Located in subregion/area: Côte des Blancs / Côte des Blancs
Vineyards and grape varieties: 190.0 hectares (469.5 acres), of which 92% Chardonnay, 7% Pinot Meunier, and 1.5% Pinot Noir.
Classification: Premier cru (95%)
Google Maps view with the villages in the Côte des Blancs highlighted. The grand cru villages are shown in green, and the premier cru villages, including Grauves, in yellow.
Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile.
North: Cuis, premier cru
Northeast: Cramant, grand cru
East: Avize, grand cru
Southeast: Oger, grand cru
West: Moslins (part of the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay)
Northwest: Mancy (part of the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay)
Grauves is located some 8 km south of Épernay, on the “back side” of the actual Côte des Blancs slope, in a valley formed by the stream Le Darcy. Le Darcy originates in Grauves and flows to northwest into the area Côteaux Sud d’Épernay. A forested area separates Grauves from the other villages in the Côte des Blancs.
Other than the Grauves village itself, the commune also contains the hamlets of Le Grand Pré, Montgrimaux, and Le Darcy.
The name Grauves is derived from the Latin grava, meaning gravel. A local nickname of the village is “Royal Coteau” since forest surrounds surrounds Grauves on several sides, a bit like a royal crown. Actually, a horse shoe would be a better description of the shape of the edge of the forest around the village, but perhaps too prosaic.
The Grauves commune covers 784 hectares and has 626 inhabitants (as of 2016), referred to as Gravriots and Graviotes.
The vineyards in Grauves are located around the village, on both banks of the stream Le Darcy. The slopes vary but include southwest-facing slopes on the right bank and northeast-facing slopes on the left bank. Chardonnay is the dominating grape variety.
The current vineyard surface in the Grauves commune is 190.0 hectares (469.5 acres). There are 174.1 ha Chardonnay (91.6%), 13.0 ha Pinot Meunier (6.8%), and 2.9 ha Pinot Noir (1.5%). Current information from CIVC as of 2019, refers to the situation a few years earlier. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 185 ha. There are 193 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.
The premier cru status
On the now defunct échelle des crus scale, where 100% = grand cru and 90-99% = premier cru, a smaller number of villages had different numbers for white and black grapes, i.e., for Chardonnay and for Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Grauves was one of them, with 95% for white grapes and 90% for black grapes, which in both cases meant premier cru status. Grauves has kept this premier cru following the abolishment of the échelle des crus, just like other villages that achieved it.
Single vineyard sites
Single vineyard sites in Grauves include e.g. the following
- Les Hautes Roualles is located in the northern part of the commune, high in the slope. Pierre Domi produces a vineyard-designated Champagne composed of 100% Chardonnay from this vineyard.
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. Smaller producers are placed under this heading when no information regarding producer status is available.
- Bauchet-Augé (RM)
- Pierre Cordonnier (RM), has 2.6 ha of vineyards and an annual production of 6 000 bottles.
- Courty-Leroy (RM)
- Pierre Domi (RM), has 8.5 ha of vineyards in Grauves, Mancy, and Monthelon. The vineyard-designated Les Hautes Roualles from 100% Chardonnay was launched in 2014.
- Ange Dominé (RM)
- Marc Dominé, has 3.37 ha vineyards with 97% Chardonnay and 3% Pinot Noir and an annual production of 10 000 bottles.
- Driant-Valentin (RM, Facebook page), member of Vignerons Indépendants with 8 ha vineyards in Grauves and Aÿ. The top Champagnes is called Cuvée des Lys and consists of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, just as the vintage cuvée.
- Gaspard-Bayet (RM)
- P. Guyon (RM) with the company name Guyon Pierre.
- Pascal Marest (RM)
- Hugues Populus (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants with 4.8 ha of vineyards. Several of the Champagnes are partially produced using oak barrels.
- Mathieu-Princet (RM, Facebook page), has about 9 ha of vineyards in Grauves, Bisseuil, Verneuil, Bligny (in the Côte des Bar), and Bertignolles. The composition of the vintage Champagne varies.
- Remue-Gaspard (RM, Facebook page), has vineyards in 10 communes in the Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, and Aube.
- Ruelle-Lagedamont (RM)
Comment: the list may be incomplete.
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 de Grauves is a cooperative in Grauves founded in 1948 with about 200 members with just under 60 ha of vineyards, mostly in Grauves but also in some neighbouring villages in the Côte des Blancs. The Champagnes are sold under the brand:
Historically notable Champagnes
- 1928 Pol Roger Grauves was the first Champagne ever rated 100 points by the notable Champagne critic Richard Juhlin. As it happens, 1928 was a legendary Champagne vintage, and the “regular” 1928 Pol Roger was the favorite Champagne of Winston Churchill.
Producers in other villages
- Frerejean Frères (Facebook page) was founded in 2005 by three brothers Frerejean Taittinger. The Champagnes initially came from Grauves but the company address is in Reims. Nowadays they have an address in Avize. The range includes several vintage Champagnes: Extra Brut is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2006 vintage). Cuvée des Hussards is a Chardonnay-dominated vintage Champagne from old vines (2008: 100% Chardonnay, 2012: 85% Ch and 15% Pinot Noir). The vintage rosé is composed of 60% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir, and 12% Pinot Noir red wine (refers to the 2012 vintage). VV26 is a non-vintage blanc de blancs from old vines, where the oldest were planted in 1926.
- Wikipedia about the village in English, in French.
- Website of the Grauves commune
- UMC’s new village profile of Grauves
- Vineyard map of Grauves at weinlagen-info.de
- The Swedish version of this post.
© Tomas Eriksson 2015-2019, last update 2019-04-28