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New release: The luminous finesse of Champagne Vilmart et Cie
29 June 2022

The first time we experienced Vilmart was at the hands of a top Napa vintner, and we weren’t immediately shown what it was. Clearly dominated by Chardonnay, we found a wine of exceptional definition whose intensity was matched by a depth of stony, remarkably pure citrus fruit. It was mouth-wateringly good and one of those glasses that made you write a mental note-to-self to get on the phone to organise a visit.

That visit has now been made and as a result we’re delighted to be able to offer a quartet of the upper reaches of the Vilmart range. Situated in the northern Montagne de Reims village of Rilly-la-Montagne, this is one of the great grower operations, five 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.

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