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

Diagram Vrigny 201506Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Vesle et Ardre
Vineyards and grape varieties: 90.7 hectares (224.1 acres), of which 71% Pinot Meunier, 19.5% Pinot Noir, and 9.3% Chardonnay.
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 are in yellow and the autre cru villages are in orange. The La Petite Montagne de Reims part, where Vrigny 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

North: Gueux
East: Ormes
South: Coulommes-la-Montagne (premier cru)
Westsouthwest: Méry-Prémecy

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

The village

Vrigny is located in the ”Petite Montagne de Reims”, the northwestern part of the Montagne de Reims. This village is one of a string of Champagne villages, and the last of that line which is a premier cru.

The Vrigny commune covers 446 hectares and has 199 inhabitants (as of 2013) called Vrignolais and Vrignolaises.

In the northern part of the commune, we find the A4/E50 motorway between Paris and Reims. It runs over the lower periphery of the Montagne de Reims hill.

The entrance to Vrigny from the north, with vineyards in the background. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Levequefabrice, 2013).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Vrigny consist of mild slopes with varying exposure, including east- and northeast-facing slopes. Pinot Meunier dominates.

The current vineyard surface in the Vrigny commune is 90.7 hectares (224.1 acres). There are 64.5 ha Pinot Meunier (71.1%), 17.7 ha Pinot Noir (19.5%), 8.4 ha Chardonnay (9.3%), and 0.1 ha others (0.1%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. There are 40 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 87 ha.

The premier cru classification

On the now defunct échelle des crus, Vrigny was rated 90%, which has made it a premier cru village. One of the last changes in the échelle des crus before it was retired, was that Vrigny and the neighbouring village Coulommes-la-Montagne were raised from 89% to 90% (the rating of several other villages in the Petite Montagne de Reims) and therefore promoted to premier cru status. This change took place in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Single vineyard sites

Single vineyard sites in Vrigny include the following, among others:

  • Les Champs de Vallier. Roger Coulon has Chardonnay in this vineyard, and it is used for the oaked and (almost) vineyard-designated Champagne Les Côteaux de Vallier – Héritage.
  • Les Clos, an east- to north-facing site with a mild slope, located immediately to the south of the village. There is no vineyard wall, despite the clos name.
  • Les Linguets. In this vineyard, Roger Coulon has ungrafted Pinot Meunier vines planted in 1953, that are used for their blanc de noirs vintage cuvée.
  • Les Près is a northeast-facing site to the west of the village, and it borders to the forest. The soil is deep sand containing shell fossils. It is one of two vineyards used for Roger Sergent’s cuvée Les Près Dieu, a 100% Chardonnay.

Vineyards in wintertime in the northern part of Vrigny. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Levequefabrice, 2013).

Champagne producers

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.

  •  Arlaux (RC), earlier written Arlaux Père & Fils on the labels, have approx 9 ha of vineyards. The range includes a vintage Champagne named Millésime Rare. Has their own shop in Paris, located in the Quartier Latin.
  • Roger Coulon (RM), a high-quality producer that is a member of Vignerons Indépendants and of the highly exclusive small groer group Trait-d-union. Today led by Eric Coulon and has 10 ha of vineyards in Vrigny, Coulommes-la-Montagne, Pargny-lès-Reims and two other premier cru villages with 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 30% Pinot Noir. The annual production is 90 000 bottles. My small experience indicates a style with rather firm Champagnes with noticeable minerality. Their Millésime Blanc de Noirs is partly made from Pinot Meunier from ungrafted vines in the site Les Linguets, but also contains Pinot Noir. Les Côteaux de Vallier – Héritage is an oaked Champagne from the site Les Champas de Vallier consisting of almost 100% Chardonnay, and is given a long time before release. Some of the other Champagnes are also oaked, but not all. Has on some occasions produced a white Coteaux Champenois (a still wine) from Chardonnay. Below a video where two Americans from GrapeRadio help out with the harvest at Roger Coulon some years ago.

  • Arnold Dravigny (RC)
  • B. Féry-Bertin (RM)
  • Hoffmann
  • Marie-France de Latour
  • Lelarge-Pugeot (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with 8.7 ha of vineyards in Vrigny, Coulommes-la-Montagne, and Gueux. The initiated conversion to organic farming in 2010, and the first organic Champagnes from this producer appeared in the autumn of 2014. Has vintage Champagne which is Extra Brut and is composed of one third each of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir (refers to the 2002 vintage); the 2005 vintage was released in the autumn of 2015. Quintessence is composed of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Meunier from old vines, and is to 50% vinified in large oak barrels. The range also includes a vintage-dated Coteaux Champenois from 100% Pinot Noir.
  • Roger Sergent (RM), on some labels also Guillaume Sergent. The top cuvée is a 100% Chardonnay named Les Près Dieu, which is a mixture of grapes from the vineyards Les Près (in Vrigny) and Les Vignes Dieu (in Coulommes-la-Montagne), vinified in large oak barrels.
  • Suply-Henaux (RC). The range includes a vintage Champagne named  Hortense.

Former producers

  • Paul Gadiot

Cooperatives

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.

  • The cooperative in the neighbouring village Colummes-la-Montagne (located just at the border with Vrigny) is called Coopérative Vinicole Coulommes Vrigny, so it is a cooperative also for Coulommes-la-Montagne.

Producers in other villages

  • Egly-Ouriet (RM), a high-class producer located in Ambonnay in the Grande Montagne de Reims, makes an excellent monocru Champagne from 2 ha of vineyards in Vrigny, a varietal Pinot Meunier called Les Vignes de Vrigny.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014-2016, last update 2016-08-06

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