Bruno Gobillard

The Gobillard family has been growing grapes in Pierry near Epernay since the 18th Century. In 1858 Paul Gobillard started selling champagne under his own label. This eventually grew into a full negociant business. However, in 1994, Bruno, then 28, shifted his focus away from the negociant business to create his own estate. Bruno's family kept extensive records of their winemaking and assemblage methods since 1858, and Bruno uses these today as his blueprint for making his estate wine.
They own 7 hectares that stretch over 27 parcels. The average vineyard age is 30 years. The vineyards are situated around Epernay, in the communes of Moussy, Epernay, Cramant, Chatillon sur Marne and la Chapelle Monaudon.
The key element to these wines is the importance Bruno gives to the cultivation of the vines and the notion of terroir. As he says "a great wine is first a great grape." Selling off 50% of his production at harvest to negociants allows him to work only with his older vines, which grow in the heart of Epernay. He explains: "At about 25 years old you start getting something interesting. An older vine produces less with more concentration." He practices 'culture raisonee', treating the vineyards minimally, and only with non-residual products. He practices thorough debudding and careful canopy management. He avoids compacting the soils and aerates them regularly by ploughing often. This allows him to manage grass growth as well. He believes that the vineyards on the mid-slope produce wines with the most style, character and typicity.
The most remarkable aspect of Bruno's winemaking is that for harvest he uses a team of older pickers paid on an hourly basis. As he puts it "the older the workers are, the slower they go and the more attention they put into picking in a qualitative manner." This is of particular importance for sorting in the vineyards, as Bruno prefers to keep the handling of grapes to a minimum after picking to preserve freshness and aromas. Of his practices he says "it is important to keep one's spirit open and to keep learning."
For vinification, Bruno uses a large, traditional vertical wood press. He practices very soft pressing to avoid stressing the juices, and lets the actual harvest dictate his every move. He vinifies in small vats, which allows him to isolate each parcel in order to do a more precise assemblage.
The alcoholic fermentation takes place immediately after a long and gentle decanting period (debourbage). The small size of the vats also allows for slow fermentation and controlled temperatures. He leaves the wine on the lees for as long as possible to gain in complexity. He does not allow the reserve wines or the current vintage to go through malolactic fermentation, in order to maintain freshness.
Blending and bottling take place between May and June. This is where his experience as the son of a negociant comes in, as he had to become a master blender. He stresses the importance of using ample reserve wine with which one can compose. He usually blends at least three vintages, and believes in using up to 10% Pinot Meunier, which he calls "fresh and tasty."
The second fermentation is done in bottle in the family's 18th century cave, which they carved out of the chalk hillside. The wine is bottled for a minimum of 4 years before being disgorged, and the dosage is minimal. Riddling is still done by hand, and Bruno avoids hurried shipments to allow for the perfect integration of the dosage and the champagne.

Grapes- 45%Chardonnay, 45%Pinot Noir and 10%Pinot Meunier.

AT A GLANCE

Region: Champagne, Vallee de la Marne
Winery Location:
Epernay
Winemaker:
BrunoGobillard
Winery Classificaton:
Recoltant Manipulant Varietals: Varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Winemaking:
Vinification in small vats to identify best fruit and do a precise assemblage. Slow fermentation at controlled temperatures. The wine sits on the lees for as long as possible for complexity. None of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation to retain freshness.
Ageing:
Minimum ageing 4 years in bottle before disgorgement



Godmé


The Godmé family has been producing champagne since 1830. The estate is located in the Grand Cru village of Verzenay. The 11 hectares of vineyards consist of a mosaic of 70 micro-parcels in five villages in the Montagne de Reims area. The vineyards are cultivated using the method of "culture raisonée". They keep their yields low through severe pruning. The Godmé family vinify their cuvˇes in small tanks, allowing them to work each parcel separately to respect each terroir. Blending is carried out by the family team and an oenologist who has worked for the estate for a number of years. The second fermentation takes place in traditional cellars carved out of the chalk layer, which lies directly beneath one of their vineyard. The blend of the NV Brut is 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier. The rose is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and is both serious and elegant.

 

AT A GLANCE

Region: Montagne de Reims, Champagne
Winery Location:
Verzenay
Winemaker: Godme family
Production:
8000 cases
Winery Classification:
RM
Varietals:
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Winemaking:
Gravity system from press to tanks and barrels in order to minimize stress on the juice and allow for the freshest aromas. Pressed with a vertical membrane press and vinified in small tanks. This allows them to vinify each parcel separately in order to respect the terroir. Usually the brut goes through malolactic fermentation, though they are flexible and let each vintage dictate that.
Ageing:
A mix of stainless steel and Burgundy casks

 

Guy Charlemagne NV Brut Grand Cru Blanc des Blancs

As you wind along the "Route des Grands Cru" in the Cote des Blancs, the twisting, ribbon of a road that takes you to Guy Charlemagne, you wonder what took you so long to visit Champagne. I found this winery through Didier Gimmonet, who told me it was one of his favorite, un-represented gems. They donÕt believe in giving pure exclusivity to one distributor, but for juice of this quality at this price, I was happy to share.

It is a family owned estate, passed down through the generations since 1892. It is now run by Philippe Charlemagne, whose saying "quality is my truth" is the mantra and passion of his personnel. His thirteen hectares of Chardonnay vineyards are located in the heart of the small village of Les Mesnil sur Oger, in Crus Mesnil sur Oger and Oger. The average age of the vines is 30 years. By practicing "culture raisonee" (non-interventionalist farming, almost organic but will do "what is reasonable" to protect disease in the vines if necessary) and adding very little dosage, he is able to express the quality of his world-class terroir



Guy Charlemagne NV Brut Rose


Guy Charlemagne also owns two hectares of Pinot Noir in the cru of Sézanne, where the soil is clay- limestone. They are one of the few producers that still vinifies the wine in the saignee method, bleeding the skins of the fruit until they get the optimum color, versus adding still red wine to white champagne. This allows for great aromatics and beautiful texture to the wine. In Champagne they say "rose makes the ladies eyes dance", and I cannot disagree!!


