Champagne village profile: Oiry, a grand cru in the Côte des Blancs

Diagram Oiry 201510Key facts

Located in subregion/area: Côte des Blancs / Côte des Blancs
Vineyards and grape varieties: 88.4 hectares (218.4 acres), of which 99.4% Chardonnay and 0.6% Pinot Meunier.

Classification: Grand cru (100%)
Noted for: Chardonnay from grand cru-classified vineyards.

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 same side of Marne
West: Chouilly, grand cru
Southwest: Cramant, grand cru
South: Avize, grand cru

On the opposite side of Marne
North: Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, premier cru (part of the Grande Vallée de la Marne)
Comment: some of the communes on the map, in particular on the flatlands to the east, are not part of the Champagne appellation and therefore don’t have any village profiles.

The town hall (mairie) of Oiry. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo October Ends, 2011).

The village

Oiry is located a short distance east of Épernay and just south of the Marne river, at the stream Les Tarnauds. The commune is located on flat ground which is mostly not used for vineyards, and therefore has been used to house two major roads (D3 and D9 that crosses each other), a railroad and a fairly large industrial zone.

The Oiry commune covers 1076 hectares and has 863 inhabitants (as of 2012), referred to as oiryats and oiryates.

The glass manufacturer Verallia has a factory in Oiry that, among other products, manufactures Champagne bottles. Verallia was formerly part of the Saint-Gobain group, but in June 2015 they were bought by Apollo Global Management, a U.S. investment company.

The church in Oiry, Église Saint-Hilaire. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo October Ends, 2011).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Oiry are located in the southern part of the commune, mainly to the west of the D9 road that crosses the commune in the north-south direction. The vineyards are continuous with those in Chouilly, Cramant, and Avize, and are located on more or less flat ground, i.e., those in Oiry is a continuation “further away from the slope” of vineyards in those villages. Oiry is likely to have the flattest vineyards of all grand cru- and premier cru-classified vineyards. The vineyards consist almost exclusively of Chardonnay.

The current vineyard surface in the Oiry commune is 88.4 hectares (218.4 acres). There are 87.9 ha Chardonnay (99.4%) and 0.5 ha Pinot Meunier (0.6%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was also 88 ha. There are 24 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

The grand cru status

Oiry is one of 17 villages that were rated 100% on the now-defunct échelle des crus scale, which made it a grand cru village. The village has kept its grand cru status after the scale was abolished. Oiry was promoted from premier cru to grand cru status in 1985, together with Chouilly, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Verzy.

Champagne producers

Major champagne houses, members of the Union des Maisons de Champagne

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.

  • Moët & Chandon (NM), with the main seat in Épernay, inaugurated a big pressing and vinification plant in Oiry in the autumn of 2012. This has a high degree of automatization and a total of 100 000 hl of steel tanks, corresponding to the content in 13 million bottles. Below a slide show from a visit at the plant:

  • Nicolas Gueusquin (NM), with the company name Les Roches Blanches, is a Champagne house started by Nicolas Gueusquin in 1994, initially with bought-in bottles from two cooperatives. The vinification facility in Dizy was built in 2006, and a new facility in Oiry was opened in 2012, a neighbour of the new plant of Moët & Chandon. Since then, Oiry is the home address of this house. There are 10 ha of their own vineyards and grape contracts of 280 ha “from Colombé-le-Sec [Côte des Bar] to Charly-sur-Marne [western Vallée de la Marne]”. In 2011, 5.5 million bottles were sold, mainly through supermarket chains. The Champagnes are sold under the following brands:
    • Louis Rozier, the first brand of the house, and the one it mainly uses in France.
    • Nicolas Gueusquin, also written N. Gueusquin.
    • French Connection
    • Henri Favre
    • Veuve Durand
  • Malard, a Champagne house founded in 1996 by Jean-Louis Malard. The company has its seat in Aÿ, but the production facility is located in Oiry. The annual production is 1.3 million bottles. The vintage Champagne consists of 50% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 25% Pinot Meunier (refers to the 2006 vintage).  The prestige cuvée is called Lady Style, was launched in 2012, and consists of 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier.

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.

  • Balourdeau Denis has also an address in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, other than the one in Oiry.
  • Gérard Bouvy (RM)
  • Legras-Frapart et Fils, also Guy Legras.
  • Christophe Martin (RM), has 8.5 ha of vineyards in Oiry, Chouilly, Épernay, Mardeuil, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Avenay-Val-d’Or. The annual production is just under 30 000 bottles.

Comment: the list may not be complete.

Former producers

  • Lang-Biémont (NM), which seems to have later been located in Avize.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2015, last update 2015-12-20

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