Vilmart & Cie
Region: Montagne de Reims
Premier cru sites in Rilly-la-Montagne and Villers-Allerand
Total vineyard holdings: 11 hectares
Annual production: 8,500 cases
Vines: 60% chardonnay, 36% pinot noir, 4% pinot meunier
Vilmart & Cie (RILLY-LA-MONTAGNE)
“Vilmart & Cie. traces its history back to 1890, when it was founded by Désiré Vilmart, and from the beginning, Vilmart & Cie. has always been a récoltant-manipulant, making champagne exclusively from estate-owned vines. Since 1989 the estate has been in the hands of Laurent Champs, the fifth generation of the family to take the helm of the house.
The majority of Vilmart’s 11 hectares of vines lie in Rilly-la-Montagne, although there are a few plots just over the border in the neighboring village of Villers-Allerand. Vilmart is a member of Ampelos, an organization that promotes organic and sustainable viticulture, and Champs has never used any herbicides or chemical fertilizers since taking over the estate. All of the vineyards are planted with cover crops and plowed, and Champs enjoys an additional advantage in that his parcels are relatively large—only 12 different parcels over 11 hectares—meaning that he is more protected from contamination by chemical treatments in neighboring plots.
Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region.”
-Peter Liem, Champagneguide.net
In the early days when I first approached Vilmart and started working with Laurent Champs, I had mixed emotions about some of the Champagnes. Please note what “mixed emotions” actually means. It doesn’t mean I doubted the worthiness of the wines or thought they were mediocre. It means I had different opinions about different aspects of the wines. I was thrilled with some, intrigued with all, and wondered whether a couple were too oaky.
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