Chaillots Hautes Vignes 2016
From vine growing to champagne...
The LACOURTES, my father’s side, and the GODBILLONS, on my mother’s side, began by growing grapes. Just like the generations before them, they sold all their crop to the big and famous champagne houses.
Was it a passion? Maybe... but more than anything else it was sheer hard work. As my grandmother used to say: ''we were often in the vineyards from 5 in the morning until 8 at night!". And the children would join them to help after school.
A reason for living? Most probably... With the ultimate objective being the honour of buying a plot of vines as soon as they were able to.
In 1947, shortly after returning from the war, they began a new adventure: producing and marketing champagne under the names LACOURTE-LABASSE and GODBILLON-MARIE. They were soon filling their customers' car boots with bulk orders!
The first harvest from my parents was 1968. They gradually set up their business and established the LACOURTE-GODBILLON brand. At first it was no more than a few thousand bottles. Bottling and disgorgement would be done at the back of a courtyard... But the most important thing was my father's understanding that the best champagne was made only from top quality work in the vineyard. His whole career was dedicated to this ethos.
Richard and I took the big step in 2006 when we left our executive city jobs to come back to the vineyard of our home. This new wine making life has been a total revelation!
Écueil: a PREMIER CRU village in the "Montagne de Reims"...
The PREMIER CRU village of Écueil is situated on the western flank of the "petite Montagne de Reims". Our 20.5 acres of vineyards is planted 85% to Pinot Noir and 15% to Chardonnay, all of it in Écueil except for just 1.2 acres in the neighbouring village of Les Mesneux. Our vines have an average age of 30 years.
Winemakers from all over the Montagne district have long bought Pinot Noir vine plants from Écueil. There was even a school here where they could learn how to graft these stocks. Up until a few years ago we bought Pinot Noir plants from the local nursery. From now on, we will be implementing our own ''massal selection'' of the best plants for cuttings in our own parcels of vines, in order to preserve this heritage.
This particular terroir is characterised by an incredibly diverse sub-soil. Some parts are predominantly sandy over the deep chalk, others composed of "sparnacian" clay and shallow chalk at the bottom of the hillsides, similar to the soils of Les Mesneux.
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16, Rue des Aillys
51500 ECUEIL – France
Tel: +33 3 26 49 74 75
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