Today we visited 3 houses, 2 in the neighboring grand cru villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay located in the Grande Montagne de Reims with south facing vineyards. This exposure, mostly planted with Pinot Noir produces powerful wines. The third house based in Reims, has significant vineyard holdings of grand cru and premier cru villages throughout the champagne region.
Delavenne Père & Fils, Bouzy
Founded in 1920 by Marcel Delavenne, this house is now under the care of fourth generation Jean-Christophe and his wife Maelle. The juice from each grape variety is vinified separately in stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation allowed. The vineyards are worked with integrated agriculture, maintaining the soil, allowing biodiversity, with no pesticides and a progression towards organic farming. We toured with Maelle, met with Jean-Christophe and Tasted with Maelle and export and communication manager Susan.
- Brut Tradition Grand Cru
- Brut Reserve Grand Cru
- Brut Rosé Grand Cru
- Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
Eric Rodez, Ambonnay
Eric Rodez, eighth generation winegrower, tends his vineyards with “sensibility” and respect using “integrated” methods; techniques from organic and biodynamic farming and low yield vines. The vineyards are “HEV” certified. Wines are vinified parcel by parcel in old oak with selective use of malolactic fermentation. Blending and low dosage allow the wines, in his words to “sing.” We did not tour his house as there was much construction going on. We tasted several cuvees along with a group of Russian sommeliers from St. Petersburg and two representatives from the famous Berry Brothers wine merchants of London. We tasted 8 wines and list 4 below.
- Cuvée des Crayères
- Blanc de Blancs
- Blanc de Noir
- Les Beurys 2010 Pinot Noir
- Les Genettes 2010 Pinot Noir
- La Fournettes 2009 Pinot Noir
- La Beurys Maceration 2009 Pinot Noir
- Cuvées des Grands Vintages
- Cuvée Empriente de Terroir: Chardonnay 2002
Bruno Paillard, Reims
The Paillard’s family of vine growers and grape brokers began in 1704. Established in 1981, Bruno Paillard is a “Negociant-Manipulant”: A champagne producer that incorporates both purchased and estate grapes for vinification. Paillard owns and cares for more than half of the vineyards used. Although not a “small grower/independent” house “Recoltant-Manipulant” that we usually visit, the reputation of Paillard’s cuvees interested us. We were not disappointed. They have sustainable viticulture, biodiversity and utilize organic methods. Each parcel is separately vinified in steel tanks or oak barrels using “first press” juice. Francois Colas showed us around the house and shared with us a few unique features of the Paillard house. Unlike other producers who keep their bottles below ground in cellars, Paillard uses an entirely above ground, temperature/humidity controlled “cellar.” Paillard provides the general grape variety and vintages used to compose each wine, but does not explicitly release their blend ratios for all cuvees. Bruno Paillard’s passion extends to art as well. His vintage releases have commissioned pieces featured on the labels expressing the Character of that cuvee. The house does not accept the general public for visitation.
- Première Cuvée
- Assemblage 2008
- Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
Visit What’s Open to learn more about these cuvées.
Continue the tour with Day Three!