France: Champagne

Around Reims

The city of Reims and the Montagne de Reims
By Tom Stevenson and Michael Edwards

This Guide was last updated on 25 June 2010
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Wine Travel Guide: France, Champagne, Around-Reims

Barrels used for fermentation of the top base wines at Vilmart

Champagne Vilmart et Cie

Address: 5 Rue des Gravières, 51500 Rilly la Montagne
Tel: 03 26 03 40 01 
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 49:9:52N (49.16450)    Longitude: 4:2:31E (4.04188) 

Unusually for the northern Montagne de Reims, 60% of the grapes cultivated by Vilmart are Chardonnay. As a récoltant-manipulant Vilmart produces Champagne exclusively from its own domaine. Often referred to as ‘the growers’ Krug’, Vilmart vinifies entirely in oak, but unlike Krug, much of it is new, none of it very old and some of it includes 5,000 litre foudres (for non-vintage cuvées only), although all the top wines are vinified in 225 litre Burgundian pièces. Biodynamically cultivated since the 1980s, this estate is a model of eco-friendly viticulture. The best wines are the top-of-the-range, vintage-dated Grand Cellier d'Or (currently 2005) and the exceptional Coeur de Cuvée (currently 2001): oak-fermented, these are tremendously complex Champagnes that show concentrated fruit in their youth, but mature like very rich, white Burgundies and deserve keeping for 10 years.

Useful information: Appointment essential, English spoken.


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