Champagne village profile: Balnot-sur-Laignes in the Barséquanais

Diagram Balnot-sur-Laignes 201605Key facts

Located in subregion/area: Côte des Bar / Barséquanais
Vineyards and grape varieties: 146.8 hectares (362.8 acres), of which 90.9% Pinot Noir, 6.8% Chardonnay, 1.2% Pinot Meunier, and 1.0% others.
Classification: “Autre cru” (80%)

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 Barséquanais highlighted.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile (if it exists).

Neighbouring villages within the Champagne appellation

North: Polisy
East: Neuville-sur-Seine
South: Les Riceys
West: Avirey-Lingey

The village

Monument in Balnot-sur-Laignes commemorating those fallen in World War I. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Hg marigny, 2008).

Balnot-sur-Laignes is one of the neighbouring villages of Les Riceys, and is located at the Laignes river downstream of Les Riceys. In the neighbouring commune downstream, Polisy, Laignes empties into Seine.

The Balnot-sur-Laignes commune has a surface of 1013 ha, completely on the left bank of the river (the western side), and has 159 inhabitants (as of 2013), referred to as Balnotiers and Balnotières.

Vineyards

The vineyards in Balnot-sur-Laignes are rather well gathered around the village itself, but stretches into various side valleys. They are largely composed of south- to east-facing slopes and are completely dominated by Pinot Noir.

The current vineyard surface in the Balnot-sur-Laignes commune is 146.8 hectares (362.8 acres). There are 133.5 ha Pinot Noir (90.9%), 10.0 ha Chardonnay (6.8%), 1.8 ha Pinot Meunier (1.2%), and 1.5 ha others (1.0%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 109 ha. There are 57 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Champagne producers

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. MA = marque d’acheteur, a brand used on bottles produced by someone else. The MA owner can change supplier without changing the brand.

  • Gremillet (NM), formerly J.M. Gremillet, has 40 ha of vineyards with 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. Also buys in grapes from 50 ha and 60 growers, including Chardonnay from Montgueux, Cramant, and Beton. The annual production is just under 500 000 bottles. The vintage Champagne is composed of 100% Pinot Noir. Cuvée Évidence is an oak barrel-vinified blanc de blancs. In 2013, the bought an enclosed vineyard in Les Riceys, which is close to their cellar in Balnot-sur-Laignes, which they renamed Clos Rocher. (Another source mentions 2012 as the first vintage.) The vineyard is 1.4 ha in size, is exposed southsouthwest, and planted to Pinot Noir. The vineyard-designated Champagne from this vineyard will be launched in 2019. The range also includes a Rosé de Riceys and a Balnot Rouge, a still red wine (Coteaux Champenois) from 100% Pinot Noir. Gremillet has also, via the company Les Grands Celliers d’Enac, produced Champagnes for Tendil & Lombardi (MA), see below.
  • Tendil & Lombardi (MA), a young Champagne house* started by Laurent Tendil and Stéphane Lombardi, both from Lyon. They started their business in 2007 and their first bottles were launched in 2011. As far as I understand, the production takes place in collaboration with Gremillet and the capacity is stated to be 150 000 bottles annually. The Champagnes have received good reviews and the marketing comes across as ambitious. The range includes a vintage blanc de noirs.
    *Comment: strictly speaking, I don’t count MA brands as Champagne houses, but in this case I’ve chosen to present them as such, since that seems to be their ambition.

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.

  • Gérard Fontaine
  • Philippe Fontaine (RM), which has vineyards with 80% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier, 5% Pinot Blanc, and 5% Chardonnay. The vineyards are mainly located in Les Riceys. The vintage Champagne is composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier. Prestige is composed of 40% Pinot Blanc, 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay. Cuvée des Lys is a 100% Pinot Blanc.
  • Eric Fournier (RC)
  • Joffrey (RC, Facebook page), with the company name J.M. Josselin.
  • Richard Royer (RM), member of the Terra Vitis organisation with 13 ha of vineyards, of which 10 ha in Balnot-sur-Laignes, 2 ha in Gyé-sur-Seine, and 1 ha in Fontette. The vineyards contain 85% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Meunier. The vintage Champagne is named Mlle Jeanne, is oak barrel-vinified, and composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.
  • Treuffet Père & Fils (RM), whose vintage Champagne is a 100% Chardonnay (refers to the 2009 cintage). The top cuvée Erigone is composed of Chardonnay (a majority) and Pinot Noir, both from the southeast-exposed site Montre-Cul.

Comment: the list may be incomplete.

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 Vinicole Riceys is a cooperative in Balnot-sur-Laignes.

Old postcard of the railway station in Balnot-sur-Laignes. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (uploaded by Philippesalv).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2016, last update 2017-01-21

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