FranceVisiting.com

The Best of France and nearby!

Our selection of Millesime Champagnes to celebrate anything at any time of the year!

13 min read

©

The notion of millesime in the Champagne area, such as also in wines, refers to the year in which the grapes were harvested and the production of the wine was launched. Although the indication of the related vintage is optional on the bottles’ labels, it is frequently used because it is an important guidance and can reveal many details about this dedicated year. Therefore, those millesimes or vintages would undoubtedly express the climatological conditions of that year, which could help you to follow the aging of those wines and eventually set the best time to open and taste them (cover photo credits: Champagne Mailly).

In another hand, your future millesime would also provide you information on the level of quality of this wine, and beyond the communication regarding the climatic conditions, some items may offer tell you more about winemaking techniques or specific universe, in relation to this year. We invite you here to discover some of them, in a chronological way. By Alex Plato & Alexis Lery


..versus some of the Grande Sendrée samples.
One of the starting miles of the domain..

Then, a good proof that time has been very effective with the fine product of the Grande Sendrée, edition 2010 imagined by the Champagne Drappier. Unless this domain is spread in the south of Reims, over 100 hectares of vines, divided between its old vines in the Côte des Bar and its intense Pinot Noir presence in the Montagne de Reims and its delicate Chardonnay as well in the Côte des Blancs, this Champagne Grande Sendrée 2010 comes from a set of plots based on limestone soils, called crayots, dating from the Kimmeridgian Jurassic era.

For your information, in 1836, these archipelagos of plots unfortunately underwent into a fire which ravaged the surrounding village of Urville. That’s why this special flamboyant cuvée takes its name from an original spelling error but that lead to a brilliant jewel revealing the expression of those old grape varieties and terroirs (photo credits: Drappier).

 

 
Such a view with an incredible relief!

Therefore, we invite you to discover this charming juice, conserved in a Louis XV-shaped bottle, born from vines cultivated in organic and sustainable viticulture, even cradled with good sunshine. As far as we know, this champagne continues the experimental homemade philosophy that already expressed with submarine cuvées (pictured upon) and here is the result of a blend between Pinot Noir (55%) and Chardonnay (45%) varieties. It is proposed with a low sugar dosage (5.5 g/litre) but a malolactic fermentation, allowing to age the contents over 7 years, with the  adding of a homemade speciality in terms of a dosage liqueur old of 15 years.

Once adopted, you should feel its fragrance, displaying a bewitching aromatic bouquet with velvety notes of honey, acacia and beeswax, before eventually revealing explicit flavors of candied red fruits and hawthorn, for a mineral final moment. This reference is recommended to be appreciated during an aperitif time, but also match with main dishes or even fine cheese, rather served at 8°C.

More information on the official website.


As you can, soil grassing can become floral between vines..

Still in the Côte des Bar, let’s get back to the brilliant juices from the Chassenay d’Arce cooperative… For instance, we are pleased to present you their amazing Millesime 2012 still in Blanc de Noirs form, a full Pinot Noir cuvée, as the identity grape of the Côte des Bar area, which finds its place in their Les Caractères range. As we have already in our article about this domain (read here), this is mainly cultivated under an organic viticulture, notably through soil grassing between the rows and around plots, in order to promote the development of biodiversity, fighting any kind of erosion and reduce risks of diseases (photo credits: Chassenay d’Arce).

In fact, this single-varietal champagne was vinified in thermoregulated stainless steel vats, and aged during 10 years on lees, with an expected sugar dosage of 5 g. Therefore, admire its frank and generous personality as offered through a balanced depth provided by the fertile terroir of the Arce valley, which gives to this nectar more tension and visible luminosity, thanks to a light golden color with slight amber reflections. Beneath its countless fine bubbles, you could feel at first sight its expressive and powerful fragrances of yellow fruits and white flowers, facing a certain maturity illustrated with mineral, smoky and marzipan notes.
On top of that and inside your palate, discover a frank and supple introduction, balanced with a fleshy and concentrated substance, recalling fresh notes of yellow fruits, pursued by this mineral and slightly woody finish.

