Henri Giraud

Henri Giraud History

Contemporaries of Henri IV, King of France from 1589 to 1610, and his descendants, the Giraud family settled permanently in Aÿ at the beginning of the 17th century.

Their history took root there and became closely interwoven with the momentous historical events relating to champagne from the 18th century onwards.

At the opening of the 20th century, Léon Giraud, cuirassier in the battle of the Marne, married Madaleine Hémart and reconstructed the family vineyard, which had been ravaged by phylloxera.

The Giraud-Hémart were growers who, like many others, decided to produce their own champagne in the postwar period.

However, when visionary and strong-willed Claude Giraud took the reins from his father Henri in 1983, he decided to bring the family business to a new level.

By looking at the past of the champagne business and leveraging on it to redefine its future, it has created a Maison with a very strong identity, based on the terroir of Aÿ grand cru where they are based, the Pinot Noir grape, and the unapologetic intense use of wooden barrel from the Argonne forest, something unique in Champagne today.

Henri Giraud Vineyards

The Maison works with 10 hectares it owns and with 15 hectares belonging to family members and friends.

They apply sustainable viticultural methods and are certified for high environmental value – HVE (the highest environmental certification assigned by the French Ministry of Agriculture).

The House is characterized by the dominant use of Pinot Noir, the grape that they believe truly expresses the identity of Champagne and of the village of Aÿ where they are based.

The Aÿ Terroir

Aÿ Grand Cru is where the Giraud-Hémart has grown vines and eventually produced its champagnes before expanding and accessing grapes of other crus.

Aÿ is an exceptional terroir, facing south on a steep slope, where grapes roast under the sun.

On its very poor chalky soil the vine suffers, but without water problems (water is provided by the chalk that acts as a sponge), and the Marne river brings its fresh currents.

Aÿ has historically been planted with Pinot Noir, a grape that arrived in Champagne from Burgundy, well before Chardonnay did.

As a result, all HENRI GIRAUD champagnes carry the distinctive characteristics of Aÿ, to a higher or lesser extent depending on the amount of this cru in the blend:  chalk, salinity, menthol, anise, combined with the power and body of Pinot Noir.

They also produce a Blanc the Blancs though, but the personality of Aÿ is always present.

The Argonne Forest

The HENRI GIRAUD winemaking philosophy highlights the terroir. For them, this approach also involves the use of wooden barrels, which have traditionally been used in Champagne until the introduction of stainless steel vats in the postwar period. 

The House has abandoned the use of stainless steel tanks in 2016 and uses instead small oak barrels from the Argonne forest, which lies between Champagne and the Vosges mountains, to accompany the Aÿ terroir towards excellence and bring out its typical minerality.

Henri Giraud Champagnes

Today the executor of the Giraud-Hémart unique winemaking philosophy and idea of pleasure through champagne is Sébastien Le Golvet, Claude Giraud’s son-in-law and Chef de Cave since 2000.

An ambitious, hardworking young man he is laser-focused and committed to a never-ending quest for excellence.

The result are wines of great personality, ful of taste and always accompanied by the distinctive minerality of Aÿ, and the noticeable but pleasant presence of wood in certain cuvées.

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Ayala

AYALA HISTORY

Founded in 1860, Ayala is one of the longest-established Champagne Houses. 

Its Spanish name, unusual in Champagne, derives from Edmond de Ayala (1831-1902), grand-grandson of Don Antonio de Ayala y Vergara, a Spanish aristocrat, who in 1750 was appointed Chancelor (Finance Minister) of New Grenada (now Colombia) by King Ferdinand VI of Spain.

Edmond’s ancestors bequeathed him with a sense of excellence and a taste for adventure that drove him to settle in Aÿ when invited by the Viscount of Mareuil to learn the business. There he fell in love with the Viscount’s niece, the beautiful Miss Gabrielle d’Albrecht.

As the dowry for their wedding in 1860, he receives the magnificent Château of Aÿ as well as some very prime vineyards located in Aÿ and Mareuil sur Aÿ. The love story marks the beginning of this great Champagne House.

Since then Ayala developed rapidly in Great Britain thanks to Fernand de Ayala, Edmond’s younger brother, who in 1863 settled in London where he mixed with British aristocracy and introduced the House’s unique flavour profile to British connoisseurs, notably with the 1865 vintage that had a very low dosage for the time (22g/l).

In 1882, Ayala was one of the 18 founder members of the Syndicate of the Grandes Marques and by the 1920s the House produced over a million bottles each year, ranking amongst the top brands in Champagne.

Before the 2nd world war Ayala was also official supplier to the royal courts of England and Spain.

In 2005, Ayala was purchased by Société Jacques Bollinger, still owned by the Bollinger family.

AYALA HOUSE

Based in the Grand Cru of Aÿ, at the heart of the great champagne vineyards, Ayala produces superior wines known for their freshness, elegance and low dosage.

The House is headed by Hadrien Mouflard who was appointed Managing Director in 2012. Prior to that Mouflard was Administrator at Bollinger.

In 2007, the House invested in a brand new small stainless steel tanks that allowed Ayala to improve significantly the quality of its cuvées.

Ayala is today a “small” great house, artisan of champagne-making. The origin of the grapes, the selection of only the very best juice (the cuvée), a special gift for blending, long ageing in the cellars and a true passion for wine : these are the elements that guarantee the quality of Ayala’s champagnes.

AYALA STYLE

Ayalas’s style is all about freshness and lightness. Ayala pioneered the movement for dry champagnes and continues to preserve the purity and elegance in all their wines.

Low dosage remains part of the house’s philosophy together with an important role of chardonnay in the blends. 

As a result Ayala’s champagnes are popular for their precision, delicacy, freshness and elegance. 

Caroline Latrive was appointed cellar master of Ayala in 2011, replacing Nicolas Klym who has been the chef de cave for over 25 years.

Ayala champagnes are above all wines. That is why the back labels give all the important information about the cuvées as well as the date of disgorgement, wich enables the aficionados to better manage their cellar.

 

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Armand de Brignac

Armand de Brignac History

Armand de Brignac is produced by the award-winning Champagne Cattier House of Chigny-les-Roses, France.

The Cattier family has owned and cultivated vineyards since 1763.

However it was only in the late 1940s that the original “de Brignac” name was registered by the Cattier family, probably chosen at that time by Jean-Jacques Cattier’s mother, who had been reading a novel featuring a character named de Brignac.

The brand was dormant until 2006, in occasion of the introduction of a new champagne, as the French industry group Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne(CIVC) requires the use of an existing brand in order for a wine to be deemed “champagne”.

From that moment, Cattier began a collaboration with Sovereign Brands to market the brand, and a separate website for the newly named Armand de Brignac was established.

The first champagne launched was Armand de Brignac Brut Gold (Ace of Spades), characterised by a gold-coloured bottle conceived by French fashion designer André Courréges, with a pewter label made in an ace of spades insignias, symbolising the Champagne region’s regal history and heritage.

The brand first gained worldwide visibility in the music video for rapper Jay-Z song “Show Me What You Got” , which debuted in late October, 2006.

In 2008 Armand de Brignac Rosé and Armand de Brignac Blanc de Blancs were launched.

In 2009 Armand De Brignac arrived first in a blind tasting of 100 champagnes by Fine Champagne Magazine.

In 2014 Jay- Z acquired the champagne brand Armand De Brignac from Sovereign Brands.

Armand de Brignac House

Classified as a N.M. – French denomination for Négociant-Manipulant – Cattier produces its champagnes directly from its vineyards but also utilising grapes acquired from small producers.

Annual sales stand at a million bottles, 60 % of which are exported to over 70 countries.

Today, the house remains independently-owned and run by the Cattier family.

Patriarch Jean-Jacques Cattier oversees the wine production; with strictly limited annual yields, M. Cattier and his staff can ensure that the family’s artisanal winemaking traditions are kept alive in each bottle.

The family owns more than 30 ha vineyards in the Montagne de Reims part of Champagne, included the prestigious Clos du Moulin, Premier Cru.

All the vineyards are cultivated following responsible viticultural methods and the entire production is gradually introducing the HACCP standards.

Chairman and CEO is Alexandre Cattier, Jean-Jacques Cattier’s son, who is also the Cellar Master of the House.

The House has gained a high-profile fan base including actors Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney and athletes Roger Federer and Luis Figo.

Armand de Brignac has also the merit to have revolutionised the world of luxury large-format champagne bottles: besides the standard-size 750ml bottles, the range includes Magnums (1.5L), Jeroboams (3L), Methuselahs (6L), Nebuchadnezzars (15L) and the unparalleled Midas (30L).

