Located in subregion/area: Côte des Blancs / Côte des Blancs
Vineyards and grape varieties: 541.2 hectares (1337.3 acres), of which 90.5% Chardonnay, 9% Pinot Noir, and 0.4% Pinot Meunier.
Classification: Premier cru (95%)
Noted for: Chardonnay from premier cru-classified vineyards, home village of Duval-Leroy.
Northnortheast: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, grand cru
Northeast (but mostly beyond Voipreux): Villeneuve-Renneville-Chevigny, premier cru
East: Voipreux, premier cru
South: Bergères-les-Vertus, premier cru
Southwest: Étréchy, premier cru (part of the Val du Petit Morin)
Westsouthwest: Soulières (part of the Val du Petit Morin)
Westsouthwest (beyond Soulières): Givry-lès-Loisy (part of the Val du Petit Morin)
West: Loisy-en-Brie (part of the Val du Petit Morin)
Comment: the Vertus comune stretches west into a forest area and has many neighbours that are not part of the Champagne appellation and therefore don’t have any village profiles.
Vertus is located is located southsoutheast of Épernay, in the southern part of the “genuine” Côte des Blancs slope. The actual village is located in the slope and below it.
The Vertus commune covers 3568 hectares (and includes a forest area to the west of the Côte des Blancs slope) and has 2456 inhabitants (as of 2012) referred to as vertusiens and vertusiennes.
The vineyards in Vertus are located around the village and continue a good distance down on the flat land. East-facing slopes dominate in the village, but there are also some southeast-facing slopes and smaller amounts of other directions where the hillside is “wrinkled”. The inclination varies, is generally less in the southern part of Vertus, and quite some amount of vineyards below the village and around the D9 road are located on almost flat land. Chardonnay dominates greatly, but there is also a smaller proportion of Pinot Noir.
The current vineyard surface in the Vertus commune is 541.2 hectares (1337.3 acres). There are 489.9 ha Chardonnay (90.5%), 48.9 ha Pinot Noir (9.0%), 2.2 ha Pinot Meunier (0.4%), and 0.2 ha others (<0.1%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 527 ha. There are 470 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.
Champagne houses that control vineyards in Vertus include Bollinger, Duval-Leroy, Moët & Chandon, Piper-Heidsieck, Roederer, and Taittinger.
In former times, a large proportion of Pinot Noir was cultivated in Vertus, and the village is the only one directly on the Côte des Blancs slope that have noticeable amounts of Pinot Noir, although it is only 9%. There are also some producers of still red wine (Coteaux Champenois) in the village, usually under the name Vertus Rouge.
Single vineyard sites
- Les Barillers is located mid-slope north of the village and is southeast-facing. It is one of two sites (together with Les Faucherets, which is located below Les Barillers) used for Larmandier-Bernier’s vintage blanc de blancs Terre de Vertus.
- Clos de l’Abbaye. Doyard produces a vineyard-designated vintage blanc de blancs from a 0.5 ha plot in this vineyard site, planted in 1956.
- Clos des Belvals, a vineyard site of 1.2 ha. Since the 2006 vintage, Person produces a vineyard-designated vintage blanc de blancs from this vineyard, consisting of Chardonnay planted in 1969. Henri Geoffroy seems to have been the former owner, because there are older Clos des Belvals bottles from that producer.
- Clos des Bouveries, an east-facing vineyard of 3.5 ha mid-slope directly above Vertus, located to the northwest as seen from the centre of the village. Duval-Leroy has long been the owner and produces a vineyard-designated 100% Chardonnay Champagne from this vineyard site.
- Clos Faubourg Notre-Dame is a 0.29 ha vineyard immediately north of the village which since 1930 is a monopoly of Veuve Fourny. They produce a vineyard-designated Champagne (but exclude the Faubourg part of the name) consisting of 100% Chardonnay from this site.
- Les Faucherets is located in the lower part of the slope and on flatter land northeast of the village, and is southeast-facing. It is one of two sites (together with Les Barillers, which is located above Les Faucherets) used for Larmandier-Bernier’s vintage blanc de blancs Terre de Vertus.
- La Justice, which is used by Michel Maillaird for a vineyard-designated vintage blanc de blancs.
- Les Rouges Monts is located closest to the edge of the forest southwest of the village and is a southeast-facing vineyard. Veuve Fourny produces a vineyard-designated rosé from this site.
