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Vilmart et Cie "Grand Cellier Brut" NV
- Great Domaines
- Vinous Media
- Wine Spectator
all ratings out of 100 points.
"Vilmart’s NV Cuvée Grand Cellier bristles with all the energy that makes the Vilmart Champagnes so compelling. Crushed rocks, lemon peel, white flowers, mint and dried flowers are all crystalline and finely cut. Medium in body, fresh and pulsating in its feel, the Grand Cellier is another winner from Vilmart. This release is based on 2014, with 50% reserve wines from 2013 and 2012." - Antonio Galloni, vinousmedia.com
70% Chardonnay / 30% Pinot Noir
2018 - 2028
Large used foudres for 10 months
Vineyards & vinification:
Organically cultivated grapes, produced from vines aged between 35 and 60 years.
Located in the heart of the Montagne de Reims, a few kilometres south of Reims in the village of Rilly la Montagne, Vilmart was established in the 1890s by Désiré Vilmart. What started as a small and humble property has evolved into the gold standard for grower Champagnes - producers that do not sell grapes to the Champagne houses, but rather produce and bottle their own. A true perfectionist, Laurent Champs (Désiré’s great-great-grandson) is meticulous in his direction over the entire process of making their grower Champagnes.
The area is spread over 11 hectares, 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The average age of these vines varies from 35 - 50 years, reflected in the quality of his finest Vintage Champagnes. Almost all of these are located in the village of Rilly-la-Montagne, with parcels in some of the best sites: Blanches Voies, Grèves and La Haie Barbette.
Since 1989, in the pursuit of exceptional quality, the estate applies natural biological methods to fight pests by avoiding chemical fertilisers and herbicides. Even tilling of the vineyards is done using a hand hoe!
Vilmart produces five Champagnes, the highlights of which are the Vintage Grand Cellier d’Or and Cœur de Cuvée. The Grand Cellier d’Or is made almost exclusively from the Blanches Voies vineyard (Chardonnay), with just a touch of Pinot Noir from its adjacent siblings. Skipping malolactic fermentation and spending 10 months in smaller French barriques, gives a full, buttery roundness to the wine, but maintaining a crisp and fresh minerality.
Traditionally in Champagne, the “cuvée” refers to the first 2050 litres pressed out of four tons of grapes. This is seen as the maximum yield of prime juice. What follows is known as the tail and is believed to impart harsher qualities to the wine. Vilmart’s Cœur de Cuvée uses just the first 1400 litres - literally the “heart of the cuvée,” using grapes from 55 year-old vines, their oldest. Also devoid of any malolactic fermentation and oaked in French barriques for 10 months, the result is an elegant, complex and subtle wine - that still maintains its freshness.
Once bottled, wines are then aged for 3-4 years for non-vintage and 5-7 years for vintage. This is followed by riddling, disgorging to extract the deposit in the neck of the bottle. Once ready, they are an explosion of flavours on the palate, and delightfully aromatic - one of the purest, most cult offerings in all of Champagne.