AT A GLANCE

Region: Champagne, Côte des Blancs
Winery Location: Mesnil-Sur-Oger
Winemaker: Philippe Charlemagne
Production:
10,000 cases
Winery Classification:
Domaine
Varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Winemaking: Stainless steel fermentation
Ageing: Reserve wine in oak barrels



De Meric

The heritage of Champagne De Meric dates back to 1843 when the Besserat family planted their first vines in Ay, in Pinot country, in the heart of the Valle de la Marne. In 1959, Christian Besserat, the fourth generation of the Besserat family, founded this Champagne house using his mother's family name. In the late 90's, the house was bought by an American named Daniel Ginsburg. Ginsburg was interested in De Meric because of their commitment to the traditional methods of Champagne. He missed the old style of Krug and Bolllinger, as most producers have now gone to stainless. Thus, he buys five-year-old barrels from Meursault for fermenting and ageing his wines. Each bottle is riddled by hand and the wine is aged on its lees for approximately four years. No malolactic fermentation, cold shock process or sterile filtration is used. Champagne De Meric's selection of only Grand Cru and Premier Cru grapes creates the foundation for the richness and delicacy that defines the house style. The blend is 80% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier.

 

AT A GLANCE

Region: Champagne
Winery Location:
Ay
Winemaker:
Besserat family
Production: 5000 cases
Winery Classification:
Negociant
Varietals:
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Winemaking: Fermentation in oak. Aged on its lees for approximately four years. No malolactic fermentation, cold shock process or sterile filtration is used.
Ageing: 50% in oak barrels, 50% stainless steel



Charles Ellner


Champagne Charles Ellner, in the heart of Epernay, is a family run house that manages 54 hectares of estate-farmed vineyards. The winery itself is located in downtown Epernay atop several miles of caves. Charles Emile Ellner, the founder of the House, began acquiring small vineyards in Epernay while he was at the start of his career as a professional "riddler". After a while, a champagne house was born! In addition to the work of cultivating his vines, his independent nature and his passion for wine led him to vinify, blend and sell his wines to private clientele. Charles Emile was admirably assisted by his only son, Pierre, whose energy and foresight helped the house acquire new vineyards and modern equipment. The house today is still a family business, and each of Pierre's four sons is responsible for a specific sector corresponding to his own particular interests and professional ability. Charles Ellner possesses more than 54 hectares of vineyards in 15 villages situated in the principal vinegrowing areas of Champagne. None of the reserve wine goes through malo-lactic fermentation, since their desire is to retains] freshness in the wine. As a result, they leave the wine on the lees for a minimum of four years to soften it and give it added complexity.

Cuvée de Reserve Brut NV (91pts WS)

Made from 40 % Pinot Noir and 60 % Chardonnay, the Cuvee de Riserve is their signature blend reflecting the Ellner house style. Developed through a lifetime of experience, the Ellner family creates this elegant wine every year with top quality

Rose Brut NV

This is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier. The rose is blended from estate-grown fruit matured in vineyards whose average vine-age is 30 years.

Cuvée Prestige 1998 (93pts WS)


This cuvée is 70 % of Chardonnay, aged in oak, and 30 % of Pinot Noir fermented in stainless steel. This blend has been vinified without malo-lactic fermentation.

Cuvée Seduction 1996 (95pts WS)

This cuvée consists of 40 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus vineyards in Avize and Chouilly, 37 % Chardonnay from Epernay and 23 % Pinot Noir. The entire blend is fermented in stainless and aged in oak barrels.


AT A GLANCE

Region: Champagne
Winery Location:
Epernay
Winemaker:
Ellner Family
Production: 50,000 cases
Winery Classification:
Negociant
Varietals:
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Winemaking: First fermentation in stainless steel
Ageing: Reserve wines in large oak barrels



Thierry Massin

Theirry Massin and his sister, Dominique, took over the family estate located in the Aube area in 1977. They bought some extra vines, and how have 12 hectares located in Ville-sur-Arce.

Their soild is mainly limestone mixed with gravel. They believe in "lutte naturelle" and practice "culture raisonnée". They work parcel by parcel, carefully, aerating the soil to get the best results. During harvest they practice stringent selection of the grapes: they pick the best and leave the rest!

Each pressing is adapted to the particular lot that comes in. They favour low-pressure pressing and gravity tank filling, so as not to stress the must. Each parcel is vinified separately. The blending is a family affair. The bottles are left in cellars for a minimum of 3 years.

AT A GLANCE

Region: Champagne, France
Winery Location:
Ville-Sur-Arce, France
Winemaker:
Thierry Massin
Production: 2500 cases
Winery Classification:
Grower
Varietals:
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Winemaking: minimal intervention
Ageing: Stainless steel and minimum 3 years in bottle

 

Le Brun Servenay

Le Brun is very small Chardonnay producer–3000 cases. Their vineyard is exceptionally located on the slope of the Cotes des Blancs. Most of the 45 parcels are located on the top of small slopes, which helps them get optimal sun contact. They block malolactic in the reserve wines, filter only once, and still do remuage by hand. The blend is 50% current vintage and 50% reserve wines from 4 previous years.

NV Brut Selection–90 WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GODME
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DE MERIC
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