Champagne R. Dumont & Fils

Champignol-lez-Mondeville (Aube)
Coteaux Champenois
Bernard Dumont

The Champagne house of the Dumont family is situated in Champignol-lez-Mondeville, a village in the southern Champagne region of the Aube, some 90 miles southeast of Reims and Epernay. Characterized by forested hills, streams and vineyards, it is a natural and reflective environment that has attracted people such as Saint Bernard (Clairvaux) and Renoir (Essoyes). The Dumonts have owned vineyards in this area for over two hundred years and today Bernard Dumont, along with his cousin and his nephew, work together to produce champagne exclusively from their own 22 hectares. The soils are a geological extension of those in Chablis, namely kimmeridgian chalky clay. The vineyard is planted with 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. As Bernard Dumont says with amusement, “we grow grapes on the same soils as the vine growers in the Chablis region. There, they produce white wine from white grapes and here we produce white wine from red grapes.”

The Dumonts farm bio-dynamically and are in conversion to organic certification.

Read Bernard’s comments in the Champagne Vintage Reports

Brut NV

The Dumont Brut NV is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. The grapes from their vineyard have qualities that seem less aggressive and more sumptuous than those from the northern districts. In addition, vinification of whole berries at low temperatures enhances this quality of soft elegance. The NV is a blend of vintages typically between two and five years old. It is aged for two years on the lees before disgorgement. Dosage is 7 grams.

Brut Rosé NV

The Dumont Brut Rosé is made exclusively from Pinot Noir. A selection is made in the vineyard from parcels that are particularly ripe and from bunches with deeply colored skins. Fermentation proceeds as with red wines but the wine is drawn off the skins after a day or so with the Dumonts looking carefully at the balance of extraction, color and tannin. This method, known as “saignée”, is a tricky art but one that can produce the most natural and delicately complex style of Rosé champagne. The Brut Rosé NV is aged for two years on the lees before disgorgement and dosage is 10 grams.

Brut Nature

Dumont’s Brut Nature is produced without a dosage or “liqueur d’expédition”. It is therefore without cover-up and must succeed quite naturally on its own qualities. In order to produce such a champagne, Dumont chooses wines that are perfectly balanced and pristine. The wine is a blend of 100% Pinot Noir from 3 vintages. The Brut Nature is matured 4+ years “sur lattes” before being disgorged. This serves to soften the acidity and enrich the palate. This cuvee wonderfully expresses the special terroir of the Dumont vineyard.

Douce Cuvee

The Douce Cuvée is a true Demi-Sec. It is produced from carefully chosen reserve wines which incorporate at least three vintages. The blend which is 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay is matured “sur lattes” for six years before being disgorged. The liqueur used for the dosage, “liqueur d’expédition” is taken from a special glass container of aged wine which has been blended with beet sugar, a local product of the champagne region. The maturing of the liqueur integrates the sweetness into the wine and adds to the balance and harmony of the Douce Cuvée. It is finished at 35 grams of sugar, the minimum for a demi-sec.

Solera Reserve

Dumont is one of the very few Champagne producers who produces a champagne using the solera method. Bernard Dumont has dedicated one stainless steel tank to the project which was first filled in 1991. He works exclusively with chardonnay for this cuvée and has been adding to the tank every year, making it at present, a blend of approximately 20 vintages. This solera system produced its first release in 2010. One of the most striking features of this champagne is the different effect created by producing a champagne from aged wine (the aging occurs after the first fermentation) followed by the typical duration of two years “sur lattes” as contrasted with a champagne produced from relatively young wines which are aged for a long time after the secondary fermentation and thus remain in contact with the lees “sur lattes” for an extended period. The dosage is 6 grams. Production is about 400 cases annually.

