There is a growing interest in high-quality champagne growers who make small volumes of champagnes that are full of character and individuality that reflects the particular terroir on which it is produced. These small growers don’t challenge the power of the major houses who have built the modern market for champagne but many Sommeliers of top restaurants are looking to small grower champagnes, in part because of their divergence of styles. They may not be as easy to sell as the well-known international brands, but often a very good value for money, an important consideration in the current market.
One of the finest in the grower’s category is Champagne Gonet-Médeville, a small house founded by Julie Médeville, renowned winemaker at Château Gillette, and her husband Xavier Gonet, a young Champenois oenologist. Xavier Gonet comes from an old family of Champagne vignerons from Mesnil sur Oger. In 2000, the couple took over 8 hectares of vineyards from Xavier’s parents and work them by hand. Their parcels of Pinot Noir in Bisseuil and Ambonnay and Chardonnay in Mesnil-Sur-Oger are farmed organically and each parcel is vinified separately to emphasize its individual terroir. There is no malolactic fermentation and dosage is minute.
The cellar is located in Bisseuil. Xavier and Julie have spent a tremendous amount of time working in the vineyards. They have been working the soils and controlling yields in order to have the most beautiful possible grapes from which to produce their fabulous individual wines. Besides their wonderful Champagne they also produce still wine, their Coteaux Champenois Cuvée Athénais is an exception in Champagne, as the wine is still, not sparkling, and it is red. The wine is made 100% of Pinot Noir. This Coteaux Champenois does have the attraction of being the only red wine produced in the entire region.