Champagne Richard Royer
11th November 2015
Balnot sur Laignes is just off the road to Les Riceys. Champagne Richard Royer’s office faces the village church. It was having urgent repairs done on the roof when I was there recently.
Richard’s grandmother and father just sold their grapes. Fresh from studies in agronomy and oenology Richard decided to make his own Champagne when he took over the family business in 2007. He is now just one of a handful to do this in his village. The majority of people with vines continue to sell their grapes.
He has 13 ha of vines most of which are in Balnot sur Laignes. He grows 85% pinot noir, 10% chardonnay and 5% pinot meunier. All of them are cultivated using sustainable viticultural practices.
Terra Vitis is a French federation that certifies these practices with specifications going from how the vines are cultivated to the Champagne making process. Champagne was the last wine making region to join it. Richard is proud to have been part of the group who promoted the introduction of Terra Vitis in the Aube.
He began using their practices in 2011. They include the moderate use of chemicals in the vines and the winery . He’s working, for example, on the reduction of the use of sulphur in his Champagne. In 2013 16 Champagne makers in the Aube were awarded Terra Vitis certification.
One visible sign of this approach are the solar panels on the winery’s roof. Down in the cellars are two oak casks hold 3,000 litres of reserve wine. Richard also uses seasoned oak barrels from Burgundy for ageing some of his Champagne.
He makes 15,000 bottles a year. These are sold mainly in France. He also sells a little in the UK, Belgium and Germany. He has his eyes on the American and Japanese markets.
If you’re on the road to Les Riceys you should stop and visit him as he’s a young Champagne maker to follow.
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.