Besserat de Bellefon History
Besserat de Bellefon was founded by Eduard Besserat in 1843. Native of Hautvillers – the village where the monk Dom Perignon 200 years before perfected his “methode champenoise” – Edouard Besserat acquired his great expertise in making Champagne wines which he distributed to leading hotels, restaurants and purveyors of fine wines.
Following Edouard the family continued his legacy. His two sons Victor and Edmond continued the House’s commitment to excellence. An outstanding winemaker and the other a great taster and gifted businessman, both worked to build and increase the renown and the image of the house. Some years later, in 1927, Edmond , married Yvonne de Meric de Bellefon, who came from another prestigious Champagne family, and their marriage gave birth to the house of Besserat de Bellefon.
In 1930 the House created a lightly sparkling champagne that could be drunk throughout a meal, the champagne range known today as Cuvée des Moines (Cuvée of the Monks). The introduction of this cuvée resulted from the challenge issued by the owner of ‘’La Samaritaine de Luxe’’ – a then-famous Paris restaurant – to Victor Besserat, to offer his patrons a champagne with a light sparkle, fine froth, great finesse and specially made to drink through a meal.
To meet the request, Victor decided to use the ‘’crémant’’ method. Not only Victor won the business, but from that moment Cuvée des Moines became the jewel of the House, quickly making its appearance on the greatest tables of Paris of the time, including Maxim’s, Lucas-Carton, La Méditerranée and Prunier.
In 1972 the House introduced the Cuvée des Moines Rosé. Today the tradition of Besserat de Bellefon holds firm as the only exclusive “on-trade” champagne to be found in the most elegant and stylish bars, hotels and restaurants in the world.
Besserat de Bellefon House
Besserat de Bellefon, with its historic Bellefon Château, is on the world-renowned Avenue de Champagne, Epernay, in the heart of the Champagne region. Prior to enter into the Group Boizel Chanoine Champagne in 2006 – which would then become the second largest producer and distributor of champagne in the world, behind luxury products group LVMH – the brand was acquired by Pernot-Ricard group in 1971 and then to the Group Marne et Champagne.
It is thanks to Boizel Chanoine Champagne group – with Bruno Paillard as principal shareholder and with others top champagne brands in the portfolio such as Lanson, Boizel, Philipponnat and de Venoge – if the House has rebuilt its image after these change of hands.
Thanks to Lanson’s President, Philippe Baijot, Besserat de Bellefon has reinforced its image linked to the gastronomy, so becoming the specialist retail champagne brand, focusing in traditional networks such as restaurants and wine stores.
The house owns no vineyards, purchasing grapes from 110 communes (among which Le Mesnil sur Oger, Chouilly, Cramant, Grauves, Fontaine Denis, Bisseuil, Bassuet, Boursault, Venteuil, Reuil and Verzenay) and produces approximately 1,300,000 bottles annually, of which about 40,000 cases Cuvée des Moines. Besserat de Bellefon’s Wine Maker is Cedric Thiebault.
Besserat de Bellefon Style
Besserat most renowned champagne range, Cuvée des Moines, was named in honor of the early Benedictine monks who were instrumental in developing the Champagne method. The crémant winemaking technique used for this champagne range employs a reduced dosage, which lowers the bottle pressure about one atmosphere, so that the champagne is soft, creamy and packed with tiny bubbles.
The same approach is used for the other cuvées, resulting in champagnes with tiny bubbles, lighter pressure, finer mousse and a creamier texture. The House does not use malolactic fermentation so to maintain crisp acidity and a more fruit-forward profile.
At Vinexpo 2013, in Bordeaux, the House has presented its initial Cuvée BdeB, a prestige vintage released in celebration of the house’s 170th anniversary, selecting the 2008 and 2009 harvest grapes – predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with only 10% Meunier – for this classic, creamy, mineral champagne according to Cedric Thiebault, Besserat de Bellefon’s winemaker.
This prestige cuvée whose only 7,000 bottles are being released has bubbles that are 30% finer than other champagnes of its class.