These extremely rare bottles – only a handful of the largest sizes are released annually – are also record-setters: the Rosé Nebuchadnezzar (15L), with a volume equivalent to 20 standard bottles, is the world’s largest known Rosé Champagne bottle, while the Brut Gold Midas, with a weight of more than 45kg (100 lbs), is ranked as the largest luxury bottle of Champagne – of any type – ever created, requiring multiple people to lift, carry, or pour.

Armand de Brignac Style

The quality of Armand de Brignac is rooted in the time-honored traditions of its production, under the guidance of father and son winemakers Jean-Jacques and Alexandre Cattier and a staff of only eight craftspeople.

Although many of Champagne’s producers now use industrial-grade, high volume presses, the family employs a traditional Coquart press for its prestigious champagne: this ensures a slow and high-quality yield is extracted from the grapes.

These are selected  from the finest vineyards in La Marne, including Grand Crus villages like Cramant, Avize, Oger, and Choilly, and Premier Cru towns including Ludes, Rilly-la-Montagne, Villers Allerand, Taissy, Villers Marmery, and Mareuil-sur-Ay.

Complex and full-bodied, Armand de Brignac champagnes derive their light, racy effervescence from the quality of the Chardonnay grapes, while Pinot Noir lends strength, boldness, and depth of palate. Finally, Pinot Meunier adds roundness, nuance, and fruitiness to the cuvées.

Each of the wines produced are considered prestige releases and are all multi-vintage, consisting of three distinct years in each blend.

The dosage, created from a blend of still wines from prior harvests and aged for a full year in oaken casks from Burgundy and Champagne, imparts subtle nuances to the champagne.

The ageing lasts from four to five years in the chalk cellars and the remuage is done by hand.

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Barons de Rothschild

BARONS DE ROTHSCHILD History 

The Rothschild family has long been involved in numerous wine projects around the world, including their namesake Bordeaux.

In 2005 the three branches of the Rothschild family have come together and given rise to a single ambition: combine the best terroirs with their know-how to create champagne Barons de Rothschild.

The three Rothschild cousins – Baron Benjamin, a Geneva banker who also owns Chateau Clarke, Baron Eric, owner of Chateau Lafite and several other estates and Baroness Philippine along with her son Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, owners of Chateau Mouton – wanted the champagnes to enter their heavy portfolio of wines and spotted the ideal place for the production in the Cave Vertus in Reims.

Thus, they created three champagnes cuvées: Barons de Rothschild Brut, Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs and Barons de Rothschild Rosé.

Barons de Rothschild House

The Barons de Rothschild started the champagne production with the ambition to do the best quality champagne they can.

One of their important first steps was to locate adequate supply of quality grapes, especially Chardonnay, which is what they wanted for the primary base of their champagnes.

This was a bold choice for a new House, as Chardonnay is the most scarce and most expensive grape in Champagne.

They wanted to purchase their own vineyards, but they needed to find a sufficiently large vineyard – at least 10-15 acres – while they found some very small plots and they did not like the idea to have a collection of tiny plots scattered about.

Eventually, they discovered what they sought in the Côtes des Blanc region, and settled long term contracts with selected vignerons in the finest Grands and Premiers Crus areas.

They began selling their champagnes in 2009, selecting Japan as their initial market, as all three branches of the family had connections in this country.

After Japan, the Rothschilds began selling their champagnes in Switzerland and Belgium, both which proved very good markets.

They are continuing to expand their distribution and sell about 250,000 bottles annually. They are now trying to expand into the U.S..

As part of their plans, they have chosen to serve their champagne at all of their formal events and functions, worldwide, to stand behind their product.

Managing Director of the House is Frédéric Mairesse who has been previously Operations Director at LVMH, at Mumm et Perrier Joüet and at Pommery & Lanson.

The bottles and the logo were designed by Baroness Philippine (1933-2014) who was given a lifetime achievement award by the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2013. 

Barons de Rothschild Style

The champagnes of Barons de Rothschild are quality wines, which can stand head next to comparable champagnes of the major Champagne Houses.

The three champagnes produced – Barons de Rothschild Brut, Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs and Barons de Rothschild Rosé – all have Chardonnay as the major contributing varietal and an elegant, light and refined style.

Their blends include about 40% of reserve wine and have a low dosage, about 6-8 grams per litre so to be more palatable.

 

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Besserat de Bellefon

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.

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Billecart-Salmon

Billecart-Salmon History

Founded in 1818 by husband and wife Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, the Billecart-Salmon House is rich with history.

For nearly two hundred years, the Billecart family has been handing down the secrets to making exceptional champagne from generation to generation.

Billecart-Salmon House

Today the House is still independent and is run by the family’s 6th generation: François Roland-Billecart

Billecart-Salmon’s own vineyard covers around 50 hectares, and the House source its grapes from a total of 170 hectares of land, paying particular attention to selecting the best grapes.

For this, the family has forged close and courteous relationships with the winegrowers of the Champagne region.

In addition, Billecart-Salmon family cultivates one hectare of Pinot Noir on a single, enclosed parcel at the foot of the Mareuil-sur-Aÿ hill: the Clos Saint Hilaire. The champagne produced from this plot is renowned for the complexity and rarity of its aromas.

Billecart-Salmon Style

The Billecart-Salmon House has always used modern and innovative technology to constantly improve the quality of its champagne.

From the Côte des Blancs to the Reims Mountain, not forgetting the right bank of the Marne River, the greatest vintages of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are used.

These superb wines are crafted by Chefs de Caves Françoi Domi and Florent Nys, two charismatic characters who are perfectly in line with the family’s spirit of simplicity and constant quest for a great pleasure.

They ensure the conformity of the flavours and finesse of the blends. The bottles are then aged in a vast network of cellars, dating back to the 17th and 19th centuries.

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Boizel

Boizel History

Auguste Boizel founded its Champagne House in 1834 at the age of 33. Him and his wife Julie Martin, a descendant of a long line of winegrowers established in Aÿ since the 16th century, decided to devote themselves and invest everything into the great Champagne adventure. The couple were among the first in Champagne, to apply a label on their bottles. Through enthusiasm and perseverance, they managed to create fine champagnes and their reputation gradually grew in France and abroad.

After the death of Auguste in 1876, his son Edouard became president at the age of 32. He too married in 1865 a lady from Aÿ, Adèle Camuset, descendant from the Camuset Champagne house, founded in 1796 during the French Revolution. Edouard and Adèle added their touch to the House’s style by reducing the dosages (amount of sugar added after disgorgment) and elaborationg the House’s first true Bruts. At the time, Champagne was usually consumed very sweet. At the request of the English, Champagnes would be sweetened less and less.

In 1918 Jules succeeded his father Edouard.With his wife Louise, they concentrated on refining non-vintage Brut Champagnes, which became more and more delicate and authentic.  This enabled the House to be the suppliers to great Paris’ establishments such as Maxim’s and le Royal Monceau. Jules also grew exports to Belgium and Switzerland, and even to Australia.

In 1929, a historical vintage for Champagne, the House’s introduced its first Blanc de Blancs champagne, a very unusual choice at the time.  

In 1945 René Boizel took over the company which had been rocked by the crisis of 1929 and the Second World War. Supported  by his Dutch wife, Erica, he devoted the first years to the difficult task of rebuilding the stocks, vital for the company’s sustainability. He then commited himself to the reconquest of new markets. He successfully grew sales in Europe – Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany…

In 1972, following the tragic deaths of René and his son Eric, his daughter Evelyne and son-in-law, Christopher, returned to Champagne to train themselves in the business with the invaluable assistance of the cellar master, Marcel Carré.

In 1994 Evelyne and Christophe decided to join Lanson-BCC, the second largest champagne group, allowing to promote the harmonious development of Boizel while preserving both the spirit of excellence and the Boizel family tradition.

Boizel House

Today Evelyne Roques-Boizel runs the House and continues its tradition, developing great Champagne wines. As she puts it, “is simply a matter of passion!” Boizel’s sixth generation is now also actively involved with Florent and Lionel having joined the House.

The involvement of the family in all stages of production, from the vine to the glass, and Boizel’s deep roots in Epernay, in the heart of Champagne, are two major strengths for the House.

This love for Champagne and the passionate pursuit of finesse, character and elegance in the wines are authentic family values.

Boizel Champagne can’t be found in supermarkets nor in specialist stores in France. Boizel is the first house for mail order on the French market. It distributes its cuvées with the help of merchants abroad.

Boizel Style

Champagne Boizel has a heritage of more than 175 years. The house style is quite traditional, mature and rich in personality with a notable Pinot Noir character.

As it has no vineyards, relationship between winemakers and Boizel is close to obtain the best raw material from grands et premiers crus in September. Materials are always well elaborated with a beautiful density and a dosage which is able to highlight the minerality and fruit.

