Champagne village profile: Boursault on the left bank of the Marne valley

Diagram Boursault 201504Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties:
253.1 hectares (625.4 acres), of which 69% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir, and 11% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (84%)
Noted for: Château de Boursault.

Map

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, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

On the right bank of the Marne
Northeast: Damery (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
North: Venteuil (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
Northwest: Reuil (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)

On the left bank of the Marne
Eastsoutheast: Vauciennes
Southeast: Épernay
South: Saint-Martin d’Ablois
West: Œuilly

The town hall (mairie) of Boursault. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Denys, 2007).

The village

Boursault is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river. Two small villages or hamlets are located within the borders of the commune: Villemongeois to the east of Boursault and the château, in the direction of Vauciennes, and Villesaint to the west of Boursault, in the direction of Œuilly.

The Boursault commune covers 1645 hectares and has 460 inhabitants (as of 2012) referred to as boursaultiers and boursaultières.

There is a chesse called Boursault, but it has no connection to this village since it is a brand named after a Monsieur Boursault rather than an appellation cheese. Boursault the cheese comes from the Val-de-Marne department (no 94), in the outskirts of Paris, while Boursault the village is located in the Marne department (no 51). Thus, Val-de-Marne isn’t the same as the Vallée de la Marne are within the Champagne wine region, although the Marne river does runs through them both. But on the other hand, Boursault cheese goes well with Champagne since it is a mild and creamy type of cheese and part of the family of cheeses as e.g. Brillat-Savarin.

Château de Boursault. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (uploaded by Denys, photo from 2005).

Château de Boursault

Portrait of Veuve Clicquot together with her great-granddaughter Anne, who inherited Château de Boursault. In the upper right-hand corner of the portrait, the château is visible. This portrait was painted some time between 1860 and 1862 by Léon Cogniet. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons.

Château de Boursault is an impressive palace in neo-renaissance style that was built in 1842-1848 on the initiative of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot-Ponsardin (1777-1866), from 1805 better known as Veuve Clicquot.

Earlier, this was the site of a 16th century fort used by the barons de Boursault, and then a mansion belonging to Louis Marie Joseph de Chevigné, who married the daughter of Veuve Clicquot, Clémentine Clicquot-Ponsardin (1799-1863). When her daughter Marie-Clémentine de Chevigné (1818-1877), the granddaughter of Veuve Clicquot, married in 1839, Veuve Clicquot decided to fund a new palace on this location.

The château was inherited by Marie-Clémentine’s daughter, Anne de Rochechouart-Mortemart (1847-1933, as married known as the Duchess of Uzès), following the death of Barbe-Nicole in 1866. She sold the château in 1913.

Both during World War I and World War II, the château was used as a military hospital. Since 1927, and still today, the château is used by a Champagne producer by the name Château de Boursault, which doesn’t have any connection to the Champagne house Veuve Clicquot. 11 hectares of park surrounds the château.

Boursault with surrounding vineyards as seen from the other side of the Marne river. Villemongois is visible at the left edge in the form of a few buildings, then we see Château de Boursalt surrounded by trees. In the middle of the picture, Boursault itself is located, and to the right we see Villesaint. The Marne river is partially visible in the lower part of the picture. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Denys, 2008).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Boursault mostly consist of mild north-facing slopes with Pinot Meunier as the most common grape variety.

The current vineyard surface in the Boursault commune is 253.1 hectares (625.4 acres). There are 174.3 ha Pinot Meunier (68.9%), 51.2 ha Pinot Noir (20.4%), and 27.1 ha Chardonnay (10.7%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 220 ha. There are 95 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Single vineyard sites

  • Les Cuteries. Claude Michez produces a vineyard-designated Champagne from this site, a 100% Chardonnay that is part of their oaked la Villesenière range.

Other single vineyard sites in Boursault include Sous Boursois.

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.

  • J. & Jacques Bérat (NM), has 12 ha of vineyards in the slopes between Boursault and Œuilly with 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 30% Pinot Noir.
  • Château de Boursault (NM) is a producer that since 1927 is located in the château of the same name, and that uses vineyards around the château, among others. The Champagnes contain a high proportion of Chardonnay. The claim to be the only Champagne producer in the Marne department with “château” in their name. (There are other château-named Champagne producers in the Aube department.)

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.

  • Raphaël Alloux (RC), has about 9 ha of vineyards.
  • Batiste-Sennepin (RC), has 6.4 ha of vineyards in Boursault, Damery, Moussy, Vinay, Brugny-Vaudancourt, Mareuil-le-Port, Mont-Saint-Père, and Fossoy.
  • D. Bérat, or Dominique Bérat, has 4.37 ha of vineyards in Boursault and Œuilly (Montvoisin) and is located at the property Ferme de l’Epine.
  • Michel Bérat (RM)
  • Bérat-Schenk (RM?), has 4 ha of vineyards and uses oak barrels. Annual production about 25 000 bottles.
  • Bouchez-Benard
  • Lucien Dagonet & Fils (RM), also written L. Dagonet & Fils, member of Vignerons Indépendants. Not to be confused with Dagonet & Fils in Hautvillers.
  • Alain David (RC)
  • Foin-Moigneau (RC)
  • Le Gallais (RM, alternative website), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with 4 ha of vineyards, all of which are located within a wall-enclosed clos (that isn’t named on their website).
  • André Gilbert
  • Husson-Joliet (RM)
  • Michel Laval (RC, Facebook page)
  • Claude Lemaire (RM), also written as Patrice Lemaire on the labels.
  • Lemaire Rasselet
  • Jean-Pierre Lété, not to be confused with Pierre Lété in Damery.
  • Claude Michez (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with a bit more than 4 ha of vineyards, mostly in Boursault but also in Mardeuil and Cuis (in the Côte des Blancs). Also sells Champagnes under the name:
    • la Villesenière, where oak is used for all cuvées. The range includes a vineyard-designated Champagne, Les Cuteries, consisting of 100% Chardonnay from Boursault.
  • Quencez-Talbot
  • Stéphane & Fils
  • de Villepin (RC), has 7 ha of vineyards. The property originates from the Ferme de Boursois (which is located in the upper part of the slope between Boursault and Vauciennes), which used to belong to the Duchess d’Uzès, but who sold the property in 1912, i.e., around the same time she sold the Château de Boursault. The company address is in Saint-Martin d’Ablois, though.

Comment: the list may not be complete.

Cooperatives

  • Coopérative Vinicole de Boursault is a cooperative with 54 members with a total of 37,93 ha of vineyards. It is one of the 82 cooperatives that are members of the major cooperative Centre Vinicole Champagne-Nicolas Feuillatte (CVC-NF), with its main facilities in Chouilly.

Villesaint, a small village that is located just east of Boursault but within the borders of the Boursault commune, with surrounding vineyards. In the distance, vineyards on the right bank of the Marne river are visible. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Denys, 2007).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2015, last update 2015-07-20

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