In 1986, Eric Dhondt and Edith Grellet decided to stop selling off their grapes to negociants and started Dhondt-Grellet. Their focus on biodynamic farming has translated into vivid champagnes from great parcels across the Côte des Blancs.
The domaine is around 6ha of Grand Cru and 1er Cru vines, with an average age of 40 years. Their son Adrien is now at the helm, together with his sister Alice. Inspired by the great white winemakers of Burgundy, Adrien is taking his family’s wines to another level, focusing on chardonnay and terroir. The quality of Adrien’s cuvées was recognised last year when he was voted Winemaker of the Year 2017 in the Trophées Champenois.
Selosse “Junior”, Guillaume, has created two stunning single vineyard cuvées. Au Dessous De Gros Mont is from Guillaume’s own vineyard in the northeastern part of Cramant, Avize Grand Cru, just a few rows of old vines given to him by his grandmother for his 18th birthday.
Largillier is made from pinot noir grapes grown on Kimmeridgian soils, bought from his friend Jérôme Coessens in Côtes des Bar specifically because Guillaume wanted a new challenge to make a blanc de noirs champagne from different terroir.
Hidden away in the village of Cumières, absolutely no sign will lead you to this small (2.5ha) and unusual estate, only a name on a door bell - you have to be a savvy Champagne connoisseur to dare ring it! Georges has been farming 7 parcels of vines organically since 1971, in a region that is well known for its heavy use of chemicals, and at a time that most were using vineyards as landfill. Georges handed the domaine over to his son Vincent in 1996.
The philosophy is as natural and pure as can be. Ripe grapes, vinification in barrels, indigenous yeasts, long ageing on the lees before bottling for secondary fermentation, no fining, no filtration, no cold maceration and sulphur added only to homeopathic levels only. With all this respect and purity it is easy to guess that no dosage is added.
Eric Rodez is one of the superstars of the current champagne generation, a hugely respected winemaker named by his peers as the grower they most look up to. His family has been growing grapes in Ambonnay for more than nine generations; today he and his son Mikael together run their 6.5 ha biodynamic domaine.
Eric trained and worked at Krug, learning the art of blending and ageing, but discovered for himself that it is his terroir that is the most important element of his domaine: today it is the essence and heart of everything he does.
Frédéric Savart is a fiercely individual Champagne maker making beautifully expressive, vivid and crystalline champagnes of great depth and power. Their balance of vibrancy and flavour is utterly compelling and their scarcity is testament to their already high global demand.
Savart is a terroir fanatic, works mostly with Pinot Noir, and avoids malolactic fermentation to preserve the tension and energy of his champagnes. However, Savart works with grapes and oak in a different way to Rodez, fermenting in mostly new barrels, meaning his wines have a richness, creaminess and class that is pure pleasure.
Champagne le Chapitre is made by one of the finest artisan growers in Champagne, José Lievens. All the grapes are from his own organically-farmed vineyards and are vinified in his own winery. José is a renowned wine maker in the region and is particularly well known for his knowledge and skill with his terroir. He is the only récoltant-manipulant in Berru, a beautiful, peaceful village just east of Reims; he owns 17ha of vineyards in total, most of which are farmed organically, with José working towards converting the whole estate to organics.
José practises sustainable wine-making aimed at reinforcing the positive impact of grapevine cultivation on the environment, while reducing its negative impacts. He allows the growth of natural ground cover crops to counter erosion in the vineyards, strictly limits the use of sprays, and ensures efficient ecological and economical management in the winery thanks to modern equipment, energy-saving facilities and careful management of waste. The Le Chapitre brand was created by the Wine Source team with José
Feel the hustle and bustle of a working house, home to the creation of Krug Champagnes since 1866. Discover the house and cellars and take a tasting journey into the Krug universe.
Please register your interest for this once- in-a-lifetime trip to what is becoming one of the most in demand “grands crus” of California, Sta. Rita Hills.
We will be hosted by the winemakers of two celebrated domaines, Tyler and Racines, who will open the doors of this stunning winegrowing region, giving us the ultimate experience of what makes it so special.
We will be welcomed at this stunning Sauternes property for an exceptional wine dinner at their highly rated 2* Michelin restaurant, in the company of the estate manager.
Over a special menu prepared exclusively for this occasion, we will enjoy rare dry and sweet bottles direct from their cellars, before spending the night in the estate’s newly opened 5 star hotel offering superb accommodation. Exclusively for this trip, the château is ready to create a special limited edition Lalique bottling of Château Lafaurie- Peyraguey Premier Cru Classé Sauternes reserved only for Melchior members.
On this unique journey through one of the most celebrated wine regions in the world, we will gain the true Champagne experience.
Starting at the historic and iconic Champagne Krug, tasting vins clairs and a selection of top cuvées and vintages, before enjoying an intimate dinner in the company of the management of this revered House.
We will then visit the vineyards and winery of one of the greatest characters in Champagne, Eric Rodez, whose wines are now rightfully gaining a stellar reputation. The “tête de cuvée” of the trip will be creating our own exclusive “Melchior Club” Champagne in the cellars of respected grower José Lievens, in Berru. José will teach us the art of blending and ageing, before we enjoy a tasting of his own Champagnes. There will be the opportunity to purchase the Melchior Club blend for your own cellar, once it is ready!
On arrival we enjoy a private tour of this historic property, followed by a tasting of special bottles direct from the cellars, hosted by the château’s Chef de Cave, Pierre-Olivier Clouet. Afterwards, a sumptuous meal paired with mature vintages of Cheval Blanc awaits us on the terrace overlooking the estate, served while the sun sets over its stunning vineyards. You are invited to bring a bottle of Cheval Blanc – or another special non-Bordeaux wine – from your own cellar to share, paulée-style, with our hosts and fellow guests. We will continue the party until the longest day of the year is done.
We begin our Bordeaux experience with a welcome lunch at the Michelin-starred Garopapilles restaurant, one of the city’s most exciting gastronomic experiences for wine lovers. Afterwards, we transfer in style in a fleet of comfortable cars to our accommodation for the duration of the trip, the superb, one-of-a-kind Château Grand Barrail, where we have time to freshen up and change into casual chic.
In the evening, we celebrate the Summer Solstice with an intimate, exclusive party at one of the greatest wine estates in the world, Château Cheval Blanc. This promises to be an unforgettable evening, a money simply-cannotbuy moment that few will ever experience.
Afterwards, we have the choice either to spend the afternoon indulgently in the unique Vinotherapie spa at the stunning five star Les Sources de Caudalie hotel, or to experience a tasting with the top winemaking team at one of the oldest and most prominent estates in Graves, Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
That evening, we will enjoy an intimate meal at La Table du Lavoir, Caudalie’s convivial bistro-style restaurant with exceptional food, in the notable company of Daniel and Florence Cathiard, the genial owners and managers of Smith Haut Lafitte, whilst enjoying their fabulous wines.
After a leisurely morning enjoying the beautiful environment of the unique Château Grand Barrail, we begin the next moment of our Bordeaux voyage of discovery with a private brunch at one of the most impressive – and famous – properties in the region, Château d’Yquem. In the company of the passionate and engaging Pierre Lurton, the CEO of the estate, we will experience the greatest sweet wines in the world paired with the best seasonal local ingredients and dishes.
We finish the weekend with a relaxed and informal oyster lunch on the stunning terrace of La Corniche restaurant overlooking the gorgeous bay at Pyla-sur-Mer. We transfer back to Bordeaux in style having experienced a trip like no other, marrying the nature, history, prestige and conviviality of Bordeaux and some if its most special wines.