We’ve worked hard to access many great producers from across the width and breadth of Champagne. In doing so, we’re able to demonstrate just how diverse this region can be.
This case, focussing solely on Chardonnay, takes you on a journey from Montagne de Reims in the north, through the Côte des Blancs and Montgueux, right the way down to the southerly Aube. Discover the subtleties of each individual terroir through six of our favourite examples of this venerable grape variety, each as delicious as the next, but all delightfully unique.
We start our journey in the heart of the Champagne region, just a few kilometers east of the capital, Epernay, in the village of Chouilly. A Grand Cru village, it sits at the very top of the Côte des Blancs and is renowned for its creamy, rich wines that age beautifully. This is one of three wines, created from the same pure 2012 Chardonnay, but with differing levels of sugar. This is the driest of all three – steely and bracing! It's monstrously fresh and youthful and there is this impressive mid to late with a gushing amount of lemon pith and lime.
Remaining in the Côte des Blancs, this time it’s a blend of three spectacular villages; Mesnil sur Oger (one of my personal favourites), Chouilly and Oiry. You can’t get a better blend than that! The wine shows a delicious expression of crisp green apple and lemon alongside brioche, honey and butter.
A couple of hours south from here sits the beautiful village of Montgueux, just north of the village of Troyes, in the last outcrop of chalk this side of Champagne. It is a magical spot to view from the south, with a perfect south-easterly aspect to capture all that delightful morning and early afternoon sun! Helene Beaugrand has created a wonderful wine in Cuvée Gustave; a rich, vinous and engaging Champagne, with sweet vanilla undertones gained from 18 months in oak. On a side note, Helene’s family were the first to plant vineyards in the village back in the 1920s.
Leaving classic Blanc de Blancs terroir behind we head north to Petite Montagne de Reims to explore a different side to Chardonnay. This is a deliciously chewy, rich and toasty style – it flirts with oxidation yet is so exotic and ripe. The level of richness is beyond anything and makes for a wonderful contrast to the crisp, steely character so famous in Champagne.
Heading west through the forests we enter the Montagne de Reims proper and the village of Villers Marmery. Famous in the region for Chardonnay, this village creates beautiful fruit that you just don’t find anywhere else, and none does it better than Henriet Bazin, with their amazing Marie-Amelie 2012. Made from three different vineyards and vinified in steel, it is a precise and juicy, chalky bomb of a wine with an amazing drive and finish.
We finish our journey in the very far south of Champagne. This exciting wine comes from the much lauded vineyard of Presle in the village of Celles sur Ource (made famous by Cedric Bouchard). The nose is precise, vinous and serious, with notes of orange peel and delicious creamy texture. There is a nice delicate layer of salinity which captures you on the mid to late. Succulent, elegant and refined.