Cuvée Intense Extra Brut NV

Cuvée Intense is an homage to the rich history and traditions of the region of the Aube . It is a blend of 2/3rds Pinot Noir from two “lieu dit” vineyards “En Ville” and “Cote au Roi” and of 1/3 Chardonnay from the “lieu dit” vineyard “Voie Bertrand”. These historic vineyards abut the ancient Roman chapel in the village of Mondeville, originally the property of St Bernard’s Cistercian order of monks of Clairvaux. The wines spend 6 months on the lees in barrels made from staves from tress of the surrounding Clairvaux Forest. The wine is bottled without fining or filtering. It spends three years sur lattes and finished with a dosage of 3 g/L.

Brut Vintage

The vintage wines, which are a blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, are assembled and then matured “sur lattes” for five to six years before being disgorged. According to the characteristics of the vintage the dosage varies. This vintage 2010 has a dosage of 5 grams. Regard and attention to quality insures a vintage champagne that expresses the complexity and elegance that great champagne can achieve.

Blanc de Noir Vintage 2009

The Vintage Blanc de Noir is produced from three parcels: Moulin A Vent, En Ville and Cote Roi. Each parcel is fermented separately in stainless-steel tanks and the wines are selected because of their suitability for long maturation. The individual wines stay in tank “sur lie” for six months after which the “assemblage” is made. The bottling was done in May 2010 and the disgorgement in October of 2019, thus a bit more than nine years “sur lattes”. The dosage is 3g.

Coteaux Champenois "La Voie de Chanay" Rouge

The appellation “Coteaux Champenois” covers still wines in the Champagne zone of production. The Côtes de Bar has a long tradition of producing still wines and Bernard Dumont is doing some amazing things as he brings forward his family’s tradition. The Coteaux Champenois Rouge is produced from a single parcel named “La Voie de Chanay” which rises to 350 meters in altitude (the highest in Champagne) and is planted with old Pinot Noir vines. The grapes for the Coteaux Champenois are harvested late and are fermented whole cluster in stainless steel. The wine is kept “sur lies” for 10 months before being bottled without filtration. No SO2 is added throughout the process. Production 850 bottles

Coteaux Champenois Blanc de Noir, “Tailles de Pinot »

The appellation “Coteaux Champenois” covers still wines in the Champagne zone of production. The Côtes de Bar has a long tradition of producing still wines and Bernard Dumont is doing some amazing things as he brings forward his family’s tradition. The cuvée « Tailles de Pinot » is produced from a selection of rows in a few different parcels which are harvested late. The juice is taken exclusively from the second pressing, known as the “tailles”. The wine is fermented in stainless-steel tanks. It then goes through its malo-lactic fermentation and rests “sur lies” for 12 months. The wine is bottled without filtration, and no SO2 is added throughout the process. Production 999 bottles.


2012 was a difficult growing season; fraught with unpredictable weather. Yet, with careful attention and know-how, a vintage of grand results. Here are some first hand accounts of the 2012 year in the vines direct from our producers in Bordeaux, the Southwest, Champagne and Chablis.......

Marie Vincent-Rochet, Chateau du Grand Bos, Graves

The 2011/12 growing season had been particularly contrary : along the start of the season the vegetative cycle was quite disturbed by cold and rain ; in September it came to a close after a prolonged period of dryness.

Extrememe frosts in February, with temperatures decending to -10°C, and a very rainy spring, resulted in an uneven flowering. The growing season saw normal rainfall only until the 14th of July ; the second half of July, all of August and beginning of September had very little precipitation, except for isolated rains on July 26th and August 15th. This period of 8 or so weeks without rain in mid to late summer were favorable conditions for the maturation of the grapes. The harvest of Sauvignons gris and blanc on the 7th of September attest to that. It was necessary however to wait a bit longer for the reds to mature and choose a harvest date sufficiently late enough achieve the necessary technical and phenolic maturation, and at the same time avoid the first rains and the onset of harmful botrytis. This will be an impact on the quality of wines from this vintage at properties that were less vigilant during this period.

