A 100-Year Timeline of Single-Estate Champagnes
It’s been over a century since the first bottling of Champagne Salon in 1905.
While the majority of champagnes continue to be blended, the past thirty years have seen a remarkable emergence of single-vineyard and single-terroir champagnes. This movement has included some of the region’s most respected houses, such as Krug and Jacquesson, as well as grower-producers like Tarlant, Larmandier-Bernier, Jérôme Prévost, and Marie-Courtin. A couple of estates, in fact, make nothing but single-vineyard champagnes: Ulysse Collin currently has four, plus a rosé, while Cédric Bouchard is even more extreme at his Roses de Jeanne estate, bottling no fewer than seven different single-vineyard wines. Chartogne-Taillet and Marguet are two other producers who are placing increasing emphasis on single-vineyard and single-cru champagnes.
Below is a list of some notable releases.
1905: This is officially regarded to be the first vintage of Salon, although the house’s champagnes wouldn’t be commercially available for another two decades.
1935: Philipponnat makes the Clos des Goisses for the first time.
1952: Cattier makes a wine based on the Clos du Moulin in Ludes.
1971: Pierre Péters introduces Cuvée Spéciale from Les Chétillons, first made as a Spécial Club.
1975: Drappier begins making the Grande Sendrée from a vineyard above the village of Urville.
1979: Krug begins bottling Clos du Mesnil from a walled vineyard in the center of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.
1982: Tarlant bottles its Cuvée Louis.
1985: Jean Milan makes Terres de Noël in the village of Oger.
1989: Egly-Ouriet introduces a blanc de noirs from a parcel of old vines in Ambonnay’s Les Crayères; Vilmart inaugurates its Coeur de Cuvée, from the vineyard of Blanches Voies in Rilly-la-Montagne; Pierre Callot bottles Avize Les Avats for the first time.
1990: Larmandier-Bernier bottles a pure Cramant from the estate’s oldest vines; it eventually evolves into the Vieille Vigne du Levant.
1993: Veuve Fourny isolates a parcel outside its estate in Vertus called the Clos Faubourg Notre Dame.
1994: Anselme Selosse of Jacques Selosse purchases a small parcel of pinot noir in Aÿ’s Côte Faron and begins bottling it as a separate cuvée called Contraste. Also, Georges Laval begins making Les Chênes, from the Cumières vineyard of the same name. Larmandier-Bernier creates Terre de Vertus.
1995: A remarkable number of single-terroir wines emerges during what is the first high-quality vintage since 1990. Jean Vesselle begins bottling Le Petit Clos from a tiny vineyard in Bouzy; Diebolt-Vallois introduces Fleur de Passion from some of its oldest vines and finest terroirs in Cramant; Agrapart et Fils makes L’Avizoise, from two parcels on the hillside above Avize; Pierre Callot bottles the Clos Jacquin, also in Avize; Jacquesson makes chardonnay from the Corne Bautray vineyard in Dizy as an experiment; Krug isolates a small, walled parcel that it calls Clos d’Ambonnay; Billecart-Salmon makes a wine from Clos Saint-Hilaire in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.
1996: Jacquesson isolates the Vauzelle Terme in Aÿ, making a wine that plants the seeds for a radical rethinking of the house’s philosophy.
1998: Jérôme Prévost bottles the first vintage of Les Béguines.
1999: David Léclapart bottles L’Apôtre from his oldest parcel of vines, planted by his grandfather. Tarlant creates two other single-vineyard wines—La Vigne d’Antan, a chardonnay from ungrafted vines, and La Vigne d’Or, from an old parcel of meunier vines.
2000: Cédric Bouchard of Roses de Jeanne begins making Les Ursules.
2001: Agrapart et Fils adds Vénus to its lineup, named for the horse who plows the parcel from where it’s sourced.
2002: Emmanuel Brochet begins making wine from his vineyard of Le Mont Benoît. Taittinger also begins making Les Folies de la Marquetterie.
2003: Anselme Selosse begins a remarkable exploration of the terroir of six single-vineyard sites; Vouette & Sorbée makes a Saignée de Sorbée for the first time.
2004: Vouette & Sorbée makes Blanc d’Argile from chardonnay vines in Buxeuil. Ulysse Collin begins bottling Les Pierrières (labeled simply as Blanc de Blancs).
2006: In the Aube, Marie-Courtin makes Resonance and Eloquence, and Coessens begins making wine from Largillier. From a walled vineyard within Reims itself, Lanson makes the Clos Lanson. Chartogne-Taillet bottles Les Barres for the first time, from a parcel of ungrafted meunier vines.
2008: Marguet inaugurates a new series of single-vineyard champagnes with the first bottling of Les Crayères.
Reprinted with permission from Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroir of the Iconic Region, copyright 2017 by Peter Liem. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2017 by Gentl and Hyers.
Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroir of the Iconic Region by Peter Liem, Ten Speed, 2017. Pre-order $47, amazon.com.