Only the first pressing, the cuvée, the finest juice will be selected for the Boizel blends. In the ultramodern winery, all the vats are made stainless steel, the temperature is maintained at 18° throughout fermentation, in order to preserve the natural aromas. Boizel allows malolactic fermentation of its wines, resulting in a more supple texture.

For vintage champagnes, Boizel vinifies in oak barrels a small percentage of Grand Cru wines.

Boizel keeps its cuvées in cellars for at least three years, twice what is required by law for non-vintage champagnes. The vintage blends require an even longer period: their aromas do not unfold completely until five to seven years have passed.

Similarly, after dosage, Boizel insists on a resting period of a few months.

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Bollinger

Bollinger History

The history of Bollinger is the history of a family that has passionately defended its values and know-how since the House’s inception in the Champagne village of Aÿ back in 1829.

In 1803 Jacques Joseph Placide Bollinger was born in Ellwangen, in the kingdom of Württemberg. In 1822, he moved to the Champagne region and began work at the Champagne house of Muller Ruinart, which no longer exists.

The Champagne house Renaudin Bollinger was founded on February 6, 1829 in Aÿ by Hennequin de Villermont, Paul Levieux Renaudin and Jacques Bollinger. The partners agreed that the Villermont name would not be used on the labels, hence the house name Renaudin Bollinger. Starting when Jacques Bollinger married Charlotte de Villermont, the house has been managed by the Bollinger family. Even though Paul Renaudin passed without an heir his name, the label did not become solely Bollinger until the 1960s.

Founder Jacques Joseph Bollinger married Charlotte de Villermont. The couple had a daughter, Marie, who had two sons Joseph and Georges. These sons took over the company in 1885 and began expanding the family estate by purchasing vineyards in nearby villages. The sons also developed the image of the brand, such as when Bollinger became the official supplier to the British court, receiving a Royal Warrant in 1884 from Queen Victoria.

In 1918 Jacques Bollinger, the son of Georges, took over the company. Jacques married Emily Law de Lauriston Bourbers, known as “Lilly”. When Jacques Bollinger died in 1941, Lilly Bollinger took over. She expanded production through the purchase of more vineyards, but is better known for traveling the world to promote the brand. Lilly was well-publicized in the Champagne region, leaving several noteworthy quotes.  “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.”  Lilly managed Bollinger until 1971, when her nephews Claude d’Hautefeuille and Christian Bizot succeeded her.

Bollinger House

Six generations of the Bollinger family have built up an impressive heritage, becoming one of the most emblematic Houses of the Champagne region.

Today the House remains resolutely independent. Bollinger maintains more than 150 hectares of vineyards

As it has gradually expanded throughout the world, it has become a major global brand name. Bollinger is regularly feature in James Bond film series.

Bollinger Style

Owning 164 hectares in the best crus of the Champagne region, Bollinger benefits a grape supply of superior quality, predominantly Pinot Noir which forms the backbone of the Bollinger style.

Champagne Bollinger has never abandoned the ancient method of fermentation in wooden barrels, which helps develop aromas of great finesse and is conducive to micro-oxygenation, enabling the wine to resist premature ageing.

Vinification in wooden barrels is reserved for grapes from the best parcels of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay located exclusively in the Premier and Grand crus.

Most of the reserve wines are kept in magnums; the Bollinger cellars shelter a stock of more than 650.000 magnums which age for 5 to 15 years or more before being used in the blend.

They undergo a light secondary fermentation under natural cork to protect them from oxidation and improve the complexity of Special Cuvée.

Finally, all Bollinger champagnes age more than twice as long as required by the Appellation rules.

Cellar master since 2013 is Gilles Descôtes.

 

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Bruno Paillard

Bruno Paillard History

Bruno Paillard was born in Reims in 1953. His lineage of brokers and growers in the two Grands Crus villages of Bouzy and Verzenay dates back to 1704. Following in the family’s foot steps, he starts working as a broker in 1975 acquiring a deep and extensive knowledge of champagne.

But after 6 years, he is taken by the overwhelming desire to create a different champagne: one that would go beyond what existed in terms of purity and elegance.  We are in January 1981, Bruno Paillard is 27 years old, and with nothing but his will – no vineyards, no money – he sells his old Jaguar that had become a collector item to provide his company with a starting capital of 50,000 francs (15,000 Euros).

In 1984, Bruno Paillard invents the first totally “ground level” cellar. This brand new concept allows an extremely strict control of temperatures, lighting and humidity.

In 1990, Bruno Paillard draws the current winery with his architect Jacques Bléhaut: a state of the art structure with stainless steel, glass and wood symbolizing the 3 noble vessels of Champagne.  Revolutionary, this new cellar combines the traditional know how with the newest qualitative techniques.

In 1994, Bruno Paillard purchases his first vineyard: 3 hectares in Oger, a beautiful Grand Cru of the Côte des Blancs. Now, the vineyards of the house cover 32 hectares – half of the production needs – including 12 hectares of Grand Crus : Oger, Le Mesnil, Bouzy,Verzenay. The remaining half are today still purchased to the same independent growers families since the early 80’s.

In January 2007 Bruno’s daughter Alice, one of four children, decided to join and continue the Paillard family adventure. Starting in the vineyards and then in the cellar for the first year, following with export development, Alice is now a shareholder and co-manages the House with her father.

Bruno Paillard House

The house of Bruno Paillard is among the youngest Champagne houses and still one of the smallest. It owns and runs a high quality vineyard spread over 26 hectares – of which 12 deserve the denomination “Grand Cru”. It produces around 550.000 bottles (45.000 cases) – over 75 % are exported to all European countries, U.S. and Japan.

The house specialises in the production of Multi-Vintage luxury cuvées as well as in vintages. Wherever they are represented, the champagnes Bruno Paillard are sold through traditional outlets, i.e. restaurants, specialist stores (“cavistes”), mail order clubs, etc… and never in supermarkets.

Bruno Paillard Style

Bruno Paillard style is the marriage of elegance and complexity which translates into a light and smooth effervescence, a remarkable purity, a true freshness and a silky texture.

Bruno Paillard Champagnes are produced by the traditional method and from the best possible grapes in the Champagne area under the personal supervision of its owner Bruno. The new premises just outside Reims, on the road to Epernay, are modern, efficient and dedicated to quality.

Bruno is used to says: “Je signe les Champagnes rares” (I sign the rare Champagnes). Champagne is above all elegance.

The Bruno Paillard range offers 3 multi-vintage Champagnes, plus several vintages some of which are now very rare. They are all Brut (Extra-Brut in fact). (The house does not produce a Sec or Demi-Sec) and the dosage is kept as low as possible in order to respect the authenticity of the wines. Furthermore, each and every bottle carries the date of its “dégorgement”, information which the house of Bruno Paillard was the first one to give on all its wines. At this stage, the “dosage” is added and the final cork is sealed. This operation makes it necessary to open the bottle, thus causing the loss of a small proportion of carbon dioxide and its replacement by oxygen.

From this date, therefore, a new process of ageing starts, which will cause oxidization and eventually “madeirisation”. This is why this date of dégorgement is so important. Bruno Paillard House recommends that the wine should be drunk at least 6 months or even several years after this date, provided it is well stored, bottles lying in a dark and cool cellar.

 

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Cattier

Cattier History

Cattier is a family-owned Champagne House situated in the village of Chigny-les-Roses in the Montgne de Reims, between Reims and Epernay.

The Cattier family have been vineyard owners since 1763, and started to produce champagnes under their own name in 1918.

The House remains independently-owned and run by the family with a staff of fewer than 20 people. Patriarch Jean-Jacques Cattier oversees the wine production with strictly limited annual yields.

Cattier House

Classified as a NM – French denomination for Négociant-Manipulant – Cattier produces its champagnes directly from its vineyards but also utilising grapes acquired from small producers, with annual sales of a million bottles, 60 % of which are exported to over 70 countries.

The family owns more than 30 ha vineyards in the Montagne de Reims part of Champagne included the prestigious Clos du Moulin, Premier Crus.

The House also produces the ultra premium Armand de Brignac champagne, born in 2006 from the resurrection of a dormant champagne name, de Brignac, and voted in a blind tasting organised by Fine Champagne Magazine as the No.1 Champagne in the world.

Chairman and CEO is Alexandre Cattier, Jean-Jacques Cattier’s son, who is also the Cellar Master of the House.

Cattier Style

Cattier produces a number of champagnes ranging in varietal composition from 100% Chardonnay (Blanc de Blancs) to 75% dark-skinned Pinots (Noir and Meunier) and 25% Chardonnay.

