1st July 2015
Channes is a small hilltop village located at the far end of the Sarce valley. It’s here that you’ll find Champagne Guilleminot. This family run house has gotten praise from English wine critics and is sold by some of the best wine shops in the UK.
When I visited them I was shown around by Corinne. She’s an oenologist by profession but deals with the daily running of the house.
Her great grandmother and grandmother tended to the family’s vines. Her grandfather started to make his own Champagne in the 1980’s. He dug the cellars with his son down to the hard bedrock.
It was at the same time they built a pressing centre for their use and that of local vine growers. This expensive investment is only in use for fifteen days a year. The grape harvest used to be in October but now it’s mainly in September. When you drink a big name Champagne from the Marne some of the juice may have come from here.
There’s a wonderful view from the pressing centre to the hill slopes where you have the first vines in the champagne appelation. Corinne was proud of the building and told me it just needed a little work outside to be ready for the Route du Champagne en Fête in 2017.
The family has 12ha of vines in 3 villages including Les Riceys. These are planted with just one grape variety , pinot noir. This is mainly used to make blanc de noirs. They also have some vines that are about 50 years old that they use to make the red wine for their Champagne rosé.
They make 70,000 bottles a year. Their biggest market is France but they also sell to England, Belgium and Germany.Corinne told me that there are a lot of Champagne lovers who seek out blanc de noirs because there isn’t much made and for it’s frutiness and freshness.
If you’re going to see , the cricket commentater , Henry Blofelfeld on tour this year he’s a great lover of Champagne Guilleminot and even has his own label for sale.
Visits in French and English by reservation.
Corrine’s sister with her husband and Henry Blofeld:
Tour guide for the Champagne region who lives in Troyes. Specialising in family run Champagne house visits in the Aube and the Marne plus wine tours in the Yonne and Côte d'Or.