Major Champagne houses, members of the Union des Maisons de Champagne
- Duval-Leroy (NM), a family-owned Champagne house with about 200 ha vineyards (including leased?) with a high proportion of Chardonnay. Since 1991, this house is led by Carol Duval-Leroy. The vintage Champagne is a 100% Chardonnay. The prestige cuvée is called Femme de Champagne and is composed mostly of Chardonnay with a smaller proportion of Pinot Noir. At least the Chardonnay component is vinified in oak and in the 2000 vintage is was sourced from the vineyard sites Mont-Aigu in Chouilly, Chapelle in Avize, Terre de Noël in Oger, as well as Chetillon and Aillerand in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Vintages include 1990, 1995, 1996 (75% Ch), and 2000. They have also started to release half bottles, then significantly younger, and vintages include 2004 (87% Ch). A Femme de Champagne Rosé de Saignée has also been added to the range, vintages include 2006. Clos des Bouveries is a vineyard-designated Chardonnay from Vertus, produced vintage-dated and partly vinified in oak. The Authentis series consists of various “special Champagnes” from a certain village or an unusual grape variety and generall seems to be vinfied in oak, vintage-dated and single variety. Village-designated (monocru) Champagnes in this range include Bouzy (Pinot Noir) and Cumières (Pinot Noir). Petit Meslier is a varietal Champagne from this very unusual grape. Vintages include 1998 and 2005. Some of the Duval-Leroy Champagnes are certified organically.
The house was founded in 1859 by négociant Edouard Leroy from Villers-Franqueux and the vine-grower and winemaker Jules Duval from Vertus. Jules’ son Henri and Edouard’s daughter Louise Eugénie married and the result was the Duval-Leroy family, which still owns the house. In 1991 Jean Charles Duval-Leroy died at 39 years of age, and his widow Carol Duval-Leroy (who originates from Belgium) took over the management of the company. Duval-Leroy has been quite expansive, in particular in the late 20th century, but also in the early 21st century. Sales have gone from 400 000 bottles in 1970 via 4 million bottles in 2000 to 5.2 millions in 2006. Earlier, a large part of the production of the house went to the “byers own brand” market, but the proportion sold under the Duval-Leroy name has increased. Older bottles from Edouard Leroy & Co (NM) likely originates from this house.
Other 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.
- Barons de Rothschild. The company address is in Reims, but they also have a facility in Vertus. The grapes originate from about 70 ha of vineyards, mostly under contract. Their own vineyards consist of the 1 ha Clos Prieur. The Champagnes of their range have a high proportion of Chardonnay (60%-100%). The annual production is about 300 000 bottles (information from 2014), but is likely on its way with, with an initial aim of 500 000 bottles in a few years. So far, the range consists of three non-vintage Champagnes: Brut, Rosé, and Blanc de Blancs. A prestige cuvée is also supposed to the on its way, but it could take until about 2020 before it is launched.
The project was initiated in 2005 by three Bordeaux-based branches of the Rothschild family (the owners of Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Mouton Rothschild, and Château Clarke) and they started to cooperate with the cooperative La Goutte d’Or in Vertus regarding production. In 2007, the cellar in Vertus that had been used by Ch. & A. Prieur was bought to be used for cellaring the Champagnes; this was a Champagne house that was bought in 2005 by La Goutte d’Or. In 2010, a new vinification facility was ready, and in 2013 an additional house in Vertus was purchased. The first Champagnes were sold in 2009, in Japan, and they started to sell in somewhat larger scale in 2011. Decades ago, there used to be a Champagne called Réserve Baron Philippe de Rothschild, but it was produced first by Ruinart and then Henriot, both Reims-based houses. Philippe de Rotschild (1902-1988) was the owner of Château Mouton Rothschild.
- Jean-Paul Boulonnais (NM), also written J. Paul Boulonnais.
- Guy Jacopin (NM)
- Ch. & A. Prieur (NM), a house that since 2005 is owned by the La Goutte d’Or cooperative, but which before that was its own Champagne house. The vintage Champagne consists of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2000 vintage). The Champagnes were largely sold under the brand Napoléon, sometime written as Grand Champagne Napoléon, which is now owned and produced by La Goutte d’Or (see below).
The house was founded in 1825 by Jean-Louis Prieur, initially under the name Prieur-Pageot, and later Ch. & A. Prieur, named for his two sons Charles and Alphrède. It is supposed to have been the first Champagne house in Vertus, and in 1887 it was one of the original members of the Syndicat des Grandes Marques de Champagne. The brand Napoléon was used at least since the 1890s and was registered by them in 1907, and was created following a proposal by a Russian importer. The house was bought in 2005 by the cooperative La Goutte d’Or in Vertus, and they have continued to use both the Prieur and the Napoléon name. In 2007, the former facilities of Prieur were sold sold to Barons de Rothschild.
