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

Diagram Œuilly 201504Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 138.9 hectares (343.2 acres), of which 50% Pinot Meunier, 27% Pinot Noir, and 23% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (84%)
Noted for: home village of Tarlant

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


Google Maps view with the villages in the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite highlighted.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile, if there is one.

Neighbouring villages

On the right bank of the Marne
North: Reuil (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
Northnorthwest: Binson-et-Orquigny (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
Northwest: Châtillon-sur-Marne (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)

On the left bank of the Marne
Eastsoutheast: Boursault
Southsoutheast: Saint-Martin-d’Ablois (part of the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay)
South: Festigny (via a strip of land in the eastern part of that commune)
Southwest: Leuvrigny
Westnorthwest: Mareuil-le-Port

The church in Œuilly, Église Saint-Memmie. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Nicole-christiane Paladini, 2012).

The village

Œuilly is located along the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river.

The Œuilly commune covers 930 hectares and has 612 inhabitants (as of 2013), referred to as Uliacois and Uliacoises.

In Œuilly, there is a museum called Ecomusée Champenois à Œuilly, consisting of three parts showing what everyday life in the neighbourhood could look like around the year 1900: La Maison Champenois (home of a winegrowing family), L’Ecole 1900 (a village school), and Le Musée de la Goutte (a distillery). The museum is presented in the video below (French, no subtitles):

Vineyards

The vineyards in Œuilly consist mostly of mild north-facing slopes with Pinot Meunier as the most common grape variety, but also a rather high proportion of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The current vineyard surface in the Œuilly commune is 138.9 hectares (343.2 acres). There are 69.3 ha Pinot Meunier (49.9%), 37 ha Pinot Noir (26.6%), and 32.5 ha Chardonnay (23.4%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 134 ha. There are 85 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Single vineyard sites

  • Four à Chaux, a site immediately to the east of the village, high up the slope. Tarlant’s cuvée BAM! are produced from grapes from this vineyard and Les Sables. Grapes from this vineyard are also used for the vintage rosé.
  • Les Crayons, a site some distance east of the village, down by the river.  Tarlant’s Cuvée Louis are produced from old vines in this vineyard.
  • Les Sables, a site a short distance to the east of the village, rather high up the slope. Les Sables borders Four à Chaux, and is just east of that site. Tarlant’s La Vigne d’Antan are produced from ungrafted Chardonnay from this vineyard, and BAM! is produced from grapes from this vineyard and from Four à Chaux.
  • Longue Attente. Tarlant’s Œuilly Rouge is produced from grapes from this vineyard and from Notre Dame.
  • Notre Dame. Tarlant’s Œuilly Rouge is produced from grapes from this vineyard and from Longue Attente. Grapes from this vineyard are also used for the vintage rosé.
  • Pierre de Bellevue, a site just east of the village, at the low end of the slope. Tarlant’s LVigne d’Or is produced from old vine Pinot Meunier in this vineyard.

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.

  • Bruno Cez (RC)
  • André Cez-Rondeau (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants with 5.5 ha of vineyards in Œuilly, Boursault, and Vauciennes. The range includes a vintage Champagne with different coloured labels in different vintages.
  • François Chaumont (RM) has the entire vineyard holdings of 5 ha (2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay) in Puisieulx (in the Grande Montagne de Reims). François Chaumont used to be the only producer of monocru Champagnes from the grand cru village Puisieulx. François Chaumont is married to Marie-Hélène Littière, daughter of Michel Littière, which is the reason the production takes place at a common location Earlier, the grapes were sent to a cooperative. The independent production was initiated in 2008, and the range includes a vintage blanc de blancs.
  • Doudard-Fontaine
  • Jean Lagache. Not to be confused with Lagache in Pierry.
  • Philippe Lemaire (RM)
  • Alain Littière (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants which has vineyards with 50% Pinot Noir (three-quarters in Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Avenay-Val-d’Or), 30% Pinot Meunier in the Vallée de la Marne, and 20% Chardonnay in the Vallée de la Marne and Aÿ. Cuvée Alain is a vintage blanc de blancs and Cuvée Clémence is a non-vintage 100% Pinot Noir from old vines in Aÿ.
  • Gérard Littière (RM)
  • Michel Littière (RM), has 5.5 ha of vineyards in the Œuilly area. The range includes a vintage blanc de blancs. Also see François Chaumont above.
  • Ghislain Moigneau & Fils
  • André Patis
  • Rasselet Père & Fils (RM), has 9 ha of vineyards, including 1 ha of old Chardonnay vines in Côte des Blancs that is used for their blanc de blancs, La Réserve de Paul.
  • Tarlant (RM), without doubt the most well-known Champagne producer of the village, led by Jean-Mary Tarlant and Benoît Tarlant, and often found on lists of the better producers of the region. Has 14 ha of vineyards (so a rather large “small grower”) in Œuilly, Boursault, Saint-Agnan, and Celles-lès-Condé; the two last villages are found in the Terroir de Condé. Altogether there are about 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. Uses some oak barrels for the vinification and employs a low dosage of 0-6 g/l for all cuvées. The traditional top cuvée is called Cuvée Louis, is non-vintage and is produced from 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay from old vines in the Les Crayons vineyard and released at a rather high age. Currently (2015), the base vintage is 1999 (85% of the cuvée). The range also includes a number of Champagnes collectively called “Terroir Revelations”, that represent a modern small grower style as well as some more odd choices of grape material. There is an ungrafted Chardonnay called La Vigne d’Antan (from a vineyard in Œuilly with sandy soils, Les Sables), a Pinot Meunier from old vines (in the Pierre de Bellevue vineyard) called LVigne d’Or, a Pinot Noir (from the Mocque Tonneau vineyard in Celles-lès-Condé) called LVigne Royale (this name chosen since the French royal court once upon a time liked to do outings to Celles-les-Condé) and finally BAM!, a cuvée of three of the four unusual grape varieties of Champagne, Pinot Blanc, Arbanne, and Petit Meslier (from the vineyards Four à Chaux and Les Sables). The range also includes a vintage Œuilly Rouge (from the Notre Dame and Longue Attente vineyards), which is a still red Coteaux Champenois. Finally, I can’t avoid naming a one-off cuvée that is no longer part of the range: QV Discobitch that was released in 2008 (and is supposed to consist of 1/3 each of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir from the 2005 vintage) in a highly kitschy bottle with the name Discobitch written using over 300 shiny crystals (“strass-diamants”) and QV in gold. A very unusual move for a serious small grower, since this type of conspicuous bottle usually indicates either a mediocre content or grotesque overpricing, and neither fits Tarlant. The cuvée was produced for two Parisian DJs that produce songs under the artist name Discobitch. Below their most well-known video, C’est Beau La Bourgeoisie, which doesn’t contain any picture of the bottle but which does mention Champagne, followed by a video where Benoît Tarlant shows the grapes for the 2012 vintage of BAM!:

Comment: the list may not be 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 La Solidarité is a cooperative with 69 medlemmar with a total of 37.16 of vineyards. The Champagnes are sold under the brand:
    • P. Germont

Links

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

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