 

At last, we advise you to serve this champagne under a temperature between 8 and 10°C, since this item may perfectly accompany your seasonal dishes such as cold meats, mushroom-based starters and any other types of simmered culinary preparations.


..between each row, harvests are done with class.
It looks like it would be the golden hour for some of you..

The 2015 year is renowned for having been much important in the emerging trend of winery’s millesimes, especially since most of their grapes reached a certain perfection. One good example would be naturally the millesime 2015 generated by the Champagne Gremillet, which has just been waking up from 5 years of peaceful resting on lees (photo credits: Gremillet). 

Following its illustrious Côte des Bar appellation, we may find here again the only presence of Pinot Noir variety, naturally leading to an authentic Blanc de Noirs champagne. This elixir is able to express all its character and invites you to discover a 2015 vintage cuvée, displaying multiple flavors. 

What a lovely arboretum to step inside!

Rich in maturity, this juice has been vinified using the best Pinot Noir grapes of the exploitation and only the first press of the harvest integrates the constitution of this champagne, endowed with well-developed and gourmet aromas. Adding to this, this ensemble has been completed by a selection of alcoholic fermentation at 16° and malolactic fermentation at 18° in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, before a minimum aging of 36 months. Without forgetting a typically brut dosage of 7 g/l with an expedition liqueur, made from wine (back from a circle). The result is a lovely shiny and luminous golden yellow robe, filled with fine and dynamic bubbles. Don’t miss its floral fragrance enhanced with ripe fruit, before conveying us to a round and well balanced taste, with a sustainable and lively final touch. Therefore, this champagne is ideal to appreciate, before 4 years, for an aperitif or for a dinner with regional dishes or a fruit cake.

Icing on the cake, don’t miss to visit (duration: 1h30) on last weekend of May, their arboretum (pictured nearby), accompanied by a tasting of 3 of their cuvées (price: 10€/person).

More information on their official website.


..whose landscapes look like a lot to Burgundy.
This Élégance 2015 cuvée has travelled to Romanée Conti..

Once again on the 2015 timeline, why don’t you have a look to the Marina D. champagne house? Here is another player established on the gracious slopes of the Marne Valley (read our article here about this area), near Dormans, more precisely in Vandières and Vincelles.

For your information, an Élégance millesime champagne is promoted by Marina D. conveyed by her initials and her sense of quality, from her 6 ha of vineyards, exploited under a High Environmental Value (HVE) process, since 2017. Therefore, this domain is part of the Sustainable Viticulture group in Champagne (VDC), with the goal to respect the environment, preserving biodiversity and reducing energy costs. estate with our own press (photo credits: Champagne Marina D.).

..their cuvées are dressed in a personalized capsules that change every year.
Unless some machines, in Champagne, harvests are necessarily manual..

For your information, Marina D. enjoys to develop her champagne with her own grapes, and wishes to mix different notions of terroir, tradition and innovation. In those terms, the team develops a wide line of original capsules to collect, this even lead to a collaboration with the designer Elena Viette who imagines dresses made with capsules. That’s why, by the way, a capsule exchange day would take place on June 18th, 2022.

We invite you to discover their wide range of champagne references, composed from the 3 main grape varieties, which are Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In the case of the Élégance 2015 cuvée, this champagne is a Blanc de Blancs, which is only made of Chardonnay. Harvested in 2015, those grapes offer a floral nose reviving scents of pear, cinnamon, clove and even fresh butter, able to provide a subtle complex taste, thanks to a moderate dosage and a dynamic effervescence, reinforced by a good length.

More information on their official website.


..for a great moment of pleasure with this 2016 souvenir.
A domain somehow built in heights..