Harvesting required much attention and careful selection in the vines ; in the end the quality was very good, even though of fairly low yield. The whites should be of a comparable quality to 2011 with aromatic richness, roundness of texture and a lovely typicity of varieties. The red wines evidence a success that we dared not hope for ! The merlots are deeply colored, round, with beautiful scents of ripe fruits. The cabernets-sauvignons are also concentrated in color, with a nose of red fruits and notes of pepper.

In this vintage of all possible excesses, our chateaux Grand Bos achieved wines which are at once lush, aromatic and persistant, that will undoubtedly be approachable young but will also keep for many years.

Thus the 2012 growing season, which ended in a successful and happy harvest which will result in very good wines.

Mathieu Vieules, Domaine Philemon, Gaillac

In spite of a difficult growing year on a climactic level (a very cold winter, rainy spring), the health of the vines was exceptionally well maintained, thanks to sustained organic treatments in May and June.

Unlike 2011, the vines suffered less from drought in August and September due to plowing of the topsoil and important water reserves maintained in the soils. During the harvest in September, favorable weather conditions guaranteed a crop of good quality fruit.

The 2012 crop is one of very healthy and quite large berries in spite of a dry season, with good fruit on the palate and an appropriate concentration of tannins. Alcohol levels in the cellar average 13% (levels were 14% in 2010 and 2011).

Le Perlé 2012 is a blend of 3 Gallic varieties : 40%: Muscadelle, 40% Loin de L'oeil et 20% Mauzac, this last grape adding a bit more freshness and complexity. In the coming years, the percentage of Mauzac (now with new vines in production) will increase in the Perlé blend.

La Croix d'Azal 2012, remains as always very Braucol (red fruit, cassis and menthol, all characteristic of Fer Servadou), its evolution in the cellar following its usual course….

Young vines of Prunelard will be in production for the September 2014 harvest.

Bernard Dumont, Champagne Dumont Pere et Fils, Aube


I will always have a memory of this year of permanent contrast between unfortunate events and other truly happy ones.

During this campaign, our vineyards were subject to all possible aggressions : frost in winter then again in spring, a violent hail on the 7th of June, high winds, a poor fruit set in June, mildew, oidium.

Our long experience was put to a difficult test, and to see the grapes disappear in spite of our efforts was at times dispairing.

However, as have always done our predecessors before us, we must keep faith in Mother Nature. The sun returned at the start of August and stayed until harvest time, perfectly ripening the 2012 grapes. The crop, although of modest quantity, is a largely satifying one of exceptional quality, and worthy as a great Champagne vintage. The wines are limpid with lovely fruit notes, rich with a long finish, the result of good acidity. In March we will do the blending with the reserve wines of 2011, 2010 and 2009, to be bottled in May. Be ready, in five years time, to taste this rare vintage.

The other great satifaction of this vintage, is to have welcomed more than 7,000 visitors to the Domaine, participant in the "Route de Champagne en Fete", which passed through our village the first week of August: gastronomy, music, expositions, tastings……

