has also taken over from Philippe Brugnon, formerly located in Rilly-la-Montagne. Has 8.5 ha of vineyards in Écueil (3 ha), Rilly-la-Montagne (1 ha), and Mont-Saint-Père (in the Vallée de la Marne Ouest, 4.5 ha). The regular vintage Champagne is composed of 2/3 Chardonnay from Rilly-la-Montagne and 1/3 Pinot Noir from Écueil, and the range also includes a vintage blanc de blancs.
  • Canu Delahaye (RC)
  • Desbordes-Amiaud (RM), has 9 ha of vineyards, mostly in Écueil. The range includes a vintage Champagne.
  • H. Deguerne & Fils (RC), whose range includes a vintage Champagne and the top cuvée La Divine, named using a nickname of Greta Garbo.
  • Desjardin-Varoquier
  • Dravigny-Demoizet
  • Dravigny-Godbillon (RC)
  • Lacourte-Godbillon (RM), has 8 ha of vineyards with 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay. 0.5 ha are in Mesneux and the rest in Éceuil. The vintage Champagne is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2008 vintage). Blanc de Sables is a non-vintage blanc de blancs which is mostly (80%) är oak barrel-vinified; the Chardonnay originates from clayey and sandy (“sableux”) soils.
  • Lacourte-Guillemart (RC), the range of which includes a vintage Champagne composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. Cuvée Pierre & Henri is a blanc de blancs.
  • Hervé Leclère (RC), has vineyards in Écueil, Villers-aux-Nœuds, Sermiers, and Verzenay. Secret de Millésime is a vintage Champagne composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
  • Leclere-Pointillart (RC), has vineyards with 80% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay. The range includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Macquart-Lorette (both labels with RC and RM can be found, and I haven’t been able to figure out which are the more recent bottles), has 5 ha of vineyards.
  • Perrard-Trichet (RC), whose range includes a vintage Champagne.
  • Perrier-Fourny (RC)
  • Pointillart & Fils (RC), has 6 ha of vineyards. The range includes two vintage Champagnes; the regular composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, and Rencontre composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The range also includes a non-vintage Blanc de Blancs en barriques, which is oak barrel-vinified.
  • Pointillart-Leroy (RC, Facebook page)
  • Savart (RM), one of the new generation of high-quality small growers, led by Frédéric Savart who changed the style when he took over from his parents. Has 4 ha of vineyards in Écueil and Villers-aux-Nœuds, of which 3 ha Pinot Noir and 1 ha Chardonnay. The vintage Champagnes are produced using a proportion of oak barrel vinification. The regular vintage Champagne is called L’Année and is composed of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay. Calliope is a vintage Champagne composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir in a more traditional style, and was produced until the 2007 vintage. On the summit we find Dame de Cœur, an excellent 100% Chardonnay which generally needs time in the cellar, and Expression which is a 100% Pinot Noir. The first vintage of Expression was the 2009; 2009 and 2010 where white and 2011 was produced as a rosé.
    I’ve blogged about my impressions of the 2014 release and the 2015 release.
  • Varry-Lefèvre (RC), has 4 ha of vineyards with 80% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Meunier. The vintage Champagne is composed of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. When it is sold with more age it is called Vieux Millésime.
  • Vély-Prodhomme, has 3 ha of vineyards. Marquise des Anges is a vintage Champagne composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir.
  • Watier-Kirch (RC), whose range includes a vintage Champagne.

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 Écueil), with 70 members and 140 ha of vineyards. Doesn’t seem to have a website.

The church in Écueil. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Garitan, 2011).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014-2016, last update 2016-07-04

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