- Paul Verty (NM), which probably doesn’t exist any longer.
- Veuve Fourny & Fils (NM), on the labels written Vve Fourny, is a smaller producer with a good reputation. Has 9 ha of vineyards of their own and an annual production of 160 000 bottles. Some of the Champagnes are vinified in oak. Monts de Vertus is a vintage blanc de blancs from some vineyard sites in Vertus. R is an oak-vinified non-vintage Champagne composed of about 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir, named for Roger who was one of the founders of the company, and it usually receives good reviews. Les Rougesmonts is a vineyard-designated rosé saignée, non-vintage. The top Champagne is called Cuvée du Clos Notre-Dame and is a vineyard-designated vintage blanc de blancs from the vineyard site Clos Faubourg Notre-Dame.
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. SR = société de récoltants, owned by a number of growers of the same family and sells under its own name. Smaller producers are placed under this heading when no information regarding producer status is available.
- Roger Arrouart (RC), with two vintage Champagnes in the range, a blanc de blancs and Cuvée Spéciale composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2006 vintage).
- Bernard & Doublet (RC), doesn’t seem to be the same producer as Bernard Doublet & Fils below.
- Bonnet Launois
- René Bouché (RC), says that they are located in Vertus but has an address in Oger.
- Bourgeois-Boulonnais (RM), has 5.5 ha of vineyards and produces a vintage blanc de blancs.
- Cernel-Quénardel (RC, Facebook page)
- Paul Charpentier (RC), run by Vincent Charpentier, has two vintage Champagnes, a blanc de blancs and Prestige which consists of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
- Philippe Charpentier (RC)
- Colin (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with 10 ha of vineyards where the majority is Chardonnay in Vertus, Bergères-les-Vertus, Cuis, Cramant, and Oiry, but also has Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in Sézanne and vineyards in Venteuil and Dormans. The range includes six vintage Champagnes: Parenthèse, composed of 88% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2009 vintage), Enjôleuse which is a blanc de blancs Brut from Vertus, Coup de Cœur which is a blanc de blancs Extra Brut from Vertus, Grand Cru which is a blanc de blancs from Cramant and Oiry, Roger Adnot which are old vintages of blanc de blancs and Rosée de Saignée which is 100% Pinot Noir from Vertus.
- Christophe Collard (RC), formerly Michel Collard, which has two vintage Champagne, a blanc de blancs and Grande Réserve which is composed mostly of Chardonnay but also a small proportion of Pinot Noir.
- Couchou-Meillot (RC), see Guy Faucheret below.
- Bernard Désautels (RC)
- Jean-Claude Doquet (RC)
- Pascal Doquet (SR), a producer with 8.66 ha of vineyards that in 2007 started work on an organic certification (AB), and whose first so-certified harvest was 2010. Has four vintage blanc de blancs originating from different villages: Le Mont Aimé (which is on the border of Bergères-lès-Vertus and Val-des-Marais), Vertus of which one-third if vinified in oak (refers to the 2004 vintage which is a pure Chardonnay, while the 2002 contained 30% Pinot Noir and was 100% vinified in oak), Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru of which half is vinified in oak, and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes which originates from old vines and is produced without malolactic fermentation.
- Bernard Doublet & Fils (RC), doesn’t seem to be the same producer as Bernard & Doublet above.
- Patrick Doublet
- René Doublet (RC)
- Doublet-Hadot (RC), the range of which includes a vintage blanc de blancs.
- Doyard (RM), member of the small grower organisation Les Artisans du Champagne with slightly more than 10 ha of vineyards in Vertus, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize, Cramant, and Aÿ. The entire range is partly or fully vinified in oak barrels. The range includes a vintage blanc de blancs which is fully vinified in oak. Clos de l’Abbaye is a vineyard-desigated vintage blanc de blancs vinified in oak. La Libertine is a sweet blanc de blancs (60 g/l) with quite a bit of notes of maturity, lower pressure, and old-fashioned string closure. This Champagne resulted from an ambition to imitate the first sparkling Champagne wines of the 18th century, and is a quite different experience. Note that the family behing André Jacquart (below) also is called Doyard.
- Doyard-Mahé (RM), has about 6 ha of vineyards. The vintage Champagne is a blanc de blancs, and also exists in an Extra-Brut version called EB. The range also includes a Vertus Rouge.