Frederic Prain, Domaine d'Elise, Chablis
For the 2012 vintage, to be bottled in July 2013, it’s very early to give an opinion…..
All considering, this will be a very good vintage at Domaine d’ELISE because:
- the yields are the desirable level at 58HL/HA
- the quality is excellent
- very ripe (13° at the end of harvest)
- no blight at the Domaine, but at many a others (mildew and oidium)!!!
- No rot this year
Thus, "on paper" it is a very good vintage.
News in the vineyard :
In the spring of 2013 we will have completed a replanting program at the Domaine begun in 2004; over a course of 9 years we have replanted 5 out of our total 13 plus hectares, the final ½ hectare to be planted next month! This project entailed a double objective: one to preserve 8 ha of old vines of recognized quality ; the other objective to create an entirely new vineyard in keeping with techniques of a modern agriculture respecful of the environment.
I prefer to talk not about organic viticulture, but rather a return to the "traditional methods" ; as in the "scraping of the soil" (light ploughing) synonymous with abandoning chemical herbacides.
The new Chardonnay plants are of a variety better adapted to calcareous soils and produce small berries resistant to rot. The vines are pruned in the simple Guyot method (a single cane with 8/9 buds instead of two), the lowering of yields will permit, through concentration, an improvement in quality.
Once in place, this model vineyard will allow an even more advantagous expression of the terroir.
Harvest, vinification and bottling :
All good winemakers confirm: the vine makes the wine !
That is where the work is the most difficult. It lasts all year long and requires constant and repeated efforts.The art lies in timing, never being late, no matter what the weather, and then in good management of staff.
The harvest always takes place relatively late, of course taking into consideration the specifics of the Domaine : a high plateau, but of favorable orientation (south/southwest).
We pick our grapes when they are sufficiently ripe to be rich in sugar, but never so much as to compromise that freshness that typifies Chablis.
In the cellar the protocol will be to continue what we are doing.
For the Petit Chablis and the Chablis, the juice is carefully vinified in stainless steel vats and matured on their fine lees for nine months. I leave the wines as untouched as possible to retain their maximum freshness : a single racking , a fining in spring and a simple filtering at bottling.
For the Cuvée Galilée the grapes are the same as the Chablis, but vinification differs ; still in stainless steel but with a regular stirring of the lees. As for the 1er cru "Côte de Léchet" it is vinified entirely in barrel.
2011 : This vintage began with an extremely precocious development in spring, but could not hold its rythym once summer came.
Spring 2011 was absolutely magnificent, very hot and very dry. Some numbers : 5.2° above average in April, +3,5° in May and only 88 mm of rain over 5 months, a record! As a result bud burst commenced at the very beginning of April, and by the 23rd of May the vines were in full flower.
The emersion of the grapes was entirely beautifully magnificent but things then deteriorated : the months of July and August proved mediocre. The first signs of rot appeared the end of July : but deceptive signs!
So, not to panic, we got through it, approaching even the eternal "vintage of the century", with the return of the sun in early September. This allowed us, inspite of everything, to gather a beautiful and plentiful crop. The harvest took place over two weeks : between the 7th and 21st of September. I tried to spread out the concentrated part of the picking to happen over several days to get optimal quality. An effort in vain though : not enough sun!
However the grapes in the end reached a ripeness of 12° and the quality is overall good. So, by all accounts it is a correct vintage, even if, over the years, the demands on the winemaker have become insatiable!
2010 : A great year, I have not yet bottled it……so no use to talk about it for the moment !
Recent Vintages, in the cellar :
2011 : Following two very beautiful vintages, the fear of seeming deceptive in describing the 2011 is clear. Happily, for fans of the Domaine, the 2011s followed a carefree path in their evolution in the cellar. It’s a little bit the year of "neither….. nor" : neither very ripe, nor very racy ! But, one can’t always live in extremes ! These are pleasing wines of good typicity, ready to drink now while you wait for the magnificent 2012s!
In the wine guides :
The Domaine is listed (and very well noted!) in the two most important wine guides of France:
In England, the famous journalist Oz CLARKE classed my Petit Chablis in the 250 BEST WINES 2012 , I could not stay silent about this glorious title, England is our best market!
PETIT-CHABLIS 2011 : Very "sharp", citrus zest on nose, good acidity in the mouth, ending on a mineral note. Light and racy, it is ready now, to be drunk along this coming year. Try it with oysters!
CHABLIS 2011 : His big brother! Made from riper grapes, it is more structured, with more substance and "chew" ! It will become expressive at the beginning of 2013. Pair with shellfish or a delicately cindered chevre.
CHABLIS 2009 "Cuvée Galilée" : Great vintage ! It is the very reflection of my terroir, a wine of rocks ! Fine, taught and very mineral, it is vinified to be aged, unlike many other 2009 which are a bit flabby. Stirring the lees (bâtonnage in stainless steel vats), which is specific to this cuvée, enriched the wine and also prolonged its maturation process. It is a wine for connaisseurs.