Without forgetting the year 2016 conveyed here by a Grand Cru house, also reviewed in this article about this large Champagne domain, created in 1930, around the Montagne de Reims, exactly in Verzenay, a Grand Cru classified village. Thus, the structure of this millesime 2016 by Champagne Sabine Godmé has the talent to propose an expressive Extra-Brut (5 g/l) blend of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%), which have been harvested in the best plots  and aged for a minimum of 4 years in the property cellar. 

This 2016 vintage may be considered as a really expressive champagne that would easily stimulate your senses with its sensual appearance, letting raise an elegant bead of fine bubbles. After this passage validated, take some time to get into its wide open buttery and fruity scents of cooked apples and eventually apricot compote.

In Champagne region, a certain sense of aesthetics starts here..

In fact, this nectar would undoubtedly seduce you by the flexibility of its assets, supported by supple and balanced aromas of those previously cited white fruits but also an iodine aspect, before a long and crystalline final fireworks. All those elements are meant to highlight the inner characters of the premium Chardonnay grapes, to find in this wide Champagne area (photo credits: Champagne Godmé).

As you would have probably understood, this is a true gastronomic champagne, able to happily accompany your aperitifs and your hot shellfish starters, such as oysters, cockles and scallops.

More information on the official website.

..born in this territory, to admire from the sky.
Such a green mood for a casual outfit..

Still in this Grand Cru section (our full article here), we are glad to introduce again the Guy de Chassey domain, located in Louvois since 7 generations, again in the heart of the Montagne de Reims. In this village, the Queen Marie-Antoinette even stayed a couple of nights and now belongs to the 17 Grand Cru labelled villages. Recently, this family affair issued an Extra Brut champagne, also Blanc de Noirs, logically only composed of grapes of Pinot Noir Grand Cru, from the 2017 harvest (photo credits: Guy de Chassey).

This fresh edition has been ageing during 4 years, without any malolactic fermentation nor expedition liqueur but has been evolving thanks to a manual riddling, has been awarded with 2 stars in the Guide Hachette. From outside, admire a beautiful golden dress, this champagne benefits from no sugar addition, but nonetheless holds an expressive nose, carried by matured white fruits and a nice touch of candied citrus.

Then, this wine sensation is led by a nice tension of pretty aromatic notes (mandarin and lemon marmalade) with a more mineral finish. Therefore, the food pairing is perfect for all types of hot dishes and shellfish.

More information on the official website.

..related to the green assets of its original landscape.
Pinot Meunier just for you..

While pursuing on the chronological line, we as well recommend you this charming so-called ephemeral cuvée proposed by Champagne Charpentier. Nonetheless, located at the border of the Parisian geographic area and more exactly in Charly-sur-Marne, this inspired family affair always tends to experiment new trends, while always rediscovering its own vineyards, of course depending on the meteorologic conditions (photo credits: Champagne Charpentier).

Considering this territory as an inexhaustible source of inspiration, the team is called from time to time to produce ephemeral cuvées, with the goal to let anyone better understand those terroirs, as well as this house’s philosophy. Following this statement, the Champagne Charpentier has lately decided to unveil this year the best aromas of Pinot Meunier.
 
Here, the equation is simple since this is the unique grape variety employed in this amazing juice, and especially coming from Les Chauffours plot. Thus, this ensemble was manually harvested in 2017, in this specific plot which has been cultivated in biodynamics for 10 years.
 
This exclusive champagne is only limited to 3508 samples, this rarity makes it unmissable. Highlighted by a yellow golden dress, its airy foam is carried by fine creamy bubbles, before expressing random scents of yellow fruits, those are so typical to Pinot Meunier. This feeling may be pursued once swallowed, thanks to a dense but fresh palate, confirming those same aromas, encouraged by the unconventional circumstances of that related harvested year… On top of that, this singular taste also emanates from the inner naturalness given by the zero dosage here (no sugar added), leading to a certain fine wine, suitable to any occasion.
 
More information on their official website.
 

..in perfect connection with the inspired Champagne Mailly.
A flashback in time with the design of this bottle..

