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: 144.5 hectares (357.1 acres), of which 76% Pinot Noir, 12% Chardonnay, and 12% 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 307 inhabitants (as of 2015).

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 144.5 hectares (357.1 acres). There are 110.1 ha Pinot Noir (76.2%), 17.4 ha Chardonnay (12.0%), 16.7 ha Pinot Meunier (11.6%), and 0.3 ha others (0.2%). Current information from CIVC as of 2018, refers to the situation a few years earlier. There are 61 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 141 ha.

Single vineyard sites

Single vineyard sites in Écueil include the following:

  • Les Aillys is a vineyard site immediately to the north of the village itself. Most of the site is south-facing with a mild slope.
  • 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. Lacourte-Godbillon produces two vineyard-designated Champagnes (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) from this site.
  • Derrière Moutier is an east-facing site situated in the slope immediately above the graveyard, to the west and northwest of it.
  • 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.
  • Les Hautes Vignes is a southeast-facing vineyard site in the southern part of Écueil. It is located immediately above/west of the D26 and borders to Les Gillis in southwest. Lacourte-Godbillon uses Chardonnay from this site for their Chaillots Hautes Vignes.
  • Le Mont des Chrétiens is a southeast-sloping vineyard site in the southern part of Écueil, on the border to Chamery. The site is located in the upper part of the slope, close to the edge of the forest, and borders to Les Gillis, among others. Savart produces a vineyard-designated Champagne using Chardonnay from this site.

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, Facebook page), 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 Écueil 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.
  • Savart (NM, Facebook page), one of the new generation of high-quality small producers, led by Frédéric Savart who changed the style when he took over from his parents. (The name used by the previous generation was Daniel Savart.) 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, and the same is true for the higher-end non-vintage Champagne, L’Accomplie. The regular vintage Champagne is called L’Année and is composed of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay. Expression is an old vine 100% Pinot Noir from three vineyard sites in Écueil (Les Aillys, Les Chaillots derrière Moutier, and Les Gillis). The first vintage of Expression was 2009; 2009 and 2010 were white and 2011 was a rosé. From 2012, both colours have been produced in parallel. There are also two vineyard-designated Champagnes: Le Mont Benoît which is a 95% Pinot Noir/5% Chardonnay from Villers-aux-Nœuds, and Le Mont de Chrétiens is a 100% Chardonnay from Écueil. The latter has replaced Dame de Cœur, the former top Champagne of the range, an excellent 100% Chardonnay which generally needs time in the cellar. Before, there was also Calliope,  a vintage Champagne in a more traditional style composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, produced until the 2007 vintage. Until recently, Savart was RM, but is now NM.
    I’ve blogged about my impressions of the 2014 release, the 2015 release, and the 2018 release.

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, Facebookpage), whose range includes two vintage Champagnes. Brut Millésime is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay (refers to the 2009 and 2011 vintages). Chœur de Pinot is a 100% Pinot Noir which made its debut in the 2012 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, Facebook-sida), har 9 ha vingårdar, huvudsakligen i Écueil, och en årsproduktion av 60 000 flaskor. Sortimentet innehåller tre årgångschampagner. Millesime består av 50% Chardonnay och 50% Pinot Noir (avser årgångarna 2007 och 2009). Ellipse är en delvis fatlagrad blanc de blancs. Epilogue är en årgångsrosé på Pinot Noir och Chardonnay (2012: 60% PN varav 8% rött vin och 40% Ch, fatlagrad).
  • Allouchery-Perseval (RC, Facebook page), has 9 ha of vineyards, primarily in Écueil, and an annual production of 60 000 bottles. The range includes three vintage Champagnes. Millesime is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2007 and 2009 vintages). Ellipse is a partially oaked blanc de blancs. Epilogue is a vintage rosé composed of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (2012: 60% PN of which 8% red wine and 40% Ch, oaked). A French-language presentation of this producer is found in the video belo:

