Champagne has always been a topic of conversation and discussion about which is better: Grand Cru, Rose or Blanc de Blanc. This can be talked about 24 hours a day, while winemakers cultivate their vineyards. 20 kilometers south of Epernay is the village of Cramant, with a population of just over 600, where the Diebolt-Vallois family produces their famous Champagne from the Chardonnay grape variety in vineyards classified as Grand Cru.
The Diebolt family has been entwined with a vine of history since the 15th century, when their ancestors began to cultivate grapes in Cuis (village of Grand Cru). The family moved to the village of Cramant in the 19th century, and in 1978 a wine cellar and winery were built. Now the whole family is working on the quality of champagne – Jacques, Nadi, their daughter Isabella and son Arno. Isabella very often recalls her childhood and how it all began.
Childhood in the family of a winemaker was very simple, but at the same time very interesting, and over the years it became even more exciting. I remember a time when my brother and I were teenagers and my parents took us to the vineyards to work during the summer holidays. In a family of winemakers, teachers always talk about a sparkling drink.
– Diebolt-Vallois is a small manufacturer with a great reputation. How has your champagne evolved over the past 10 years?
Over the past 10 years, we have built and modernized a winery, bought Grand Cru vineyards in Chouilly, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and also expanded our holdings in Cuis. We have invested a lot of effort in the development of the brand, tasting our wines with journalists and collaborating with international wine magazines for full development. Grapes grown on the slopes of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger give our exceptional Prestige Cuvée champagne complexity and depth. I think that as the artists add more color, we add more flavor by mixing wines from the three Grand Cru vineyards for the perfect result.
– There are a lot of opportunities in France, what motivates young people to stay in the difficult wine business?
– Our great-grandfathers, both on the paternal and maternal side, cultivated grapes on these lands. I decided to fully pursue champagne when I was 25 years old, because my love for terrois was boundless, and being a winemaker at Cramant is very prestigious! Champagne is always in our thoughts and in our hearts.
– Cramant – a small village with a very long history – is of international importance in the production of champagne. What is important to know about this place?
Cramant is a very nice village in the Côte des Blancs province with a wonderful view of the valley and the city of Epernay. Many world-renowned producers have their own vineyards here, which gives us, the locals, reason to be proud. It is great to know that many families have developed good relationships with large and strong brands such as Louis Roedere, Perrier-Jouët, Billecart-Salmon.
– Each house of champagne has its own style in the taste of an aristocratic drink. What style of champagne do you present?
– The style of our Cuvée Prestige champagne is elegance and refinement of taste. And Blanc de Blanc shows how mineral champagne can be. It is very important for us to accentuate these particular flavors, because in Cramant Chardonnay grapes are always creamy.
– What do you think about when you make wine? Can you share with us a little secrets of your delicious drink?
In order to produce good wine, one must love the terrois. We must always try to do well or very well and strive for perfectionism, using the experience of our ancestors. Of course, the grapes must also be of good character and high quality. Sometimes we use large wooden barrels as a tool to create flavor complexions.
– When describing wine, very often they resort to comparisons with human character. How would you describe the character of Chardonnay?
This is certainly a woman! I would say that she is always mysterious, definitely well dressed, elegant, but at the same time always in trend a woman.
– Isabella, what is the most important thing for you as a winemaker?
Our pride is the Grand Cru vineyards. They are our diamonds, and each is good in its own way. Some of them are very expensive, others are modest, but very bright. All vineyards are unique and good for us and our wines. Together they are like a precious necklace to me.
On the slope side, our favorite is Les Pimonts, which we use for the Cuvée Fleur de Passion. This is a true star of gastronomy in all countries. We are very proud of this champagne, and it is our soul.
It is very important for us to understand our land. Our land is saturated with chalk, and only an experienced winemaker knows how to work with it. Champagne is unique and unrepeatable all over the world. Cramant is a star that was born a long time ago, and we are honored to respect this star, cultivating vineyards year after year and giving the world another new bottle of champagne.
The Diebolt Vallois family is especially proud of their Grand Cru vineyards
Diebolt-Vallois currently produces four types of champagne: Tradition, Blanc de Blancs, Vintage Blanc de Blancs, Fleur de Passion.
Tradition is a classic blend of three grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier. The origin of the grapes is only from family holdings. This champagne is perfect for an aperitif.
Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay from Grand Cru Cuis, Chouilly and young Cramant vines. Champagne, which is ideal for an aperitif, as well as light seafood snacks. This champagne is highly acclaimed by international critics.
Vintage Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay, 60% harvested from Grand Cru vineyards Cuis and Chouilly, as well as young vines in Cramant. This champagne is only produced in the best harvest years, with a higher aging potential.
Fleur de Passion – 100% Chardonnay. This champagne is only produced in extremely good harvest years. Fermentation and aging – in oak barrels. The origin of the grapes is from the best slopes of Les Buzons in the village of Cramant. Only an old vine from 40 to 80 years old with very low yields grows there. It is recommended to decant this champagne 15 minutes before serving. Fleur de Passion has received very high marks from international critics.