Then, shall we continue this tour with the Champagne Mailly? We already discovered their domain with an artistic cuvée (to read in this article), through its large 70ha of lands spread on the unique Grand Cru appellation, in the village of Mailly Champagne, in the heart of the Montagne de Reims. This time, we can notice that the creative spirit still remains in their projects, since here the originality mostly stands in two main points, the first fact features that this champagne belongs to the niche tribe to hold red juice..

Indeed, dressed in a brilliant ruby color, this Côteaux Champenois cuvée only wears the colors and aromas of Pinot Noir variety. The second notable point reminds us the geographic position of the plots, as 49°09’29’’ N – 4°06’29’’ E. This leads to more precision about this limited edition of only 2,920 bottles, which are all numbered and covered by a vintage and natural cork to remove with care (photo credits: Champagne Mailly).

A centenary cooperative reviving back in time..

For instance, this nectar is the consequence of a blend between two years of 2018 and 2019, manually and green harvested (delayed harvest) before berries being rigorously selected, from the sunniest plots of those wide vineyards. Completed by an alcoholic fermentation at 15°C in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, before being aged on slats in traditional chalk pits, both again in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and partly in barrels

Concretely, inhale its nose and don’t miss its logical aromas of raspberry and cherry, accompanied by subtle woody notes. It can translated by fresh, saline and velvet notes of red fruits, in order to combine some surprising finesse in your senses. In fact, this Côteaux Champenois happily accompanies traditional French hot dishes, or eventually premium cheeses.

 

More information on their official website.


..while others are ready for any kind of occasions.
Those items are getting matured for you..

We are here very pleased to introduce you this Rosé cuvée proposed by the Maison Gosset, that we already met the sister house Cognac Frapin. Therefore, this Grand Rosé is quite original since it comes from a majority of white grapes, through a subtle alliance of Chardonnay (56%) and Pinot Noir, authenticated as Grand Cru (35%), eventually underlined by the presence of red wine from Bouzy and Ambonnay (9%).

On top of that, we can find a certain presence of reserve wines (approximately aged about 2 years) that are able to ensure a real regularity to this rosé wine, while preserving the inner fruitiness and suppleness of this juice (photo credits: Gosset). 
 
Indeed, this pink wedding is visibly all set up in a true salmon robe, while being embellished with some ruby-cherry reflections. Apart from this, don’t miss its lookalike strawberry fragrance, in various conditions which is meant to be completed, with even some lactic hints recalling the youth of this wine.
 
Once in mouth, don’t miss the balanced and enveloping alloy of berries and once again strawberries, mostly distinguished by a fresh and sustainable length.
 
More information on their official website.

..and just extracted from those barrels.
Those organic bubbles are ready..

In other hand, we couldn’t pass through some champagne and spirits to enjoy this sparkling and joyful time of the year! That’s why, we send you some bubbles from the Côte des Bar appellation (that we have already covered in this article).

Starting with the Champagne Devaux house, founded in 1846, which is considered as one of the flagship cooperatives of this Aube department. For your information, most of their blends are composed of Pinot Noir grape variety but not only, since you also find some Blanc de Blancs editions. At this 2021 occasion, Devaux has just launched its first organic champagne, acclaiming the achievement of two decades of intense work on environmental issues. Therefore, the efforts of this ancestral house were concentrated within the biodiversity promotion, along the minimizing of carbon footprint. Three years after the launching in 2018 of the Coeur des Bar line as an ode to this Côte des Bar terroir, Devaux pursues its local incursion with the Coeur de Nature cuvée

With the goal to highlight the environmental commitment of the house, already achieved in terms of bio-sourced inks and varnishes, along recyclable FSC packaging and labels. The result is a certified organic champagne, mainly composed of Pinot Noir, expressing its delicious biscuit perfume. After a tonic and iodic introduction, let’s admire its mature and crunchy aromas of apricot, bergamot and dried flowers, while reminding a bit of fresh white flowers. Perfect to marry with foie-gras or grilled scallops (photo credits: Devaux). Recommended price: € 43

More information on the official website