Located in subregion/area: Côte des Bar / Bar-sur-Aubois
Vineyards and grape varieties: 188.3 hectares (465.3 acres), of which 76% Pinot Noir, 14% Chardonnay, 8% Pinot Meunier, and 2.2% others.
Classification: ”Autre cru” (80%)
Noted for: home village of the Champagne house Drappier.
Google Maps view with the villages in the Bar-sur-Aubois 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
Urville is located at the stream Le Requin, which empties into Le Landion in Bligny, the neighbouring commune.
The Urville commune covers 1220 hectares and has 142 inhabitants (as of 2013) referred to as Urvillais and Urvillaises.
The vineyards in Urville are mainly located in a large block (which has an elongated shape in the east-west direction) directly at the village, and mostly consists of south-facing slopes. There is also some vineyards in the southern and southwestern parts of the commune, close to the borders to Champignol-lez-Mondeville and Bligny. Pinot Noir is by far the most common grape variety.
The current vineyard area in the Urville commune is 188.3 hectares (465.3 acres). There are 142.6 ha Pinot Noir (75.7%), 25.9 ha Chardonnay (13.8%), 15.7 ha Pinot Meunier (8.3%), and 4.1 ha others (2.2%), which is likely to include Pinot Blanc. Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 145 ha. There are 37 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.
Drappier states on their website that the first Pinot Noir in the Bar-sur-Aube canton was planted in the early 1930s. It is likely that those vines primarily replaced Gamay, which used to be common in the Côte des Bar, but which is said to have never resulted in any really good Champagnes.
Single vineyard sites
Single vineyard sites in Urville include the following, among others:
- Le Cendre and Les Vignes du Cendre, two adjacent sites in the southwestern parts of Urville, just east of the forest-clad hill which is located on the border to Bligny. The name cendre (=ash) is because the vineyard was covered with ash after a big fire in Urville in 1836. The prestige cuvée from Drappier, Grande Sendrée, originates from here, and takes its name from a corruption of the spelling from cendre to sendre when the property map was copied some time later.
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.
- Drappier (NM), a good medium-sized Champagne house with 55 ha of their own vineyards and another 50 ha under contract. The vineyards are to a large extent located around Urville, but also to some extent in the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs. The proportion of Pinot Noir is 70%. Other than the main facility in Urville, Drappier also has cellars in Reims, mostly because those are deeper and cooler. The vintage and prestige Champagnes are stored there. The style of Drappier is Pinot Noir-dominated and basically rather fruity, but typical for them are some more odd cuvées and an experimental orientation. Their regular non-vintage Champagne is called Carte d’Or and is composed of 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Meunier. One of the specialities of Drappiers specialiteter is Carte d’Or in large format bottles, up to 27 liters (Primat, a format they are alone to have) and 30 liters (Melchisédech). Also for the largest formats, the second fermentation takes place in the bottle they are sold in. This is only mandatory up to 3 liters (Jéroboam), and many producers use the transvasage method for the largest format. Brut Nature is a 100% Pinot Noir completely without dosage and with a low addition of sulfur. Because the base is Pinot Noir from the south, this Champagne comes across as less bone dry than some other zero dosage Champagnes tend to do. Brut Nature Sans Soufre is a special version of the same Champagne completely without the addition of sulfur, i.e., a “natural wine”, and differs by the text “sans ajout de soufre” written diagonally across the label and the presence of a disgorgement date. Millésime Exception is the regular vintage Champagne from Drappier, and is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay (refers to the 2012 vintage). This cuvée used to be called (includes the vintages of the 1990s) Carte d’Or. Charles de Gaulle is a vintage Champagne with a higher proportion of Pinot Noir, 80%, as well as 20% Chardonnay. Grande Sendrée is the prestige Champagne, and is composed of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay (refers to the 2008 vintage) from the site Le Cendre (or possibly the neighbouring site Les Vignes du Cendre). This cuvée is partly vinified in large oak vats. Grande Sendrée Rosé differs by being a maceration rosé and is composed of 92% Pinot Noir and 8% Chardonnay (refers to the 2008 vintage). Quattuor is a non-vintage cuvée composed of four green grape varieties (of which three are unusual), 25% each: Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Blanc Vrai (= Pinot Blanc), and Chardonnay. The bottles can be recognised by the Roman numeral IV on the glass, and the label specifies it a “blanc de quatre blancs”. Drappier also sells recently disgorged bottles of older vintages, primarily of the regular vintage Champagne. On these bottles, disgorgement month on the label. The style of Drappier with a high proportion of southern Pinot Noir, and possibly their habits of keeping the sulfur addition low, means that these Champagnes usually show clearly developed notes, often with some Sherry notes.
The Drappier family counts their history in Urville back to 1808, when a Francois Urville moved to the village and started to grow vines. In the 1930s, Georges Collot, who then led the house, was the first in the Bar-sur-Aube canton to plant Pinot Noir. This gave him the nickname Père Pinot. Drappier’s Carte d’Or was introduced in 1952, with the yellow label it still has. After the disastrous 1957 vintage, when spring frost destroyed 95% of the harvest, André Drappier introduced Pinot Meunier in the vineyards, since this grape variety is more resistance to frost. In 1965, Charles de Gaulle became fond in a Drappier Champagne, a 100% Pinot Noir, and became a customer of the house. At this time, de Gaulle lived in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, about 20 km away. In 1988, a cellar in Reims was bought to supplement the one in Urville.
Blog post (2013) about a visit to Drappier.
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.
- Daniel Billette (RM), has 10 ha of vineyards and an annual production of 70 000 bottles.
- Collot-Beauvalet, has just over 8 ha of vineyards.
- Guy Devitry (RC)
- Olivier Devitry (RC)
- Philippe Devitry
- Hubert Favier (RC), has 8 ha of vineyards. The range includes a vintage Champagne. Indicates on their website that they are RM, but the bottles I’ve seen are labelled RC, so a change in status could be on its way.
- Pierre de Frétiveau (RC), has 6 ha of vineyards with 75% Pinot Noir, 13% Chardonnay, and 12% Pinot Meunier. The range includes a vintage Champagne composed of all three grape varieties. The company name is Richard Pierre.
- Labbé (RC), has about 12 ha of vineyards. The range includes a vintage Champagne composed of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Has a small wine museum. Not to be confused with Labbé in Thil or Labbé & Fils in Chamery.
- Daniel Perrin (RM), whose range includes a vintage Champagne.
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 d’Urville is a cooperative in Urville founded in 1950, which got its own first building in 1957.
- Wikipedia about this village in English, in French.
- Website of the Urville commune.
- UMC’s village profile of Urville.
- Vineyard map of Urville at weinlagen-info.de.
- The Swedish version of this post.
© Tomas Eriksson 2016, last update 2017-01-21