Vilmart et Cie

Vilmart et Cie

Situated in the northern Montagne de Reims village of Rilly-la-Montagne, Vilmart is one of the great grower operations, 8 generations old, yet one that remains somewhat under the radar. Today led by the affable Laurent Champs, the estate produces some of the region’s most sophisticated champagnes. The use of oak barrels and fuders is always judiciously handled, and its holdings, which are something of a paradox being predominantly Chardonnay in an area generally famed for Pinot Noir, are dominated by old vines. Primarily planted at the northern end of the village, the Vilmart vineyards benefit from south and south-east facing exposures, on intensely chalky soils – a terroir ideally suited to growing top notch Chardonnay.

Pressing is still done in a traditional 4000 kg basket press, following which all the vintage wines are fermented and aged in Burgundian barrels. Malo is eschewed, Laurent preferring to focus on energy, elegance and tension in his finished wines. Farming has been biodynamic for the past 20 years and the house has employed no herbicides or insecticides since Laurent took over. They were recently certified as HVE.

These are serious wines, crisp and intense, full of finesse and brimming with luminous purity; the top wines remind us a little bit of Krug, though through the lens of Chardonnay dominated blends – it’s a great combination, as devotees will be quick to tell you.


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