Cattier’s vineyards, mainly classified as Premier Crus, stretch for more than 30 hectares and include one of Champagne’s rarest “Clos”, the Clos du Moulin.

All the vineyards are cultivated following responsible viticultural methods in order to preserve the environment and the terroir and the entire production is gradually introducing the HACCP standards.

The cellars of Cattier are one of the deepest in Champagne, providing ideal conditions for ageing with a low, constant temperature, with the vaults dug on 3 levels, each corresponding to a different architecture style, Gothic, Roman and Renaissance.

The four simple golden rules of Cattier can be tasted in every bottle: excellence, creativity, spirit of enterprise and respect.Cattier Champagnes

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CHARLES HEIDSIECK

In 1851 Charles-Camille Heidsieck, an extraordinary individual, ahead of his time, created the Champagne House which branded his name. He set high standards in grape selection and improved the production method of the age.

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de Venoge

DE VENOGE HISTORY

In 1825 Henri-Marc de Venoge set up in trade in Mareuil-sur-Ay, a business that in 1837 was to become the Champagne House that carries his name. 6,000 bottles were sold in March 1838 and 22,000 in April of the same year.

By May 1838 sales were being made to clients in Brussels and Mannheim and 10,000 more bottles had been sent out.

The next stops on the de Venoge expansion programme were London, Pforzheim, Karlsruhe, Fribourg, Ulm, Munich, Antwerp and Copenhagen.

Henri-Marc de Venoge was also the first to illustrate his labels, which was a completely new concept in Champagne.

Until then, labels had simply shown the name of the producer and the vintage. In 1837, Henri-Marc designed an oval label sporting two painted bottles and the de Venoge name. He retired in 1845 and died in 1860.

Joseph de Venoge, was the true driving force behind the firm established by his father. He launched the brand on the international scene with the help of his brother, Léon who settled in the United States.

Soon, champagne was being dispatched to New-York, New Orleans, Philadephia, Port-au-Prince and even Calcutta.

He took over as Chairman in 1845 and launched the first special cuvees which later became brands in their own right: Cordon Bleu in 1851, Vin des Princes in 1858 and Vin du Paradis etc. He died in 1866. A road in Epernay still carries his name.

Gaetan de Venoge joined the firm in 1864 as export manager, which has always been the stepping stone towards general management at de Venoge.

He was one of the founders of the Syndicat des Grandes Marques, created in 1872. The greatest Champagne Houses belong to it, united in defence of the appellation and the quality of the wines of Champagne.

Marquis Adrien de Mun who quickly joined his father-in-law, Gaetan who died in 1898 allowed his name to be associated with that of de Venoge, thereby introducing the brand into Paris’ high society.

At that time de Venoge was dispatching over one million bottles against a total of 30 million for the whole of Champagne.

The Marquis de Mun died in 1922 and left his mother-in-law and his widow in charge of the company.

The last direct heir of the de Venoge family left the helm of the firm in 1958 but we aim still to perpetuate the traditional quest for quality and innovation.

DE VENOGE STYLE

Today De Venoge is part of Lanson-BCC, the second largest group in Champagne after Moët Hennessy. Under the leadership of its President Gilles de la Bassetiere the House sells approximately 700,000 bottles annually, of which 50% in France and 50% abroad.

DE VENOGE STYLE

De Venoge style is characterised by vinosity with freshness. The House only uses the first pressing [cuvée] and age its wines for at least 3 years, while using a very low dosage (about 7 grams per liter), and this is where the freshness comes from.

Each cuvée in De Venoge’s range of champagnes is highly individual, expressing the richness of its terroir and the typicity of a particular grape variety. Each one is easily matched with various types of food.

 

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Delamotte

Champagne Delamotte : The taste of chardonnay

Since 1760 Maison Delamotte produces wine characterised by consistent quality and unflagging respect for the terroir and the Côte des Blancs.

Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize and Oger are villages where Chardonnay lights up the landscape. This delicate variety, confronted in the Côte des Blancs with a striking terroir, finds here the perfect combination to preserve its freshness intact over time.

Champagne Delamotte expresses to perfection the characteristics of this noble variety. Light, gossamer-textured, impertinent, more complex with ageing, discrete yet present, heady but not heavy. Champagne at any time, for any occasion.

To learn more about Delamotte read BestChampagne exclusive interview with its President Didier Depond.

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Deutz

Deutz, formerly known as Deutz Geldermann,has its roots in Ay, one of Champagne’s historic and most renowned terroir.The house was founded in 1838 through the association of William Deutz with Pierre-Hubert Geldermann, both wine merchants from Aix-La Chapelle.Convinced that a fine vineyard was the cornerstone of great wines, Geldermann, a Champagne salesman, and Deutz, a negociant, started buying top quality plots and making wine. By combining their technical expertise, knowledge of markets and will to succeed, they developed the firm internationally.

When René Deutz and Alfred Geldermann inherited the business from their fathers in the late 1860s, sales of their Champagne had been consistently rising for years and even under René Deutz and Marie and Alfred Deutz-Geldermann’s sons in law, respectively René Lallier and Charles Van Cassel, Deutz was growing, taking its place among the great Houses of Champagne and becoming a founding member of the Syndicat des Grandes Marques.

Nevertheless, during the Great Depression, Marie Deutz Geldermann had to reinvest a large part of her considerable personal wealth into the company to avoid the disaster and chose a new commercial director to replace Charles Van Cassel and by 1934, a normal rhythm returned to the financial affairs of Deutz: 132,530 bottles sold, two thirds on the French market.

Antoher difficult year was 1938, just before world war second, when René Lallier died and his son, Jean Lallier had to get the House through the wary years, with no money to buy grapes, no bottles and above all no men to make the wine.

Deutz survived on 200,000 bottles a year up to the 1950s. In the 80s and 90s, Andrè Lallier had to organize the reconstitution of the champagne stocks: while maintaining many of the wine making techniques taught him by his father, André also implemented many technical upgrades in the winery – finer presses, a better tank room, and an improved disgorgement.

In 1988, Deutz formed a partnership with New Zealand producer Montana Wines to make sparkling wines in the Marlborough region of New Zealand and in 1993, the majority of the property was acquired by Louis Roederer’s group.

Over the years, the House has been rewardedwith silver, bronze and regional medals at Decanter’s annual World Wine Awards, while both its Brut and Rose styles of Champagne have received gold and silver awards at London’s prestigious International Wine Challenge.

The family still actively participates in the business: Jean Lallier, André Lallier’s son, still works in the House as Export Director.

Deutz House
Founded in 1838, Deutz is still situated in one of the region’s greatest villages, Aÿ, where the family – now rapresented by Jean Lallier, sixth generation descendant of founder William Deutz – owns 42 hectares vineyards and a magnificent residence in Bellepoque style.

In 1993 the House was taken over by another financial partner, Louis Roederer champagne House, though the two kept operating independently and have different styles and characteristics.

The House has also experimented a partnership with Beringer Wine Estates and a San Luis Obispo landowner to form the Californian sparkling wine producer Maison Deutz, but the estate didn’t produce the financial results expected and Deutz sold its interest in the company to the Californian winemaker, who rebranded the wine as Laetitia.

Nevertheless, inspite of the limited acreage, Deutz produces 1,4 million bottles per year, with more than half a million magnums and many more 75cl size bottles, ranking among the top six champagne houses in terms of quality.

The House produces both vintages and non vintages champagnes, along with the prestige cuvé “Amour de Deutz”, applying a policy of sustainable vineyard management: every plot is treated separately, according to its vigour and the specific situation, selecting only top quality grapes from 275 acres of vineyards in the finest crus of Champagne and slowly and carefully ageing them in Deutz’ chalk-walled cellars, between 60 and 180 feet below the vines.

Deutz cellar master is Michel Davesne, while Export Manager since 1996, year of the retirement of Andrè Lallier, is his son Jean Marc, member of the Deutz sixth generations.

Chairman and CEO is Fabrice Rosset, with 20-year sales and marketing expertise at champagne Louis Roederer.

Deutz Style
Since its foundation in 1838 Deutz champagnes have been characterized by the 3 F:Finesse, Freshness & Fine.

Throughout its history Deutz has become the epitome of understated excellence and this is due to the work done by each generation, every one making the effort to develop the brand whilst maintaining many of the wine-making techniques and philosophies instilled since the early times: Deutz selects only top quality grapes, almost 80% of these coming from “Grand Cru” and “Premier Cru” villages , vinifies them in vats of stainless steel instead of wood, temperature controlled – some of them are completely frozen to imitate the winter, season in which the Champagne is transported – and avoids all oxidation.

Even off the press, grapes must show excellent balance, with an average potential alcoholic strength of 10,7° and 8 grams/litre of acidity.

