Region: Côte des Blancs
Premier Cru Sites: Vertus
Grand Cru Sites: Oger, Les Mesnil-sur-Oger
Total Vineyard Holdings: 12 Ha
Annual Production: 10-20,000 bottles
Grape Varieties: 100% Chardonnay
Girard-Bonnet is a new estate, located in the Grand Cru village of Les Mesnil sur-Oger, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs. Owned by Paul Girard, a young and passionate vigneron (born 1995) connecting his father, Philippe Girard’s holdings in Les Mesnil, and his mother, Dominique Bonnet’s holdings in Oger. The twelve hectares of vineyard land is split almost evenly between these two revered Grand Crus. Paul returned home in 2018, after studying viticulture and enology in Avize, followed by a double master’s degree in Wine Management and Business in Bordeaux and immediately began work on this new project. Paul is committed to organic viticulture (certified in 2022) and is Demeter certifying his vineyards in 2023, having started the process four years ago. The vineyards and the soil health are the basis for the quality he produces.
After pressing, the must goes into either barrels or stainless steel for fermentation and élevage. The choice of fermentation vessel depends completely on the wine. Fermentation is with natural yeasts and during élevage, the wines are kept on the full lees, protecting them from oxidation. Paul checks and tastes the barrels constantly: “For me, I am not against sulfur, but, when your wine is on lees, you don’t need it. This is why I keep the wine in contact with the lees until five days before the bottling. I taste every barrel and every tank a lot. If the tank is taking the wrong direction, then I can give some SO2 and I can work with it. Every barrel, every tank is different, so you must work with this precision.”
As the wines stay in barrel for a long period without SO2, malolactic happens naturally, but not in every barrel. “For me, I like to wait for bottling, very late. Normally I bottle in the start of August. It is a good time for me.”
For now, the production at this address is small, as Paul invests and grows organically. Currently, he sells a majority of the fruit he farms, but production is growing each year in his new (finished 2023) cellar.
Paul’s first bottling, Mi-Chemin (“Halfway between my parents – My Path”), is a non-vintage wine; half Oger and half Les Mesnil, “just like me,” Paul says. The wine is excellent, matching the plush, florality and ripe fruit of Oger with the saline and rigid structure of Les Mesnil. Paul is experimenting, producing several non-vintage wines as well as a number of very exciting parcellaire wines from exceptional holdings in Les Mesnil & Oger. We are proud to introduce this rising star, forging his own path in the Côte.