Champagne Dhondt-Grellet

Domaine Dhondt-Grellet was founded in 1986 when Éric Dhondt and Édith Grellet married and decided to vinify their own grapes rather than sell to négociants. Beginning with just 2 ha of vines, which has now tripled in size, their son Adrien, born in 1991, took to the helm in 2010. In doing so, he has become a modernist vanguard of the artisanal winegrowing revolution in Champagne in just 10 years, reshaping the expression of single-site Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) champagne from the esteemed Côte des Blancs through strict organic and biodynamic viticulture, and closely controlled yields.

Headquartered in the small township of Flavigny (east of Avize), the Domaine cultivates predominantly old-vine Chardonnay across the Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages of Cramant and Cuis in the Côte des Blancs, along with a portion of Chardonnay from the Sézannais, Meunier from Cuis and Pinot noir from the Vallée de la Marne. The average age of vines is 45 years, and vineyards are mostly south-facing on light, calcareous soils. Fruit is harvested at optical ripeness, in low yields, and each plot is vinified separately, undergoing barrel fermentation with natural yeasts and malolactic fermentation, before sur lie maturation in barrel to give greater concentration, texture and vinosity to the cuvées. The family has kept a perpetual reserve since 1986, of which 30% is blended into their non-vintage cuvées to give generosity and opulence.

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Adrien cites vignerons in Burgundy and Champagne as inspiration and considers his much-revered neighbour, Anselme Selosse, to be an important role model, ‘Anselme has influenced me a lot, because he succeeded in realising his own conception of wine: whether one likes or dislikes them, his wines are unique in the world. He showed me the path I was looking for’. Without a doubt, with his Burgundian approach and unwavering commitment to expressing distinctive terroir through respectful viticulture, Adrien is well on his way to realising his own singular vision of wine.