The philosophy of the House is based on precision and patience, cellar master must retain only the best quality pressings from all grapes and each vat must contain the still wine from a carefully identified vineyard plot.

The champagnes are hence characterized by finesse, elegant vinosity and complexity, as it can be noted in Champagne Deutz Brut Classic: first released in 1994, this fine multi-vintage Champagne, blended from selected harvests, has been the latest step in the brand’s evolution, with its smooth
silky style and texture on the palate and the complexity and sophistication of a very fine wine.

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Dom Perignon

Dom Pérignon History

Dom Pérignon is the prestige cuvée of the champagne House Moët & Chandon and is always a vintage champagne, with grapes used to make the wine harvested in the same year.

It is named after Dom Pierre Pérignon, a Benedictine monk who was long held up as the man who discovered the secret of putting bubbles into wine: contrary to popular myths he did not discover the champagne method for making sparkling wines, but is correctly considered as a starting point for champagne’s modern history.

Dom Pérignon had the brilliant idea to assemble the wines between them in such a way that qualities of the ones are added to those of the others and succeeded in perfecting the art of producing clear white wines from black grapes, an essential practice considering about 40% of Champagne’s vineyards are occupied by Pinot Noir.

Thus, by clever manipulation of the presses, he enhanced the tendency of Champagne wines to retain their natural sugar in order to naturally induce secondary fermentation in the spring, understanding that the sap begin to work in the vine and that the yeasts wake and proliferate, thus allowing the wine become effervescent with a second, short-lived fermentation.

Alongside these innovations, he also introduced corks (instead of wood) and, having understood that the pressure was due to the carbon dioxide, he decided to use bottle made of thicker glass.

The work of Pierre Pérignon was very extensive and his champagne was regularly served at Versailles, at the court of Louis XIV.

Tough the development of sparkling wines as the main style of production in Champagne occurred progressively in the 19th century, it is thanks to Dom Perignon if many notable improvements in wine-making are still practiced today.

When he died, at the beginning of the XVIII century, champagne wines were favorite at the King’s court. Louis XVI and especially Madame de Pompadour would have brag for the champagne as we know it today.

The first vintage of Dom Pérignon was 1921 and the name “Dom Perignon” was proposed by Laurence Venn, an English publicist at Simon Brothers, Moët & Chandon’s London agency, who had the idea to create an exceptional quality champagne to be sold on allocation (at a higher price) to the British aristocracy. Nevertheless, though the champagne was known since the days of Madame de Pompadour, it was only released for sale in 1936, after a period of global recession: it was in that year that the House reserved to each of the family descendants of the Moët & Chandon London agency’s top clients a basket containing two sumptuous 19th century styled bottles of the 1926 vintage, sealed with wax and string. Since the enthusiastic reaction of the customers, the House then decided to employ the same tactic in the US market the following year and in fact until 1947 Dom Pérignon was reserved exclusively for the US market.

In 1959 Dom Pérignon was recognised by the world press as the most prestigious champagne in the world and since then many special editions in collaborations with famous artists and designers have contributed to enhance the success of this exceptional wine: in 2008 Karl Lagerfeld released a limited edition Dom Pérignon glass ’’A Bottle named Desire’ modelled on Claudia Schiffer’s breasts, in 2010 the House paid a tribute to Andy Warhol by a limited edition collection of three bottles created in association with the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martins School of Art & Design and in 2012 was the year of the collaboration with the photographer David Lynch, who released the campaign “The Power of Creation’, emphasising the importance of quality in production. .

Dom Pérignon House

Dom Pérignon has its headquarters in Hautvillers, where Pierre Pérignon served as the cellar master and which was recently renoved by Moët & Chandon, the Champagne house that owns Dom Pérignon, by a multiyear renovation of the Abbey. By using the abbey as its unofficial headquarters, Dom Pérignon reinforces links to its namesake, who may not have invented sparkling wine but is said to have mastered the art of mixing the produce of different vineyards to achieve that champagne ideal — the perfect blend.

Moët & Chandon owns virtually all of the vineyards from which Dom Pérignon is sourced: as many as 300 different vineyards, from outside Reims to the Marne Valley, are emplyoed to make a bottle of Dom Pérignon.

Neverthless the House always focuses on the grapes, by chosing not to declare a vintage when their quality is deemed to be not outstanding.

The exact number of bottles produced per vintage is not precisely defined (at least 2 million) but everyone agrees that its greatly overtakes the production of Cristal and Krug, its two most famous rival prestige cuvées.

As of January 2013, the current release of Dom Pérignon is from the 2003 vintage and the current release of Dom Pérignon Rosé is from the 2002 vintage. Between 1921 and 2003, Dom Pérignon champagne has been produced in 39 years. Three vintage years in a row are a rare phenomenon (which has only occurred twice: in 1969, 1970 and 1971; in 1998, 1999 and 2000).

Dom Pérignon Style

Dom Pérignon is a single-vintage wine, made only in the best years: in fact the House pride itself on being “Vintage Only: an assemblage of the finest grapes of a single year in Champagne”, meaning all grapes used to make the wine are harvested in the same year rather than a blend of multiple years’ harvests. This is generally an indication of quality: many houses use blending to try to make more or less the same wine every year, while Dom Pérignon welcomes variation.

Always assembling 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, but changing the final composition every vintages created. Richard Geoffroy ,The Chef de Cave of the House is Richard Geoffroy, a star in the world of champagne making, considering that he is the only one who can decides if a vintage is up to be sold and who decides which is the perfect blend for a Dom Pérignon.

Having access to all 17 Grands Crus vineyards in Champagne (and in particular the 8 core Grands Crus of Aÿ, Bouzy, Verzenay, Mailly, Chouilly, Cramant, Avize and Le Mesnil) as well as the historical Premier Cru from Hautvillers is a privilege of the House and creates a myriad of options.

The signature style of Dom Pérignon – intense, full-bodied, hedonistic – is all driven by taste so to create a distinctive champagne, that tries to stand out amongst the others instead to strive to not get noticed. Part of this unicity is in the harvesting of ripe grapes: while many Champagne producers pick early, either out of stylistic preference or simply to ensure a harvest, Dom Pérignon’s pickers, under the wise advice of Mr. Geoffroy, wait for greater ripeness. This is due to the emphasis given to pH with acidity rather than flavors and sugars, in the convinction that that any corrections can be done through blending.

Nevertheless, to control the end product and to look for no surprises later during the winemaking process, the House adds sulfite during the pressing to kill off any indigenous wild yeast, runs a malolactic fermentation with a commercial culture each year allowing it to complete fully and only use stainless steel tanks for their primary fermentation. Much attention is also given to the topic of oxidation, that kills champagne’s complexity and makes it fat and heavy: each champagne receveis a mix of both early exposure and later protection so acclimates the juice at early stage and to gently rack and protect with sulfite at later times.

Dom Pérignon ages on its lees in the bottle for a minimum of seven years before riddling and disgorgement. After the yeast is removed, the champagne is stored for another six months before being released for sales around the globe. The result is elegance and creaminess with toasted flavours, backed up by an exotic fruitiness in a medium body and very fine tiny bubbles.

Dom Pérignon expresses its first plénitude after seven years in the cellar, with a second plénitude 12 to 15 years after the vintage and a third plénitude after 30 to 40 years.

The best way to appreciate a Dom Perignon is is to use standard wine glasses instead of not narrow Champagne flutes or shallow coupes so to emphasize the rich flavors and aromas of each new vintage, a sort of unique creative art.

Dom Pérignon Champagnes

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Drappier

drappier-champagne-bottle-sizes

Drappier History

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.

Drappier House

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.

Drappier Style

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%).

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Duval-Leroy

Duval-LeRoy History

DUVAL-LEROY is one of the of the few family-owned large Champagne Houses.

Since its creation in 1859, the Maison has been located in Vertus, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, the Chardonnay dominated subregion of Champagnes. 

The House has been renowned since its beginnings: between 1888 and 1893, at the Barcelona, Monaco, Moscow, and Paris Universal Exhibitions, DUVAL-LEROY was recognized for the quality of its champagnes. Nevertheless, much of the popularity and this champagne House is relatively recent.

It all started when in 1991 Carol Duval-Leroy, after the sudden loss of her husband Jean Charles Duval-Leroy, became CEO and President of the House.

She shifted the focus of DUVAL-LEROY away from producing Buyers Own Brand (BOB) champagne to various supermarket chains and retailers – and turned her attention to building up House’s brand.

For this, she invested in modern equipment, increased the product range, developed the distribution channels, and expanded the exports.

Within a decade DUVAL-LEROY has doubled its sales to 6 million bottles, of which 60% is now exported, and won a number of awards and medals at national and international competitions.

