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Champagne region trip tips


#21

Just wondering if anyone has been to Juillet-Lallement in Verzy?? Or would recommend a visit? We are meeting some Belgian friends when we get to Reim and am trying to book a tasting at a smaller champagne house close to Reims . Other suggestions welcome too, thanks.


#22

I haven’t visited Juillet-Lallement, Leah, but they have a high reputation, so I wouldn’t hesitate to visit. I have a friend whose interest in champagne is profound (and by comparison I am but a mere dilettante!) - his view is that the three most important quality champagne growers in Verzy are Juillet-Lallement, Fresnet-Juillet and Penet Chardonnet. I have visited Fresnet-Juillet.

Of those three growers, the first two are both members of the “Club des Trésors” I mentioned earlier, so do not neglect to try/buy the “Special Club” cuvées which are always amongst the best. Penet-Chardonnet has a high reputation as a grower within France and their prices are usually higher than the other two. I wouldn’t hesitate to try and visit any of these, but they are not large outfits so as always, prior arrangement is always a good idea to avoid nobody at all being there when you visit.

Another recommendation in that part of the world might be Michel Arnould in Verzenay (the next village). Possibly worth bearing in mind if your attempts to visit the others fall through, as I think the owner’s mother (or maybe grandmother) likes to be there most days to meet and greet people. She is charming and will cheerfully take you through whichever wines interest you. Whilst they do ask for prior appointments, I suspect you stand a better chance here if you have to just turn up somewhere. And anyway they are one of the handful of best growers in Verzenay.

It’s worth adding that these two villages lie at the centre of the north-facing Grand Cru sites on the northern montagne. Their pinots are highly sought after by the big houses in Reims & Epernay to add backbone to their top blends. So Verzy & Verzenay pinots can be quite “tight” and structured when young, a fact worth bearing in mind when tasting. You just have to look for unresolved concentrated extract underneath. It’s never failed me! There are great wines from hereabouts but they usually need patience to show of their best.

I’ve already gone on for too long, but can I just add an endorsement to @JayKay’s suggestion of Henri Goutorbe if you do venture as far as Ay? Wines from the south of the Montagne are a different proposition, and Goutorbe tend to sit on their top wines after disgorgement until they reckon they are approaching readiness. So if you are after wines that are more nearly ready for drinking on purchase, Goutorbe is a good address for you. But very fair prices for all that. Yet another Club des Trésors member!


#23

Thank you so much @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis. I have sent a message to Juillet-Lallement to see if they can accommodate us which I hope they can do. I visited this region lat year which is why I’m keen to go back and I don’t think our Belgian friends wish to travel too far outside of Reims.

I tasted a cuvee from Michel Arnoud, I think it may have been at the lighthouse but I cant be sure and I really that it had excellent body and backbone to it.
So I’ll be seeking out some to take home this time for sure.
Thank you also on your advice on looking at the future potential for the pinots, makes sense and good advice.
I’ll let you know who we manage to see. :+1: