The Village of Mailly Champagne

As attested in eighteenth century writings on Champagne wine, Mailly Champagne has always ranked among the most remarkable of the Champagne Villages.

In 1816 André Julien published the first international classification of wines in his seminal work Topographie de Tous les Vignobles Connus (The topography of all known vineyards). There, he divides French wines into five different classes, with Mailly belonging to a select group of six Marne Villages classified as “First Class” for the quality of their red grapes. 

The following century saw the establishment of the first échelle des crus: literally “ladder of growths,” or the rating system for determining grape prices in the Champagne area. The first was in 1911 and the second in 1920, both defined by the Syndicat du Commerce des Vins de Champagne in consultation with Champagne growers. Mailly has enjoyed 100% Grand Cru status virtually without interruption ever since.

The influence
of the soil

Nature’s palette

Mailly Champagne, with its terroir encompassing 35 different lieux-dits, is a Champagne Village like no other. 

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For millions of years now, its landscape, soils and sub-soils have been fashioned by geology – such as the tectonic shifts that destabilised the northern flank of the Montagne de Reims, triggering massive landslides that destroyed everything in their path. Further up the valley, the mudflows combined with different sediments to produce a whole variety of soils with very particular characteristics. 

In recent years, working in partnership with the Bécheler Conseils design office, we conducted an in-depth study of the soils, geological history and landscape of Mailly Champagne. Based on our findings, we were able to establish a typology of the soils found in some of the Village lieux-dits.

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Our findings also revealed that Mailly Champagne is likely unique in terms of vineyard slopes and aspects, which face all four points of the compass, North, South, East and West. Some of the limestone slopes indeed enjoy exposures unequalled elsewhere in the region. Arranged in staircase fashion, their south- and southeast-facing aspects make them the warmest slopes on the northern side of the Montagne de Reims. The more we learn about our history, the more we understand our terroir and the importance of parcel-based winemaking: harvesting and vinifying the grapes from individual lieux-dits separately to bring out the characteristics unique to each plot. The resulting blend is that much more complex, making for a wider range of wines with quite distinct profiles.

An inspiring
of terroirs

35 lieux-dits, 4 different aspects...

MAILLY Grand Cru is one of the few Champagne estates to enjoy 100% Grand Cru rating. Our vineyards extend over more than 70 hectares, located wholly in the Village of Mailly Champagne in the heart of the Montagne de Reims nature park.

Plantings consist of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, the unusual freshness of the Pinot Noir marrying beautifully with the Chardonnay.

Vineyard aspects facing the four points of the compass impart unique characteristics to the Mailly Grand Cru terroir.

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The estate is composed of 35 different lieux-dits, most of them exposed to the west (facing the setting sun) or north, favouring subtle, well-balanced wines. Planted in chalky sub-soils, the grapevines acquire mineral, slightly saline nuances. It is this mosaic of parcels that gives our Cellar Master such a rich palette of expressions and aromatic nuances.


An artist’s workshop

Grapes from selected parcels in our 35 lieux-dits are harvested, pressed and vinified separately in small tanks or casks.

Each parcel has its own unique expression, providing the Cellar Master with a range of exceptional still wines from the most recent vintage. And therein lies the key to successful blending: in this palette of aromas and nuances, made richer still by our impressive collection of reserve wines. These are still wines from more than ten different vintages, carefully matured in our cellars and classified according to year of harvest and variety. Reserve wines represent the backbone of our non-vintage Champagnes, ensuring a consistent style from year to year. 

Some of our cuvees are singled out by our Cellar Master for aging in oak barrels using the “solera” or “perpetual reserve” system:  a system of wine aging developed by the Spanish and Portuguese to produce wines of a constant average age. 

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All of our wines are matured in the type and size of container best suited to their particular profile, aiming to bring out those complementary organoleptic qualities that make every blend more than the sum of its parts.

Successful blending does of course begin in the vineyards – in this case 35 different vineyard plots, each with its own subtle character that shows through in the wines. The art of the Cellar Master lies in composing a blend of still wines to create a cuvee that embodies all of those subtleties, and with it a range of Champagnes that voice the excellence of their terroir.

The finished cuvee is then laid to rest in our cellars, buried 19 metres underground in the cool, silent ambiance of our crayères.

And there it will remain for many years to come because it is here, in these historic chalk pits, that still Champagne wines “capture” their sparkle. 


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