- Guy Faucheret (RC), has vineyards in Vertus, Bergères-lès-Vertus, and Voipreux. Sell Champagnes both under the name Guy Faucheret and under Couchou-Meillot. Both ranges includes a vintage Champagne which is a blanc de blancs.
- M Férat & Fils is used as the name of two producer with so similar ranges that I suspect that it could be a recently performed split into two:
- M Férat & Fils (Pascal Férat, RC), can be recognised from the one-coloured labels with a “modern” look. Has two vintage Champagne, a blanc de blancs and Perennité (ex-Prestige?) composed of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir från Verzenay.
- M Férat & Fils (Jacky & Catherine Férat, RC), can be recognised from labels of a more “traditional” look, that are gold coloured for the higher parts of the range. Has 7 ha of vineyards, a large part in Vertus, Bergères-les-Vertus, and Voipreux, but also in Soulières and Loisy-en-Brie. Has two vintage Champagnes, a blanc de blancs and Prestige which is composed of 90-95% Chardonnay and 5-10% Pinot Noir.
- Philippe Haumont (RC), the range of which includes two vintage Champagnes: a blanc de blancs and Prestige, which consists of 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2003 vintage).
- Haumont-Ozbolt (RC)
- André Jacquart (RM), a good producer which has 23 ha of vineyards, of which 16 ha Chardonnay in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Vertus, 3 ha Pinot in Aube (the south part of Champagne) and 4 ha Pinot in Aisne (the western part of Champagne). The entire range is partly vinified in oak and the dosage is low, and they only seem to use their Côte des Blancs vineyards for their own Champagnes, which represent an annual production of about 100 000 bottles. The range includes a vintage blanc de blancs named Millésime Experience. Since siblings Marie and Benoit Doyard (André Jacquart is their materal grandfather) took over in 2004, they have changed style and received attention for higher quality. Until 2004, the producer was located in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, has been called A. Jacquart & Fils on the label and they used to be a Special Club producer. The company of the owning family is indicated as S.C.M.D. Vinum on the labels, and this part of the Doyard family since 1990 also has a property on the right bank in Bordeaux by the name Château Chantegrive. This producer should not be confused with the large cooperative Jacquart in Reims, or with the producer Doyard above (which probably is a relative).
- Serge Jumel (RC), the range of which includes two vintage Champagnes, a blanc de blancs and Probus which consists of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
- Philippe Landreat (RM)
- Guy Larmandier (RM), has 9 ha of vineyards and an annual production of 90 000 bottles. The range includes a vintage blanc de blancs and a Vertus Rouge.
- Larmandier-Bernier (RM), a well-known producer with about 15 ha of vineyards in Vertus, Cramant, Chouilly, Oger, and Avize with 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir. The vineyards are biodynamically cultivated and the Champagnes are partly vinified in oak, and have low (Extra Brut) or no dosage, which taken together means a style which is typical for modern biodynamical producers. Of two non-vintage blanc de blancs, Latitude (ex-Tradition) originates from the southern part of Vertus, while Longitude (ex-Blanc de Blancs) originates from Vertus, Oger, Avize, and Cramant and is supposed to be the more mineral-dominated of the two. The three vintage blanc de blancs originate from one village each: Terre de Vertus (first vintage 1995) is sourced from two vineyard sites in Vertus, Les Barillers and Les Faucherets, Vieille Vigne du Levant (ex-Vieille Vigne du Cramant, first vintage 1988) comes from old vines in the site Bourron du Levant in Cramant, and Les Chemins d’Avize (first vintage 2009) is sourced from two vineyard sites in Avize, Chemin de Flavigny and Chemin de Plivot. They used to be a Special Club producer, and their Special Club was a blanc de blancs, which seems to have been produced until the 2000 vintage.
- Dominique Lefèvre (RC)
- Les Vertus d’Elise (RM), which has been named for Élise Guyot, who founded the domaine in 1920. The range includes a vintage blanc de blancs. Cuvée Solal is a blanc de blancs Extra Brut which seems to have been sold both as non-vintage and as vintage-dated. Cuvée Élise-Ambre is a non-vintage blanc de blancs vinified in oak barrels.
- Malin Didier (RC), formerly Malin-Gobin.