Join Us For

Cork's 5th Annual Champagne Tasting

Six Grower Champagnes from

Wine Traditions

with Small Bites from

Cork Market's

Chef Jason Schreuder

Valentine's Day Menu & Grower Champagne Pairings

Black Truffle and Gruyere Gougeres

Champagne Bourdaire-Gallois, Brut NV (Based on 2009 Vintage)

Sauteed Scallop, shellfish custard, caviar, salade de chou

Champagne Bourdaire-Gallois, Blanc de Blanc

Duck Rillette, house-made potato chips, champagne grape jam

Champagne Perseval-Farge, C. De pinot Brut

Lobster Mushroom Risotto, quail egg, Parmesan crisp

R. Dumont & Fils, Grand Millesime 1998

Whole Herb Roasted Sea Bass, Peekytoe crab, citrus hollandaise

Thierry Triolet, Grande Reserve NV

Genoise with passion fruit and raspberry, wild berry sorbet, crispy coconut meringue

R. Dumont & Fils, Douce Cuvee


Cork Market & Tasting Room

1805 14th Street, NW


Saturday, February 14th, 2015

7:00PM - 9:00PM

$90 (exclusive of tax & gratuity)
Space is limited to 26 people so please RSVP by February 12th to

Guests must be 21 or over to attend, Please bring Picture ID

These Champagne's are small production and are not widely available. A selection of these wines will be reserved for tasting guests only to purchase at a discount at Cork Market.

We look forward to seeing you soon at Cork!

Diane & Khalid
Cork Wine Bar
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Join Us For Valentine's Day
at Cork Wine Bar

Select Reservations Available
February 14
Enjoy Special Menu Items PLUS Cork's Regular Meant!!
Cork Executive Chef Jason Schreuder
Enjoy The Largest Collection of Grower Champagne in DC

Hamachi Crudo, pickled chili, endive, scallion oil
Lobster Saffron Risotto
Asian Scented Beef Pot de Feu, winter vegetables for two
Whole Herb & Citrus Roasted Durade for two
Make Your Reservations Now at or Call
Cork Wine Bar 202-265-2675
Cork Market's 7th Annual Champagne Dinner

Chilling the #champagne for our afternoon #winetasting. Stop by the Market (2-4) for a sparkling tasting galore. #NewYearsEve #corkdc
Six Champagnes from
Wine Traditions
paired with
Cork Market's New Chef
Ian Morrison's
6 Course
Tasting Menu
We have selected a wonderful group of Champagnes produced by small growers throughout Champagne. Ed and Barbara from Wine Traditions will be on hand to talk about the producers. These unique sparklers are wonderful accompaniments to food and represent some of the best wines of Champagne.
This year the dinner will include all single varietal wines

Truffled Gougeres
R. Dumont et Fils, Brut Nature Non Dosé

Crispy Duck Fat Fried Potatoes, quail egg salad, mache
Perseval-Farge, "La Pucelle", 1
er Cru Brut Non Dos
Almond Crusted Grouper, melted leeks, lemon creme fraiche
Thierry Triolet, "Vieille Vigne" 2011

Asian Scented Pot Au Feu, winter vegetables
Jose Michel, Brut NV "Pinot Meunier"

Lobster Risotto, saffron, parmesan crisp, lemon beurre blanc
R. Dumont et Fils, Brut Blanc de Noir 2006

Hazelnut Cake with Hazelnut Citrus Mousse, wine macerated red grapes, red wine reduction
R. Dumont et Fils, Brut Rosé NV
This tasting is $100 (exclusive of tax & gratuity) & attendance will be limited to 26 people to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of our guests.
Cork Market & Tasting Room
1805 14th Street, NW
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
7:00PM - 9:00PM
Space is limited so please RSVP by February 13th to
Guests must be 21 or over to attend, Please bring Picture ID
These Champagne's are small production and are not widely available. A selection of these wines will be reserved for tasting guests only to purchase at a discount at Cork Market.