Duval-Leroy House

The House is still based in its village of origin, Vertus, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, where the family runs 200 hectares of vineyards.

The production is mainly Chardonnay (in the Grand Crus),  but in recent years the House has signed numerous contracts in the Montagne de Reims area of Champagne to increase its Pinot Noir supply.

Overall, this independent supply provides 1/4 of the company’s annual grape requirements. 

The House is still 100% family-owned and still run by Carol Duval-Leroy, with the close help of her three sons, and Chef de Cave Sandrine Logette-Jardin, one of the very few female Cellar Masters in Champagne.

Duval-Leroy Style

The predominance of Chardonnay grapes in the elaboration of the cuvées gives finesse, lightness, and elegance to the DUVAL-LEROY champagnes.

The range of champagne, which is extensive, includes several non-vintage cuvées, rosés and prestige wines, all of which are characterised by elegance, freshness, and fruity notes.

Duval-Leroy Champagnes


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Gosset

Champagne Gosset – Traditional Skills since 1584…

For four centuries, great care has been taken to maintain the reputation of the brand and to preserve a family know-how in making champagne.

In 1584 Pierre Gosser, alderman of Ay and wine-grower, made still, mostly red wines from the grapes he harvested from his own vines. In those days two wines vied for pride of place at the table of the Kings of France.

The wines of Ay and from some hundreds of leagues further south, the wine of Beaune. Both were made from the same grape varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The reputation of the wine of Ay was such that Francois the First had his own winery built there. Which is now owned by Champagne Gosset.

Then in the 18th Century, the wine made in and around Ay began to bubble, and the Gosset family turned naturally to the production of champagne.

At Gosset, most of the cuvées are presented in the old style bottle, a replica of the one used in the 18th and 19th centuries. Gosset house carefully avoids malolactic fermentation so that the wines keep their natural freshness.

To learn more about GOSSET read our exclusive interview with its President Jean-Pierre Cointreau and to learn more about his distinctive style read our exclusive interview with its Chef de Caves Odilon de Varine


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Henriot

Henriot champagne cellars

Founded in 1808 Maison HENRIOT is one of those rare, independent Champagne Houses that has been family owned since its inception.

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Jacquesson

Jacquesson History
Jacquesson & Fils, based in the village of Dizy, was founded in Châlons-sur-Marne (now Chalôns-en-Champagne) in 1798 by Memmie Jacquesson. The fame of the House grew following the rumour that it was a favourite of Napoleon, who would have honoured the house with a gold medal for its fine cellars.Moreover, the House is renowned for the introduction of the « plaque de muselet», the now-collected metal caps over the cork held by wire – still the method for holding down the cork – which was patented by Adolph Jacquesson, Memmie’s son, in 1844.Adolph, who succeeded his father in 1835, ensured the dynamic growth of the House adopting the latest wine-making breakthroughs and discovering techniques to improve the still imperfect art of champagne making. For instance, with the help of Dr Guyot, he carried out the planting of vines in row, while with chemist Jean-Baptiste François, he developed a process for measuring sugar density, so reducing from 25% to 4% the rate of bottle exploding in their cellars because of the lack of control over the amount of carbon dioxide under the cork ( this process is known nowadays as Reduction Francois).Eventually, part of the fame of the House is due to the fact to have given birth to Krug : in 1843, Jacquesson’s cellar master, Johann-Joseph Krug, left the House to form his own brand. In 1867 annual sales of Jacquesson bottles had reached 1,000,000, but a period of decline followed the death of Adolphe Jacquesson, with the descendants having ceased to continue the family business.

It was only several decades later that the House began to remake its fortune : in 1924 Jacquesson was acquired by de Tassigny family, while in 1974 the brand was bought out by a small house, Champagne Chiquet Père et Fils, so moving to its present Dizy home from its then base in Reims. Thanks to Jean Chiquet and then to his sons, Jean Hervé and Laurent, respectively joining the House in 1978 and in 1985, Jacquesson returned to its roots, producing top quality champagnes under the old logo of the Maison Jacquesson.

Jacquesson House
Jacquesson House, one of the smallest House in the Champagne Region – only Salon being smaller amongst the elite of Champagne producers – sits nevertheless with few other top ‘houses’ for its champagne quality.

Based in Dizy, now with a vast chateau at Sillery as well as the Chalôns base, the House produces 280.000 bottles per year, nearly 78% supplied from their own 28ha estate while the others 22% from selected growers in the same villages where the House has its vineyards – Avize, Chouilly and Oiry in the Grand Cru and Dizy, Hautvillers, Cumieres and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ in the Premier Cru.Having to buy grapes to supply its production, the House is a « negociant-manipulant » (NM).

Despite the limited owned vineyards – along with the limited annual production – since the arrival of the Chiquet family the House has radically changed farming techniques so to focus on champagne quality: the two brothers Chiquet take great care of the vineyards, still dating back to Adolphe Jacquesson times and restored in the 19th century in collaboration with Dr. Jule Guyot so to plant them in planting in rows instead of the traditional ‘en foule’ and with specific controls on yield and in 2008 they completed its conversion to organic farming.

Moreover, running counter Champagne’s tradition of blending wines from across the region to make consistent house-branded styles, Jean-Hervé and Laurent prefer to to make locally specific and authentic wines.

In this boutique House, which behaves the least like a house and much more like a ‘single estate, the two brothers – owners of the 51% of the company, the rest held by other investors – have the complete organization of the production, with Jean Hervè dealing with sales and outside relations while Laurent leading on vineyard management and grape production as well as winemaking. Some 65% is exported to the UK, with a clear choice to not sell in supermarkets. The USA, Germany, Sweden and Japan are also important export markets.

Jacquesson Style
Much of the success of the House is due to the their terroir based philosophy, which employs organic farming techniques and deploys herbicids, allowing to obtain grapes of great quality.

Confident of this quality, some years ago the Chiquet brothers decided to stop producing their non-vintage cuvé – what obliged them to « repeat » a style year o er year – and to introduce a groundbreaking single-vintage-based cuvée, which changes yearly (with the latest release, Cuvée No. 737 based on the 2009 vintage, with Cuvée No. 736 based on the 2008 vintage, Cuvée No. 735 based on the 2007 vintage and so on till the first Cuvée 728 based on 2000 vintage).

At the moment, both the old bottlings of the House – the « regular » vintages, 2002 being the last to be released – and the new – the 700s series – now coexist on the market as old stocks diminish and will eventually disappear. For what concerns the 700s series – and Jacquesson champagnes in general – the assemblage of each numbered cuvée changes from year to year though the techniques are based on vinification in large old oak barrels, on the lees, with weekly bâtonnages, and with the use of only the first « cuvée » during pressing.

The champagnes, which include a percentage of about 30% to 40% of reserve wines, always complete malolactic fermentation, but the sugar dosage is minimal and there is no fining, no filtration, or conventional cold stabilisation. Thus, although it is difficult to say there is a real « Jacquesson style » it is nevertheless fair to say that Jacquesson champagnes are crisp, giving a dry impression, also due to this very low dosage – less than 6g/l of residual sugar – with most of the wines being in fact Extra-Brut.

Alongside the esteemed ‘700 Series’ cuvées, the house produces tiny quantities of its terroir-based cuvées–each from a unique parcel of vines : Champ Caïn, 100% Avize Chardonnay; Corne Bautray, 100% Dizy Chardonnay, Vauzelle Terme, 100% Aÿ Pinot Noir, and a saignée rosé, Terres Rouge, which, from 2007 onwards, will be produced entirely from Pinot Noir.

The Chiquet brothers have decided to release these terroir-based champagnes only when vintages are very good and are not needed for the 700s cuvées. Finally, the House has also released – in small quantities – late disgorged Vintage champagnes under the designation « degorgement tardif » (DT). On all the backlabels the House indicate the number of bottles produced, the month of disgorging – with some older vintages-left undisgorged in its cellars until release fifteen or more years after the vintage – and the dosage. These wines are further distinguished by their baroque labels, of the type that Jacquesson used in the 1840s.

To learn more about Jacquesson read BestChampagne exclusive interview with its President Jean Hervé Chiquet.

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Krug

KRUG is the haute-couture Champagne Houses, producing only exceptional champagnes of amazing taste, and corresponding retail price.

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Lanson

LANSON INTRO

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Louis Roederer

Roederer History

Founded in Reims in 1776, Louis Roederer is one of the few large champagne House to have remained independent and family-run.

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Moët & Chandon

MOËT & CHANDON is the world’s largest champagne producers and the most prominent Champagne House. Founded in 1743, today it is part of luxury group LVMH and firmly stands as the market leader in virtually all countries where champagne can be found.

