All of our growers are extremely dedicated to the art of champagne making. We have personally met all of the growers whose products we stock; they are all exceptionally proud of the heritage of the family name on their bottles.
Vincent Drouilly took over caring for the vines and producing champagne from his grandfather in 1996. A trained vinologue, he has learned the true art of champagne production. Today he cultivates around 8ha of vines and is one of our smallest growers. In recent years Vincent has become a supporter of “viticulture raisonée”, eliminating chemical treatment of the vines and the soil to work in harmony with the environment. His vines stretch over the beautiful hillsides of Noë-les-Mallets, producing exceptional champagnes such as the Cuvée Traditionelle and Cuvée Angeline, named after his grandmother.
Drouilly's champagnes are aged in oak barrels to give them a depth and richness which is hard to match. Perhaps this is why he has done so well, receiving numerous awards for his champagnes.
To try Vincent's fabulous ***Brut Tradition champagnes, see below:
Morel Père et Fils
Pascal Morel is the emblem of the modern champagne world, having modernised his facilities in 2005 to optimise production. Pascal is the 5th generation to work the vines, having taken over from his grandparents. He is an expert blender, holding seminars for students, tourists and wine lovers to uncover the art of mastering the perfect champagne. Pascal and his family are immensely proud of their heritage and as such have a wonderful collection of champagnes from many generations, some over 30 years old.
Morel's vines can be found in and around the beautful village of Les Riceys in the Cote des Bars. Les Riceys houses the largest area of vines at 866 ha. It is also the only place in Champagne to have 3 appellations: Champagne, Rosé des Riceys and Coteaux Champenois. Rosé des Riceys is a still rosé champagne made from the Pinot Noir grape and left to macerate for longer. Morel has won numerous awards for his. The Coteaux Champenois is a deep still, red wine from the same grape variety. This tends to be made from grapes on the steepest hillsides, exposed to the most sun to give the depth of flavour required for a still red wine.
To try Morel's fantastic champagnes, take a look:
The epitome of a true champagne-producing family, the Chevrolats split the work between Michel who oversees the whole production process from vine to bottle, and Nathalie who looks after the paperwork, logistics, branding, tastings and showing people around their beautiful 18th Century cellars. They take pride in maintaining great consistency with their champagnes by keeping only the best reserve wines from each year to use for blending in less successful years. Their passion for viticulture raisonée means that they keep their use of fertilisers and pesticides to an absolute minimum. They cultivate around 7ha of vines in the heart of Les Riceys, a village very close to our hearts here at Real Champagne.
The champagnes are left to perform the second fermentation in Chevrolat's wonderful 18th Century cellars. The perfect condition for a perfect champagne.
The house style is light and refreshing champagnes. The reserve is apple-y and the rosé tastes of red berries with a gorgeous pink colouring.
Try them out today:
Vivien Lamoureux is the amiable young man who with his father Jean-Jacques keeps alive a tradition that has seen the Lamoureux family branch out into several different houses. Vivien was generous with his time when we visited, even showing us the production facility where desgorgement was well underway in a smooth operation controlled by two expert workers. A stand-out aspect of the house is their extensive use of the Pinot Meunier grape variety, which lends a distinct richness to their non-vintage champagnes.
He cultivates 12 ha of vines, 9 ha around Les Riceys and 3 ha around Channes. He is also somewhat of an expert on the infamous Rosé des Riceys, receiving much publicity. The family are very respectful of their champagne roots and they have a statue of St Vincent carved into their house - he was the patron saint of wine growers. They also named one of their vintages after him. It must have worked as it is a pure delight to drink.
For more information on Vivien's champagnes, see below:
Rémy Massin created his own label in 1974 although his great-grandfather Louis Aristide Massin was the one who planted the first vines in the 1800s. These days, Rémy’s son Sylvère is the expert blender while his own son Cédric cultivates the 20 hectares at their disposal around the fabulous, sun-bathed village of Ville-sur-Arce. Sylvère makes use of thermo-regulated vats which allow for good control of the fermentation process and especially great preservation of the all-important aromas of his wines. The Cuvée Louis-Aristide is the perfect homage to his pioneer great-grandfather, with 12 years’ worth of reserve wines producing a wine of great character and complexity. Sylvère's wife Carole creates beautiful and unique bottle painting designs and also runs the administrative side of the business.
The Cote des Bar region is mostly made up of marl, which is soil consisting of clay and lime. It used to be used as fertiliser. The soil is like a clay/limestone structure which provides excellent nutrition to the roots of the vines. The vines face South, South East and East to get as much exposure to the sun as possible, which may explain their multi-award-winning champagnes. Take a look for yourself:
One of the best known houses in this part of the Champagne region and the largest of our suppliers, Drappier became famous for being Charles De Gaulle’s favorite label. Founded in 1808, the house, in Urville, Cote des Bar, is built around cellars which date back to the 12th century when Saint Bernard had an annex to Clairvaux Abbey built in Urville. Michel Drappier has now managed a vineyard of some 55 hectares since 1980, when he took over the main duties from his father André, who still loves to make small-talk with guests while they are taking in the luxurious cosiness of the tasting room. Michel’s grandfather is credited with first planting Pinot Noir in the region, to much derision from his contemporaries, but which now constitutes the dominant grape variety in the Aube area. The house takes great pride in its natural cultivation techniques, which include minimising the use of sulphur and using organic fertilisers.