R. Dumont & Fils

By Josh Raynolds

2005 R. Dumont et Fils Millesime Brut

($53) (60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir): Vivid yellow. Smoky orchard fruits and chamomile on the musky, perfumed nose. Fleshy pear and Meyer lemon flavors tighten up in the mid-palate, picking up bitter quinine and dried fig qualities. Shows very good energy and lift on the finish, which leaves smoky mineral and brown butter notes behind. The smooth interplay of richness and vivacity will make this a very flexible Champagne at the table.

90 Points

1998 R. Dumont et Fils Blanc de Noirs Grand Millesime Brut

($85) Bright gold. Smoky aromas of poached pear, yellow plum, cherry pit and orange pith, with a subtle floral overtone. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering nutty dried orchard fruit flavors and suggestions of buttered toast and musky rhubarb. Closes spicy and long, with a touch of candied fig and lingering spiciness.

91 Points

Jose Michel et Fils

By Josh Raynolds

2005 Jose Michel et Fils Brut Special Club 6 pack

($75) (a 50/50 blend of chardonnay and pinot meunier, all from the estate's oldest vines): Bright yellow. Smoky, penetrating orchard fruit and cherry pit scents are complicated by notes of truffle, chalky minerals and fresh flowers. Powerful yet lithe on the palate, offering refreshingly bitter pear skin and fresh fig flavors and a brighter suggestion of orange that gains in strength with air. Finishes on a toasty note, with lingering florality and excellent persistence.

92 points


By Josh Raynolds

2000 Perseval-Farge Millesime Premier Cru Brut

($79) (made from 60% chardonnay, 30% pinot noir and 10% pinot meunier): Vivid yellow. Spicy apple and peach aromas are complemented by deeper notes of buttered toast and anise. Chewy orchard fruit flavors are braced by a touch of bitter orange pith, showing very good focus. Picks up a nutty quality on the lingering, toasty finish.

91 Points

Wine Traditions imports these and The Vine Collective, distributes them in NY and NJ.

Grape Varieties


Disgorgement Date

Triolet Brut

70% Chardonnay / 30% Pinot Noir

60% 2011 / 40% 2010

2-3 months before sale

Triolet Grande Reserve

100% Chardonnay

50% 2010 / 50% 2009

2-3 months before sale

Triolet Vieilles Vignes

100% Chardonnay


2-3 months before sale

Triolet Rose

60% Chardonnay / 25% Pinot Noir

Chardonnay 60% 2010/ 25% Pinot Noir 2010

2-3 months before sale

15% Red Blend (60% Pinot Noir + 40% Pinot Meunier)

