Champagne village profile: Grauves, a premier cru in the Côte des Blancs

Diagram Grauves 201508Key facts

Located in subregion/area: Côte des Blancs / Côte des Blancs
Vineyards and grape varieties: 190.8 hectares (471.5 acres), of which 90.7% Chardonnay, 7.6% Pinot Meunier, and 1.6% Pinot Noir.
Classification: Premier cru (95%)

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

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 with surrounding vineyards. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo François Collard, 2009).

The village

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 675 inhabitants (as of 2012), referred to as gravriots and graviotes.

The church and graveyard in Grauves with vineyards in the background. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Quispiam, 2014).

Vineyards

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 190.8 hectares (471.5 acres). There are 173.1 ha Chardonnay (90.7%), 14.5 ha Pinot Meunier (7.6%), 3.1 ha Pinot Noir (1.6%), and 0,1 ha other (<0.1%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 185 ha. There are 191 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

  •  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.

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. 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.
  • Courty-Leroy (RM)
  • Pierre Domi (RM), has vineyards in Grauves, Mancy, and Monthelon. The vineyard-designated Les Hautes Roualles from 100% Chardonnay was launched in 2014.
  • Marc Dominé, has 3.37 ha vineyards with 97% Chardonnay and 3% Pinot Noir.
  • Driant-Valentin (RM), 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.
  • Frerejean Frères was founded in 2005 by three brothers Frerejean Taittinger. The Champagnes come from Grauves but the company address is in Reims.
  • Gaspard-Bayet (RM)
  • P. Guyon (RM) with the company name Guyon Pierre.
  • Pascal Marest
  • 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), has about 9 ha of vineyards inGrauves, Bisseuil, Verneuil, Bligny (in the Côte des Bar/Aube), and Bertignolles. The composition of the vintage Champagne varies.
  • Remue-Gaspard (RM), 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.

Cooperatives

  • 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:
    • Le Royal Coteau, which has two vintage Champagnes: Brut Millésime consisting of a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and Vieilles Vignes Millésime consisting of 100% Chardonnay from old vines in Grauves.

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 Churchill.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2015, last update 2015-12-27

This entry was posted in Champagne villages and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s