- Bernard Mailliard (RC)
- Michel Mailliard (RM), which has 23 ha of vineyards with mostly Chardonnay, of which just below half in Vertus with surroundings. Cuvée Grégory is their non-vintage standard Champagne, today composed of 95% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Noir. Some different older batches of this cuvée are available in their Oenotheque range. The range also includes four vintage blanc de blancs: Cuvée Prestige, L’Oger from the grand cru village Oger, and the two vineyard-designated Mont Vergnon and La Justice, where the latter is sold at a higher age. Has a mansion called Château de St Mard in Saint-Mard-Lès-Rouffy, a village just east of the Côte des Blancs.
- R. Massard Père & Fils (RC)
- E. Michel, the range of which includes Ultime Vintage which is a blanc de noirs from 100% Pinot Noir.
- Guy Moreaux (RC)
- Peccavet-Pottier (RC)
- Perard-Mangeot (RC), has 2.46 ha of vineyards.
- Pernet & Pernet, which has two vintage blanc de blancs, where Spéciale comes from grand cru vineyards and has not gone through malolactic fermentation.
- Perrot-Boulonnais Fils (RM), has 9 ha of vineyards.
- Person (RM), which calls most of their Champagnes L’Audacieuse. The Champagnes are partly or fully vinified in oak barrels. The range also includes Le Clos des Belvals, a vineyard-designated vintage Champagne which is an oaked Chardonnay that has been produced from the 2006 vintage, when they became owners of the vineyard. The pricing of this Clos Champagne is very ambitious.
- Charles Pougeoise (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants with 10 ha of vineyards, all in Vertus. The vintage Champagne is a blanc de blancs.
- Jacques Pougeoise & Fils (RC)
- Patrick Pougeoise (RM)
- Pougeoise-Henocq (RC)
- Michel Rogué (RC)
- René Rutat, with 7 ha of vineyards and a range that includes a Vertus Rouge.
- Sanchez-Collard (RC, blog), the range of which includes a vintage blanc de blancs.
- Eraldo Schirru
- André Thomas (RC)
- Frédéric Thomas (RC), which sells some Champagnes under the name of Saint-Sauveur, since they are located in a building that used to belong to Abbaye de Saint-Sauveur. The vineyards are located in Vertus and Congy and includes a clos (not named on their website) of 1.5 ha. The vintage Champagne (which is part of the Saint-Sauveur range) has a varying composition: the 2006 consists of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir while the 2007 is 100% Chardonnay.
- Wanesse-Person (RC)
- Michel Weynand (RC)
Comment: the list may not be complete.
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 “Henri Augustin”, a cooperative founded in 1927 that since 1992 is a member of the major cooperative Union Champagne (with De Saint Gall as the main brand) which has its main facility in Avize. Has 59 members with 30 ha of vineyards.
- Coopérative La Goutte d’Or is a cooperative in Vertus founded in 1950(?). Has 130 members with 120 ha of vineyards, mostly in Vertus. Sells Champagnes under the brands:
- Paul Goerg, which was named for a former mayor of Vertus who were beneficial for the vine-growers. This name has been used since 1984. The annual production under this name is 300 000 bottles. The vintage Champagne is a Blanc de Blancs. The prestige Champagne is called Cuvée Lady, has a big picture of a faceted diamond on the label and is composed of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir (refers to the 2004 vintage).
- Napoléon, a brand that used to be owned by the Champagne house Ch. & A. Prieur (see above for history and so on), that the cooperative bought in 2005. The vintage Champagne is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir and is sold with a high age, at least 10 years before disgorgment (the 2000 vintage seems to have been launched in 2014).
- Ch. & A. Prieur which was bought by them in 2005, see above.
- This cooperative also produces Champagnes for Barons de Rothschild, see above.
- Coopérative La Vigneronne (CM) is a cooperative in Vertus. Not to be confused with Coopérative La Vigneronne in Serzy-et-Prin. The Vertus cooperative also sells Champagnes under the brand:
- Eustache Deschamps, named for the poet and diplomat of this name, who was born in Vertus and lived 1340-1406. The range includes a vintage blanc de blancs.
- Coopérative Vinicole de Vertus (C.V.V.), a cooperative founded in 1949 that since 1966 is a member of the major cooperative Union Champagne (with De Saint Gall as the main brand) which has its main facility in Avize. Has 236 members with 175 ha of vineyards.
- Wikipedia about the village in English, in French.
- Website of the Vertus commune.
- UMC’s new village profile of Vertus.
- UMC’s old village profile of Vertus. (dead link)
- Vineyard map of Vertus at weinlagen.info.
- The Swedish version of this post.
© Tomas Eriksson 2015-2016, last update 2016-01-30