Red Blend 2010

Jose Michel Brut

70% Pinot Meunier / 30% Chardonnay

Base wine 2010+ Reserve wine 2009

2-3 months before sale

Jose Michel Brut Pinot Meunier

100% Pinot Meunier


2-3 months before sale

Jose Michel Blanc de Blanc

100% Chardonnay


4-6 months before sale

Jose Michel Special Club

50% Pinot Meunier / 50% Chardonnay


4-6 months before sale

vines are 70 years +

R. Dumont & Fils Brut Tradition

90% Pinot Noir/ 10% Chardonnay

Base wine 2010 + Reserve Wine 2009,2008

3-4 months before the sale

2007 and 5% Pinot Noir Solera

R. Dumont & Fils Solera Reserve

100% Chardonnay

120 hectoliter cuve begun in 1991

Spring 2013

wine drawn from tank May 2011

R. Dumont & Fils Vintage 2005

60% Pinot Noir / 40% Chardonnay


5-6 years sur lattes / January 2013

R. Dumont & Fils Vintage 1998

100% Pinot Noir


12 years sur lattes / October 2012

R. Dumont & Fils Brut Nature

80% Pinot Noir / 20% Chardonnay

Base wine 2006 + 40% Reserve wines

6 years sur lattes / January 2013

R. Dumont & Fils Douce Cuvee

90% Pinot Noir/ 10% Chardonnay

Base wine 2006 + 30% Reserve wines

6 years sur lattes / january 2013

R. Dumont & Fils Brut Rose

100% Pinot Noir


4 months before sale

Bourdaire-Gallois Brut NV

100% Pinot Meunier

Base wine 2010 + 20% 2009

3+ yrs sur lattes / 6 to 12 mos before sale

Bourdaire-Gallois Prestige

40% Pinot Meunier / 20% Pinot Noir/ 40% Chardonnay

PM and PN 2008 / CH 50-08 + 50-07

4+ yrs sur lattes / 6 to 12 mos before sale

Perseval-Farge C. de Pinots

55% Pinot Noir / 45% Pinot Meunier

35% 2008, 25% 2007, 33% 2006, 7% 2004

4+ yrs sur lattes / 6 to 12 mos before sale

Perseval-Farge Terre de Sables

A third each Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay

50% 2006, 50% Blend 2007, 2004 2001

4+ yrs sur lattes / 6 to 12 mos before sale

Perseval-Farge Vintage 2000

60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier


10+ yrs sur lattes

Region: Champagne

Champagne, at first glance, seems easy to understand. It is after all the most popularized and recognized wine in the world. It has been endorsed by Napoleon, Churchill and Warhol (it’s the “war” theme). However, once the fizz of gaiety evaporates and the veil of simplicity is pulled back, Champagne reveals a region with a fascinating history that has for centuries fastidiously cultivated a complex wine appellation. It is an appellation governed by complicated regulations that touch all aspects of production, a classification system of villages that sets grape prices and a myriad of styles including: wines of a single vintage, of blended vintages, of a single grape variety, of blended varieties; all of which can have different levels of dosage ranging from Extra Brut to Doux. Dare I mention content measurement? How did a 15 Liter bottle of Champagne come to be associated with Nebuchadnezzar?

The Romans gave this region its name. I suspect that these explorers had already dipped into the “local water” before naming it Campagna in memory of the area around Mount Vesuvius. Perhaps in contrast to the vast plains that flank the region to the west the geological undulations of Champagne appeared to be a similar wonder of nature. The region’s boundaries are basically unchanged since the 15th century and the “champagne viticole” (vineyard area) today spans five “départments” , the vast majority of them located in the Marne and the Aube. The vineyards cover approximately 30,400 hectares, although this area has recently been expanded. Most of the vineyards fall into the following broad areas: Vallée de la Marne, Côte de Sézanne, Côte de Blancs, Montagne de Reims and the Côte de Bar. A complete and more precise categorization divides the vineyards into twenty regions and is explained in the wonderful book Grand Atlas des Vignobles de France.

Champagne became an important center in France after Hugh Capet was crowned in Reims Cathedral in 987. Kings were crowned in the Cathedral for the following eight centuries and during this period considerable grants were given to the local monasteries which in turn became centers of winemaking until the revolution in 1798.

Until the 17th century the wines of Champagne were labeled according to small geographic regions such as vins de la Montagne or vins de la Riviere or more specifically by village or place names such as Bouzy, Verzenay, Ay and the Abbey of Hautvilliers. These wines were predominantly made from red grapes, their color compared to an onion skin or the eye of a partridge and they were gently effervescent or not. As fashion changed, so did the style of the wines to the extent that the producers could control it. The style of Champagne that we know today began in the 19th century and continues to evolve. The biggest change in the last twenty years is the increase of small scale recoltant-manipulant, “RM” producers. These estate bottled champagnes offer a remarkable diversity of expression resulting from the different philosophies of the independent producers and the more specific terroirs with which they work. These more personal expressions of champagne stand in stark contrast to the large negociant manipulant, “NM” producers who blend wines from hundreds of villages and often produce Champagne with a calculated uniformity.