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Mumm

With its distinctive ‘red ribbon’ label, Champagne G.H. Mumm offers a range of multi-award-winning Champagnes of the highest quality, created by Chef de Cave Didier Mariotti, and backed by a rich and colorful heritage.

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Perrier-Jouët

Since its foundation in 1811, PERRIER-JOUËT has been producing elegant champagnes characterized by distinctive floral notes. Its prestige cuvée Belle Epoque and its iconic art nouveau engraved bottle are emblems of this Houses historical association with the arts and nature. 

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Philipponnat

An enduring tradition since 1522

Deep roots

XVIth-XVIIth: April le Philipponnat has owned an estate in Aÿ since 1522 and two House Cuvées, named after this year, honour him today. The emblem of the House, the red and gold checkerboard family coat-of-arms, was registered with the French Heraldry in 1698, even though the Philipponnat family had been established in the heart of Champagne for almost two centuries by that stage.

Second Empire: Owners of vineyards and wine traders in their own right, the Philipponnats devote themselves to the production of Champagne.

1910: Auguste and Pierre Philipponnat settle in Mareuil sur Aÿ and start using the old wine cellars (XVIIIth Century) of the castle and give their House its modern commercial momentum despite the onset of the First World War and a widespread phylloxera crisis.

A great insight

1935: Pierre Philipponnat acquires the Clos des Goisses, a unique vineyard on the southern flank of the Gruguet hill. Breaking with the tradition of blending in Champagne, he creates a remarkable single-vineyard wine. The following generations go on to further develop the reputation of the House, first in France and then abroad.

A new momentum

1997: Philipponnat joins the Boizel Chanoine Champagne Group. Charles Philipponnat, grandson of Auguste, is brought in to run the House and brings the required energy to its international development. Since then, Philipponnat continues to expand and receives growing acclaim from both wine critics and the world of Haute Cuisine.

2003: The new wine making facilities as well as the barrel room are completed in Mareuil sur Ay, the ultimate stage in production of quality wines at Philipponnat.

The Philipponnat style

The Philipponnat style relies on balance between intensity and freshness.

The intensity results from:
1) the dominance of Pinot Noir in the blends , particularly the very well southern-facing vineyards from the South of the Montagne de Reims.
2) the search for an optimal physiological maturity of the grapes due to slightly late grape picking.

The freshness ensues from:
1) the use of never less than 30% Chardonnay, and particularly from the use of only the first pressing (the Cuvée),
2) a very moderate dosage which protects the aromatic freshness and the natural minerality of the base wines.

An essential portion of vintage wines and of Clos des Goisses are matured in oak barrel to increase their complexity. Wines matured in oak, as well as a part of those matured in steel tanks are not subjected to malo-lactic fermentation in order to increase and adjust the perception of acidity and freshness.

To learn more about Philipponnat read BestChampagne exclusive interview with its President Charles Philipponnat.

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Piper-Heidsieck

Piper-Heidsieck History

Florens-Louis Heidsieck, a young German man, founded his eponymous Champagne House in 1785. 

His wines gained immediate recognition and were soon introduced to Queen Marie-Antoinette at Versailles.

Florens-Louis’ nephew Christian Heidsieck joined the House in 1800 followed by Christian’s cousin, Henri-Guillaume Piper in 1815.

Upon the death of Florens-Louis Heidsieck in 1828, Christian Heidsieck assumed control of the House while Henri Guillaume Piper traveled the world to promote and sell his wines, under the name “Piper’s Heidsieck”.

The Heidsieck House became the official purveyor to 14 Royal and Imperial Courts, including those as far as Siam and China.

The success of PIPER-HEIDSIECK continues inexorably throughout the XX century when it becomes Hollywood’s favorite.

In 1933 Laurel and Hardy film “Sons of the Desert” marked the very first appearance of a bottle of champagne in movies and in the 1950’s Marilyn Monroe is said to weak each morning with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck.

From the 1990’s the House consolidates its bond with the cinema by sponsoring major film festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin and many more.

In 1995 the House inaugurate a new impressive winery of over 200 stainless steel vats and an exclusive area for reserve wines, to accompany its quest for impeccable quality.

In 2011 PIPER-HEIDSIECK is sold to EPI (Européenne de Participation Industrielle), a privately owned holding company of French luxury brands.

Since then the House continues to evolve, nurtured by its values of craftsmanship, quality, and the continuity in French luxury and savoir-faire.

Piper-Heidsieck House & Style

Today PIPER-HEIDSIECK produces, impeccably, five million bottles of champagne every year that are sold all over the globe, and are recognized for their distinctive gold and red/black label.

Its champagnes are renowned for their structured fruity style, with a lot of elegance and finesse.

Author of this signature style and impeccable quality is Cellar Master Régis Camus, named Sparkling Winemaker of the Year eight times.

He works hand in hand with deputy Cellar Master Séverine Frerson. Together they create a win-team that produce, serious “wines that smile.”

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Pol Roger

Pol Roger History

Pol Roger, a “Champenois” from Aÿ, founded his champagne house in Epernay in 1849. Over the next fifty years, until his death in 1899, he built his business into one of the most respected wines in Champagne and, in particular, forged strong trade links with Britain.

The founder was succeeded by his sons, Maurice and Georges, who changed their family name to Pol Roger by deed poll and, thereafter, by a further three generations (to date) of his direct descendants.

The supervisory board of family members (the Conseil de Surveillance) is headed by Christian de Billy, a great grandson of the founder. Christian’s son, is also a members.

In 2013 Laurent d’Harcourt, former Export Director, was appointed President of Pol Roger. 

Pol Roger House

Champagne Pol Roger, with stocks of 7.5 million of bottles representing some 4 to5 year’s supply, is among the smallest of the great Champagne houses, but ranks with the very highest in terms of prestige and an uncompromising reputation for quality.

It remains proudly independent, one of a very select brand of “Grandes Marques” still remaining in family hands.

The company owns some 88 hectares of vineyards on prime sites in the Vallée de la Marne, the Montagne de Reims and in the Côte des Blancs.

The remainder of its supplies comes from individual growers, many of whom have supplied Champagne Pol Roger for generations.

Pol Roger Style

Distinction and elegance, this is Pol Roger style. According to its retiring Chef de Cave Dominique Petit, in each POL ROGER champagne one will find a certain sobriety, a feeling of serenity, fullness without extravagance. 

The House cellars extend to 7 km in the chalk below Epernay and are among the coolest and deepest in the region, contributing no doubt to the excellent, persistent mousse of small bubbles which distinguishes all Pol Roger champagnes.

It is not surprising therefore that Winston Churchill and the British Royal Family made Pol Roger their favorite champagne. 

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Ruinart

RUINART- CHAMPAGNE HOUSE

RUINART HISTORY

The House of RUINART was officially founded in 1729, as it was only on the 25th May 1728 that a royal decree authorized the transport of champagne wine in baskets containing 50 or 100 bottles. Prior to that date wines could only be transported in casks. Therefore the right to transport bottles opened up the market throughout France and even further afield for the wine merchants in Reims.

At that time Nicolas Ruinart was working for his father in the drapery trade. His uncle Dom Thierry Ruinart, a visionary Benedictine monk contemporary of Louis XIV, understood the promising future of the “wine with bubbles” produced from the vines of his native Champagne. France was under the reign of the young King Louis XV, and a certain lifestyle and refinement began to influence the market Dom Ruinart passed his intuition to his nephew.

On 1st September 1729, Nicolas Ruinart opened the very first ledger devoted to “wine with bubbles”. This document constitutes the official act for the foundation of the Champagne House RUINART.

The beginnings were very modest with just 170 bottles sold in 1730, with clients being essentially the same for both drapery and wines. However, being a very shrewd businessman and noticing a certain decline in the drapery business he decided to concentrate his efforts on the production of wine.

In 1735, RUINART abandoned the cloth trade to concentrate on the burgeoning champagne trade. This became Nicolas’s sole occupation and growth was exponential with  3,000 bottles sold in 1731, 36,000 in 1761, and onwards.

Wines were sold in the North of France and in the South of Belgium. Their clientele mainly comprised the wealthy middle class, artisans, and nobility.

Over a period of the next 30 years the RUINART progressed and developed: in 1764 Nicolas’s son Claude came into the business. Sales on the export were also developed. Germany became the up and coming market for Ruinart. Throughout the following century, Claude traveled extensively, and his journeys took him as far as America and Russia.

The Ruinart family continued to expand the House and on 12th April 1817, Louis XVIII granted nobility to François Irénée Ruinart.