The Drappier house has deep cellars dating back to 1988, cut out of the Reims limestone, where it houses its most prestigious cuvées. The vines belonging to the Drappier house are not considered mere possessions, rather a family legacy handed down from generation to generation by highly skilled craftsmen. Drappier's secret is to plant vines in lots of different locations, to benefit from multiple exposure. Their champagnes are truly something else and despite not quite fitting with our "grower-producer" philosophy, we couldn't possible leave them out. Their champagnes are pure, unperturbed and the terroir really shows through. See for yourself:
Like many of our growers, La Maison du Champagne de Pierre Brocard is steeped in history. The Brocard family descenced from an Irish family called Kennedy. They have been winegrowers since the 11th Century. Pierre is very proud to show off the family photo on his website, which includes his Grandfather, Georges, who started his first commercial Champagne house in 1932. Pierre’s own father, Henri, then took over the running of the house and taught Pierre everything he knew to ensure the future success of the house – and it certainly is successful. Pierre now works with his son Thibault who is studying to be an oenologue, as well as a small army of seasonal workers during the Vendange. At the end of a back-breaking day in mid-harvest, they eat, drink and laugh together in the garage like one big happy family.
From the quaint village of Celles-sur-Ource, Brocard combines old and new production techniques to retain as much history as possible, yet ensure yields are sufficient. He is very much in favour of letting nature work it’s magic and as such he only treats his vines 5 times over the year rather than the usual 8-10. He has a marvellous old Coquard vertical press, which does 5 rounds of pressings to ensure as much juice as possible is extracted. Usually these are used as display pieces so it was great to see one still operational.
Over the last few years, Pierre has brought all of his production, commercial and family facilities together in the same place for greater efficiency. He didn’t forget space for his impressive vintage car memorabilia – a subject close to Pierre’s heart.
Brocard's champagnes have a powerful, yet fruity flavour. They are light and refreshing, perfect for aperitifs:
Just inside the small village of Buxeuil can be found a wonderful house belonging to Pascal Leblond-Lenoir and his family. Run by Pascal and his two children Claire and Julien, the house differentiates itself from other growers in the region by using Pinot Blanc as part of it's assemblages. They now have a 100% Pinot Blanc champagne called Desir de Matthieu (named after the 2nd son/brother, Matthieu). The grape brings a wonderful pale golden hue to this champagne and sits beautifully in between the structure of Pinot Noir and the elegance of Chardonnay. Claire looks after the labelling of the champagnes, all but two of which are done by hand. She also looks after the packaging and commercialisation of the champagnes, lovingly created by her father and her brother.
The Leblond-Lenoir family vines are spread between Dijon and Troyes covering around 12 ha. An exciting addition to our range, we hope to offer more of their award-winning cuvées in the near future.
Jean-Jacques & Sebastien Royer
A quaint little house in Landreville run by Jean-Jacques and Catherine Royer, started in 1974. For a seemingly small operation, they have efficiency down to a tee. Very much promoting traditional and environmentally-friendly techniques, they still do the “remuage” of some 18,000 bottles a year by hand – a painstaking task of turning and tilting bottles to encourage the sediment to fall to the neck.
Nothing is wasted here. Any waste from the pressings is sold to merchants and distillers. In terms of assemblages, Jean-Jacques, a trained oenologue, along with his son, take pride in their skills here. They are fiercely determined to keep their champagnes distinct and different from others and as such do not employ a local oenologue to help as the tastes may become too “similar” to others in the region.
Royer uses a technique called l’enherbement, which means separating the vines with a layer of grass to keep the soil together and prevent it from being washed away in heavy rain, as well as to protect vines from disease. This year is their 8th harvest with no insecticide, an impressive claim. They also protect the vines from the most severe frosts, with pipes attached to each row. These pipes take water from the Marne, which freezes when temperatures are below 0 and protects the new buds from frost damage. As temperatures rise, these pipes also serve to water the vines, although care has to be taken not to flood the soil.
We were charmed by Jean-Jacques and Catherine. They consulted us on a new label design they were trying for the Cuvée Catherine, our favourite of their gamme.
Try their multi-award-winning Cuvée Catherine.
From the tiny, yet quite busy village of Meurville, not far from the Drappier household, Christian Etienne used to be part of a joint-family champagne operation consisting of the Etienne and Soret families. In 1985, one of the brothers, Christian, decided to set up in Meurville at the foot of rolling hills full of vines. The lady of the house, Anne, manages the office and looks after the family's 6 children, while her husband Christian produces and creates new and exciting champagnes. Christian is one of few vignobles who uses oak barrels to age the still wines before they are bottled. This gives them a delightful intensity and ensures they stand out!
Try their Prestige
From the same village as the Etienne's, we came across this little house by chance. An emergency gite-swap introduced us to Fabrice and his mother Marilyne. Spanning 8 generations, the house is now mainly run by the widowed Marilyne who courageously continued with the business after the death of her husband in 1999. She actually deals with the tourism side of things, running various gites, a campsite and looking after her new grandson when she gets a chance. One of her four sons, Fabrice looks after the champagne side with his brother. Fabrice is a Doctor of philosophy and as such, oozes passion to look into things in more detail. This is one reason why he ages all of his champagnes for a minimum of 5 years before disgorging, as he believes that young champagnes are not as good in quality. He is also the key driver behind the house's 10 cuvees, which is almost unheard of. A welcome addition to the Real Champagne clan, you must try the Elixir Extra Dry (which is actually sweeter than a Brut)!