Vilmart Champagne

Champagne Vilmart is to be found in the sleepy hamlet of Rilly, on the slopes of the Montagne de Reims. Owned and meticulously run by Rene Champs and his winemaking son Laurent, the state comprises a mere 11 hectares of premier cru vineyards, planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.Despite its resistance to frost, Pinot Meunier is not planted here since it produces wines with too low an acidity level for long term ageing.

In the cellar the grapes are crushed in an old-fashioned vertical screw press (Coquard). The non-vintage Champagnes are fermented and aged for ten months in large oak foudres. The wines for the vintage Champagne, however, undergo fermentation and ageing in new and one/two-year 228 litres barriques, which are made of Allier oak. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are all fermented separately, an assemblage being made after the first fermentation. No filtration is carried out and the wines are cleared by fining with isinglass. After ten months stay in wood the wines are bottled and the secondary fermentation begins with the addition of the “prise de mousse”. After completion all the cuvees spend between 2-6 years ageing on their lees prior to remuage and subsequent degorgement.

“We do wine first, then afterward we do Champagne.”

Laurent Champs