The ever-increasing activity necessitated new storing solutions. RUINART looked into the use of chalk pits exploited by the Romans. More or less abandoned, Claude Ruinart decided to acquire them as cellars.Until then the precious champagne bottles had been stored in the cellars of the private residences and that proved to be insufficient.

In the first quarter of the XIXth Century, the House invested in additional vineyards, extending the cellars and developing the clientele. New markets in England and the USA opened up.

However, World War I, the crash of 1929, and World War II, had a toll on RUINART. In 1946 there were only 10,000 bottles left in stock, and only two customers, in Paris; RUINART was on the brink of disappearing. In the same year Bertrand Mure, a family member, took over and started rebuilding the House and the brand from scratch. This is when the House decided to refocus on Chardonnay, which today characterizes RUINART champagnes.

After a glorious past and a number of vicissitudes, RUINART has joined the LVMH luxury group and has since become one of the most appreciated and respected champagne brands in France.

RUINART HOUSE

RUINART is currently managed by Frédéric Dufour and its Cellar Master is Frédéric Panaïotis. The House sells an estimated 3 million bottles per year.

RUINART STYLE

RUINART champagnes are characterized by an unusually high percentage of Chardonnay in the blends, resulting in a fine freshness and elegance, with a certain power.

Ruinart Champagnes

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Salon

Salon History

Champagne Salon was founded in 1911 by Eugene Aimé Salon, aesthete and amateur of Champagne, who initially created the perfect Champagne initially for his and his own friends‘ consumption. Son of a Champenois cart maker Aimé went to Paris, where he found a position in the fur trade, initially as a messenger boy, then rapidly gaining responsibility and taking the company‘s destiny into his own hands, and doing so becoming of the most glittering personalities of Parisian life at the turn of the century. Though he travelled a lot for work, he always kept close ties with champagne: tasting differentt champagnes, he would always wanted to create one by himself.

So, at the beginning of the 1900s, he bought a vineyard in one of the best cru, in Mesnil sur Oger, in the heart of Côte des Blancs, with the purpose to produce a non-blended Champagne for him and his relatives. Encouraged by his friends, Aimé Salon decided to start selling this champagne after the first world war. In 1921 , the trademark “Salon” was born.The first known vintage was 1905 and from that moment the House has created 37 vintages, only in the best years, which is approximately 3 years out of 10. When Aimé Salon died in 1943, the House was acquired by Dubonnet, then by Pernod-Ricard and finally by Laurent-Perrier in 1988.

Salon is today the sister of Delamotte House inside the Laurent Perrier group, the latter producing non vintage champagnes while Salon focusing only on vintages, from one single cru, le Mesnil-sur-Oger, from one single grape variety, Chardonnay, and only in the best years, leaving to Delamotte the grapes of those years without a vintage.

Salon House

Salon produces only one single Champagne, the Salon « S », always as vintage and, unlike most champagnes, it is only made up of Chardonnay. Thensuper-premium Blanc de Blancs produced comes from a single one hectare plot « jardin de Salon » and the same original 20 parcels in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.

Salon only produces its vintages in exceptional years, when the quality of the grapes is deemed to be very good, and the House produces only on limited quantity (60000 bottles for the vintage 1995), and after a long cellar aging period – 10 years instead of 3 to 5 years for other champagne – when it is reached the perfect marriage of acidity and fruit. Grapes are picked and sorted by hand, pressing is carried out at le Mesnil-sur-Oger, with a traditional press used only for Salon and only the first pressing, or cuvée, is used, the purest, freshest juice, containing the highest percentage of acidity, which is essential to the evolution and vivacity of the Champagne.

Salon exports 95% of the production to sixty countries, where Salon is recognised among the top houses worldwide. In Japan, in particular, Salon is considered the King of Blanc des Blancs, followed by Usa and Uk; the House is also growing in markets like Brasil, India, China and Russia.

Cellar master is Michel Fauconnet, who is also in charge of the blending of Laurent Perrier and Delamotte. Since 1997 Salon is directed, along with Delamotte, by Didier Depond, who is also Executive President of Laurent Perrier.

Salon Style

Salon is one of the rarest and most expensive Champagne’s on the planet, only made in exceptional years and there have only been 37 vintages in the last century. This top of the class champagne, Salon “S”, is only made of grapes sourced from vineyards in the Côte des Blancs region, from a one-hectare parcel owned by Salon: “Salon’s garden”, and from 19 other smaller parcels in Mesnil-sur-Oger, chosen by Eugène-Aimé Salon at the beginning of the century.

Every step of the production has to be controlled: obtained from one single cru in Mesnil sur Oger, one the best cru in Champagne region for Chardonnay grapes, the champagne is then cellared in the bottle for an average of 10 years, gaining in complexity and finesse. Every parcel is fermented separately and lees are kept more than the usual time in the wine, so to allow the wine to gain structure and to last more, so to taste it even after 25-30 years. Salon, conscious of the rarity and pureness of this champagne, chooses to produce it only when there are the perfect conditions for the ripening of the grapes and they are perfectly balanced in fruitiness and acidity.

It is a champagne rich and with complex aromas: its colour bright yellow diamond, with a fine, persistent mousse and long creamy finish has notes of bergamot and saline flavours followed by vanilla, dried fruits and buttery notes and the freshness of grapefruit and fig, revealing its wondrous and unique character. It is easily compared in its fullness and richness to the great wines of Burgundy.

To learn more about Salon read BestChampagne exclusive interview with its President Didier Depond.

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Taittinger

HISTORY

In 1734, Jacques Fourneaux, a Champagne wine merchant, entered the champagne adventure at a time when the Benedictine abbeys of Hautvillers, Pierry, Verzy and Saint-Nicaise in Reims owned the finest vineyards and made their first sparkling wines. His son, advisor to the king, frequently traveled abroad and contributed to the company’s growth. Jacques Fourneaux founded the company that would later become Taittinger.

In 1870, the Taittinger family left the Lorraine region after the Treaty of Frankfurt and moved to Paris in order to retain their French citizenship after the Franco-Prussian War and the Treaty of Frankfurt.

In 1915, General de Castelnau set up his headquarters at Château de la Marquetterie during the Battle of Champagne.Pierre Taittinger, a young officer at the time, fell in love with the property and swore to return after the war. 

In 1932, Pierre Taittinger bought Château de la Marquetterie from the wine house Forest-Fourneaux, including its vineyards that had been planted with Chardonnay and Pinot noir since the 18th Century. 

From 1945, François Taittinger, son of Pierre and an innovative man with great foresight, managed the House and defined its signature style. He decided that Chardonnay would be the brand’s dominant grape variety, realizing that in the 20th century champagne consumers would appreciate the qualities of finesse, lightness and elegance.

Taittinger’s signature style has earned the House its worldwide reputation for excellence and allowed it to prosper. 

When François Taittinger died in 1960 following an accident his younger brother Claude Taittinger took over the company until 2005 when Champagne Taittinger was sold by the Taittinger family to the US private investment firm Starwood Capital Group.

The Champagne stakeholder advocated that the new foreign ownership was not compatible with the production of quality champagne that requires time, and trust in the authority to the Chef de Cave, as opposed to short-term profitability. 

As a result in 2006, the Taittinger family led by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, Claude’s nephew, bought the House back for 660 million euros. He is currently the President of the House and he is assisted by his son and daughter Clovis and Vitalie. 

THE HOUSE

Today Taittinger is one of the most famous champagne brands and one of the largest Houses in Champagne and the largest family run.

Yet it impeccably produces high-quality champagnes, consistently, also thanks to its own unusually large vineyard of 288 hectares that accounts for about 1/2 of the House grapes’ needs. 

Composed of Chardonnay (35% compared to only 27% in the Champagne region), Pinot Noir (50%) and Pinot Meunier (15%), the vineyard faithfully reflects the Taittinger style.

Located in the finest regions of the Champagne winegrowing country, from the Côte des Blancs to the Vallée de la Marne and the Montagne de Reims, the vines cover 712 acres distributed among some of the best 34 villages in the Champagne appellation area. They are entirely grown using the latest cutting-edge sustainable farming techniques. Some plots are tended using organic viticultural methods.

Taittinger also deliberately extends the aging time of its champagnes far beyond the legal minimum time, with three to four years for the Brut Réserve and nearly ten for its acclaimed prestige cuvée Comtes de Champagne. This ensures that champagnes are sold when ready to be enjoyed at their best. 

The executor of this vision and guarantor of Taittinger’s style and quality is Loïc Dupont Chef de Cave since 2000.

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Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

VEUVE CLICQUOT History

The Clicquot Champagne House was founded in 1772, when Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, who dealt principally in textiles and finance, decided to transform a certain number of vineyards owned nearby Bouzy and Ambonnay into a wine business.

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