  • Baillet-Jauroyon (RC, Facebook page)
  • Michel Barrault (RC)
  • Bonet-Varry (RM)
  • Louis Brochet (RM, Facebook page), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with 13 ha of vineyards. Has a background from Brochet-Hervieux (see below) and is led by Hélène and Louis Brochet, grandchildren of Henri Brochet. The Louis Brochet who lended his name was the father of Henri. The range includes two vintage Champagnes. Millésime is composed of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay (refers to the 2012 vintage). The top cuvee is HBH, short for Henri Brochet-Hervieux, and is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2005 vintage), and is produced in the best vintages. 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, Facebook page), with the additional name Domaine Les Croix, which has 5 ha of vineyards. The range includes three vintage Champagnes.  Millésime is composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay (refers to the 2008 and 2009 vintages). 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. Espionne is the best vintage cuvée of the producer, and is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2002 vintage). It used to have its own website.
    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.
  • Brochet-Dolet (RC), which have used this name since 1990. Has a background in Brochet-Perseval. The range includes two vintage Champagnes: Brut Réserve composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, and Brut Prestige which is sold with a bit more age and is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
  • Brochet-Prévost (RM), belongs together with Louis Brochet above.
  • M. Brugnon (RC, Facebook page), a producer run by Alain Brugnon and who 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, Millésime, 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.
  • Desbordes-Amiaud (RM), a producer with 9.2 ha of vineyards, mostly in Écueil, with 63% Pinot Noir and a plot of ungrafted vines. The range includes a vintage Champagne, which also has been sold with a high age. Elodie Desbordes, who leads  Desbordes-Amiaud, is also behind Elodie D. in Épernay and is marred to Fabrice Pouillon who is behind R. Pouillon & fils in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.
    History
    This is a producer which has been led by women in several generations and long has produced bottles of their own. Marie-Christine took over in 1969 from her mother Hélène-Rose. In 1997, Elodie Desbordes took over from Marie-Christine.
  • H. Deguerne & Fils (RC), whose range includes a vintage Champagne, Brut Millesime, and the top cuvée La Divine, named using a nickname of Greta Garbo.
  • Desjardin-Varoquier
  • Dravigny-Demoizet
  • Dravigny-Godbillon (RC)
  • Lacourte-Godbillon (RM, Facebook page), 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 Millésime is composed of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (2008: 50% Ch/50% PN, 2012: 40% Ch/60% PN). There are also two vineyard-designated vintage Champagnes: Chaillots, which is a 100% Pinot Noir from the site Les Chaillots in Écueil, and Chaillots Hautes Vignes which is a 100% Chardonnay from the two sites Les Chaillots and Les Hauts Vignes. There used to be a Blanc de Sables in the range, a non-vintage blanc de blancs which is mostly (80%) oak barrel-vinified, with the Chardonnay taken from clayey and sandy (“sableux”) soils.
  • Lacourte-Guillemart (RC, Facebook page), 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), which has 4 ha vineyards in Écueil, Villers-aux-Nœuds, Sermiers, and Verzenay. Secret de Millésime is a vintage Champagne composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2011 vintage).
  • Leclere-Pointillart (RC), has vineyards with 80% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay. The range includes a vintage Champagne composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
  • Macquart-Lorette (Facebook page; 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 Millésime composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2007 vintage), 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. The company name is Nectar du Terroir.
  • Pointillart-Leroy (RC, Facebook page), which has 5.12 ha of vineyards in Écueil, Chamery, and Vrigny, of which 3.59 ha Pinot Noir, 0.80 ha Chardonnay, and 0.72 ha Pinot Meunier. The range includes the vintage Champagne L’ode à la joie which is 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2011 vintage). The name means Ode to joy, and is also the name of a poem by Schiller, to which Beethoven used in the fourth movement in his ninth symphony.
  • 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 (RC, Facebook page), has 3 ha of vineyards. Marquise des Anges is a vintage Champagne composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2011 vintage). The range also includes a vintage blanc de blancs.
  • Watier-Kirch (RC), whose range includes a vintage Champagne.

Comment: The list may be incomplete.

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 2014-2018, last update 2018-11-30

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