Champagne has been produced by the Drappier family for eight generations. Its origins date back to 1808 when the domain was created in Urville in the Aube region of Champagne, to work on the vineyard, today exceeding 55 hectares.
Once occupied by Cistercian monks from Clairvaux Abbey, the seat of the House includes magnificent 12th-century vaulted cellars.
Drappier wad pioneer in introducing the pinot noir grape variety in the Aube, after the phylloxera crisis in the 1890’s when it was necessary to replant the vineyards. The strategic choice characterises the distinctive style one finds today in Drappier champagnes.
In 1952 Drappier launched its flagship Carte d’Or cuvée with its distinctive yellow label, to remind of quince jelly, a yellow fruit of which several aromatic notes are found in every bottle.
Champagne Drappier was honoured to be chosen by France President Charles de Gaulle for his private receptions in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises few miles from Urville, where he resided when he was not at the Elysée Palace or on official business elsewhere. There he discovered Champagne Drappier and chose a cuvée rich in Pinot Noir (80%) which was renamed in 1960 Drappier Charles de Gaulle in his honour.
Family-owned Drappier is one of the finest Champagne Houses, producing about 1.6 million bottles per year. Drappier exports about 2/3 of its production in 83 countries, while maintaing a foothold in France which remains champagne’s No.1 market in the world.
The Drappier vineyard covers over 55 hectares and constitutes the House’s essential trump card. This is quite unusual for a Recoltant-Manipulant (RM) and many contractual arrangements with other growers in the Côte des Bar, the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs ensure access to grapes from a variety of terroirs.
Drappier also continue to cultivate forgotten Champagne grape varieties: Arbane, Petit Meslier and Blanc Vrai.
Michel Drappier, CEO since 1979 controls the winemaking process, while his father André Drappier, with a lifetime’s experience of harvests behind him, keeps a watchful eye over the vineyards.
Drappier is unique in carrying out the prise de mousse, the remuage and the individual disgorgement of every single bottle for all bottle formats as opposed to other houses that do so for 75cl and magnum bottles only. In this way the wine is guaranteed an exceptional freshness and finesse of effervescence.
Drappier was the first Champagne house to mature part of its wines in an egg-shaped oak container, to be used for its special cuvée Drappier Grand Sendrée. According to Michel Drappier the egg shape represents the ultimate vessel to keep and mature wine thanks to its proportions.
The Drappier style is 70% to 75% of pinot noir planted for 2/3 in the house’s own vineyards in the Aube region in the south of Champagne and cultivated in as natural method as possible. This results in complex, fuller-bodied champagne with a more assertive style, with fresh dry and lingering touches, that has also to do with the precise attention to limited dosage.
To this regards the House produce an extra brut champagne with with absolutely no added sugar: Drappier Brut Nature.
The winemaking is slow and natural, with 1/3 of the vines being cultivated using biodynamic methods and the other 2/3 on the way to using these methods.
Drappier extracts a remarkably low yield from its vineyards and uses a low sulphur regime (0.002% versus up to 5% for the other houses) in order not to “disguise” the wines.
The Drappier Brut Nature Sans Soufre (without sulphur) cuvée is its culmination, a prototype in Champagne. Sulphites are used in wine to protect it against oxidation. But according to Drappier too much sulphites disturb those allergic to this substance and are often overused to avoid any dire disclosures, anaesthetising the palate to the perception of flavours.
Drappier is also one of the rare Houses to produce kosher champagne, its Drappier Brut Carte D’Or cuvée.
The house, among very few in Champagne, continue to cultivate forgotten grape varieties which come back to life in Drappier Quattuor, a rare blend of Arbane (25%), Petit Meslier (25%) and Blanc Vrai (25%).