Champagne Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier Brut Premier Cru NV
Champagne Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier Brut Premier Cru NV For over a century, Vilmart & Cie has produced simply exceptional Champagne – if you don’t know these wines… now is certainly the time!
Flavor Profile: Toasty nose of hazelnuts and brioche, orchard fruits, mandarin oranges, cherries, lavender, pink peppercorn
Time on Lees: 36 months
Disgorgement Date: March 2020
Dosage: 8 grams per liter
Farming Method: Sustainable Practices
Why We Love It...
We don’t get to talk about this enough, but certain Champagnes really are just so much more complex, more carefully integrated, and more thought-provokingly delicious after a couple years “on the cork” post-disgorgement. We snagged access to a parcel of Vilmart disgorged in March of 2020 – when the world was falling apart, remember? – but my oh my, how perfect this is showing here and now!
Rhetorically, I must ask… is there a more consistent go-to for fine Grower Champagne than Vilmart? This wine resonates a chord so absolutely above its price range, it boggles the mind. I’ve been a super-fan for years, along with many of my most cherished, and hard-core, bubble monster friends. Plenty of critics are diehard lovers of all things Vilmart as well, from Vinous’ Antonio Galloni, to the revered Champagne expert, Peter Liem – who had this to say:
“Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest Champagne producers of any type in the region. ”
So, that settles that! Founded exclusively as a Grower Champagne house (which was quite rare back in 1890), by Désiré Vilmart, Vilmart & Cie Champagne is now firmly rooted in the fifth generation under the guidance of Laurent Champs. Located on the western end of the Grand Montagne (of the Montagne de Reims) in the Premier Cru village of Rilly-la-Montagne, Laurent oversees some 11 hectares of vines – farming organically, with the incorporation of biodynamic practices.
This Grand Cellier Brut is blended roughly to 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir – all fermented and aged in large oak barrels. After blending, the wine spends some 36 months aging on the lees, before a finishing dosage of 8 g/liter. But, like I mentioned earlier, what separates this special bottling is the extra time after dosage…some three and a half years, to be precise! This development in bottle gives the wine a depth and richness that fresh disgorgements simply cannot match, and while such age is not recommended for ALL Champagnes, in this case it is just a perfect match!
The wine pours its typical pale gold, but immediately the nose captivates with toasty notes of hazelnuts and brioche, followed by a layered and creamy sensation in the mouth, punctuated by micro-explosions of spicy minerality, but carried throughout by ripe orchard fruits of Gala apples and Bartlett pears, and bursting-ly ripe mandarin oranges, Rainier cherries, fresh lavender, and a final tingly sensation of numbing, pink peppercorns. Incredibly complex, beautifully unified and harmonious – I struggle to think of another under $70 Champagne that is drinking this fine, right here and now. It’s really exceptional, and we’re thrilled to have a handful of cases that should last… oh, let’s say two hours? Maybe three? Good luck, friends!
Appellation: Montagne de Reims
Varietal: Champagne Blends
Blend: 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Laurent Champs
Farming Method: Sustainable Practices
Aging / Cooperage: 10 months in large fondres
Pair it with: Salt-roasted halibut with curried vegetables
About the Producer
Champagne Vilmart & Cie, founded in 1890 in the picturesque village of Rilly-la-Montagne in the Champagne region of France, has quietly built a reputation for producing exquisite, artisanal Champagnes that embody the essence of their terroir. This family-owned and operated maison, led by Laurent Champs, is renowned for its meticulous vineyard management and minimal intervention winemaking, showcasing the potential of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in premier cru and grand cru vineyards. Their flagship cuvée, "Cœur de Cuvée," stands as a shining example of their dedication to excellence, characterized by complexity, finesse, and remarkable aging potential. Vilmart & Cie's unwavering commitment to tradition and their ability to balance innovation with a deep respect for their heritage have solidified their status as a hidden gem among Champagne connoisseurs, with their wines celebrated for their timeless elegance and character.
Your daily bubbles
We’re wine drinkers, collectors, and part of the global wine trade. Mostly, we are totally stoked to bring you incredible bubbles at the best prices we can possibly obtain, every day.