Champagne Jean Josselin & Fils

4th March 2016

Champagne Jean Josselin & Fils

In the cellars of this Champagne house in Gyé sur Seine are a series of murals. One shows Jean Josselin, who founded this house in 1957. He was succeeded by his son Jean-Pierre, who has now been joined by his own son, Jean-Félix. The family are facing together the challenges of being independent Champagne producers in the 21st century.

The house owns about 12 ha of vines. These are in scattered parcels, which is typical for the vineyards of the champagne appellation. The Aube is predominantly planted with Pinot Noir, but this house also has nearly 20% Chardonnay. Jean-Pierre decided to plant this varietal as not everyone likes a 100% Blanc de Noirs. Although others in the area have done so, they’re not interested in reintroducing old varieties like Pinot Blanc.

The house is in the process of being certified Terra Vitis, as it has adopted methods for sustainable viticulture. It was decided that the changes required for this certification made more sense than becoming fully organic or biodynamic.

The house uses a traditional Coquard press that’s been slightly adapted by Jean-Pierre. It also uses stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels, as they don’t give the taste the family wants; clean, crisp and fresh. However, the use of barrels hasn’t been ruled out for some time in the future.

A recent promotional tour in the USA found new importers for champagne, while the French market for champagne is declining. Consumer wine fairs in France where the house gathered its client base are starting to be less well-attended. It seems that the net is attracting more young consumers looking to buy wine or Champagne, rather than having direct contact with the makers. The number of customers who come directly to the house to buy is also falling.

Véronique, Jean-Pierre’s wife, knows that the future looks challenging. The house can’t increase its production of 100,000 bottles a year. They also want to remain independent and not have to sell any of their grapes. Moët et Chandon have already bought one Champagne house in the village. The Josselins have joined a local group that promotes the farm produce and Champagne of the Aube.

There will soon be a new tasting room . The house has a range of seven Champagnes. Each label has an elegant floral motif whose colour corresponds to the different cuvées. Although men are still the main buyers of Champagne, this type of label may attract a potential female market.


Jon Catt

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.