“This Vertus domaine numbers among my favorite addresses on the Côte de Blancs, and the Doyard family’s vinous, incisive Champagnes deserve a place in any well-stocked cellar. Deep, concentrated and characterful, everything that bears the Doyard label is well worth serious attention.” -- William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
This Article Contains
Charles Doyard and his father Yannick
Stunning Blanc de Blancs given the time needed to achieve exemplary quality Champagne. There is no lack of finesse, complex minerality, creamy mousse and elegant finishes.
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Côte des Blancs
- Vertus, 1er Cru, home base
- Avize, Grand Cru, CdB
- Cramant, Grand Cru, CdB
- Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Grand Cru, CdB
- Oger, Grand Cru, CdB
- Aÿ, Grand Cru, Grande Vallée
- Average vine age is 40 years, twice that of the rest of the region
- Clos de l’Abbaye, a ½ hectare clos, behind Doyard’s winery, a warm and chalky site with vines from 1956.
- This was the northern edge of viticulture until recent decades
- 2nd most northern grape growing region in France, after Alsace, but much less sunshine and more rain.
- Harsh cold winters, short hot summers
- Rain in summer, snow in winter
- Very wet climate, although drought has been an issue in recent vintages because of climate change
- Viticulture is possible because of long, (hopefully) dry, temperate autumns to extend the growing season.
- Because ripeness was a struggle, grapes are usually grown for white wine, or in the last 150 years, sparkling wines.
- Variations between his sites are due to aspect, elevation and proximity to water, like the Marne river.
- Cool climate red varieties Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier dominate, but the vast majority are destined for white or rosé sparkling wines.
- Wines are going to be high in acidity, light in body, low in alcohol, and often need extended aging of 18 months or more to temper the high acidity.
- Sugar is often added to wines at the end, called dosage, to help balance the high acidities from cold climate grapes.
- Adds finesse and freshness
- Often a signature lemon meringue pie flavor profile.
- If handled reductively, can impart white flower, ginger, green apple, quince and other primary flavors
- Oxidative or aged examples can be full of brioche, kernel, honey and truffle
- Does best in east facing sites with little to no top soil on chalk and other limestones
- Pinot Noir
- Critical for structure and body, more powerful than the other two grapes
- Fruit profile can include red apple, strawberry, apricot, and peach
- Savory notes of spices, stones, rose petal and violet
- Almost always the grape used for rosé Champagne
- Shows best in on south facing sites with clay over chalk
- No new replacements of vineyards, only dead vines to increase the age.
- Permanent mounted Royat cordon pruning for yield control
- Most vineyards are worked by horse
Practicing Organic & Biodynamic
- Coquard PAI press is used (the newest, most precise and gentle of presses)
- All parcels vinified separately
- Most vintage wines are in barrel
- The rest are in barrel or tank
- A minimum of 48 months on the lees (that's just the non-vintage!), often it ends up being 5 or more years.
- Nothing else is decide by recipe and can change with the cuvée and the vintage
- Sometimes malolactic fermentation is allowed
The Doyard family has roots in Champagne dating back to the 17th century, and starting gaining recognition in the 70s for creating precise, mineral-etched champagnes. The domaine farms 10 ha of vineyards in Vertus and the Grand Cru villages of Le Mesnil, Cramant, Oger, Avize and a plot in the Vallée de la Marne's famed Aÿ.
The viticultural philosophy employed is a ‘non-dogmatic’ approach to biodynamic farming with absolutely no herbicides or pesticides used. Most of the vineyards are worked by horse and yields are kept intentionally kept low, adding to the focused intensity that defines the house style.
In the cellar, all of the wines undergo very long lees aging—a minimum of 48 months, lending a vinous quality to the wines that have become the envy of Chardonnay producers everywhere. Every single decision made in the vineyard and cellar are geared toward making the most expressive, terroir focused Champagne possible. These are consistently some of the finest wines we enjoy year in and year out.
They have been part of an association called “Les Artisans du Champagne” since 2010. Focused
Creamy, mineral, elegant, hugs, delicate, perfect examples of the finesse of the Côte des Blancs.
Doyard, Champagne Vendémiaire 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut, NV $64.99 $57.19
"Based on the 2017 vintage, complemented by reserve wines from 2016 and 2015, Doyard's NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Vendémiaire (2017 base) delivers inviting aromas of citrus oil, crisp stone fruit, almond paste and freshly baked bread, followed by a medium to full-bodied, fleshy palate with tangy acids and a charming, giving profile, concluding with a bright, saline finish. No matter the base vintage, this bottling attains incredible consistency in terms of quality. 92 pts" -- William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Doyard, Champagne Révolution Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Non Dosé, NV $92.99 $81.83
Doyard, Champagne Révolution Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Non Dosé, NV (1.5L) $180.00 $158.40
"Based on the 2016 vintage and disgorged early this year, Doyard's NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non Dosé Révolution offers up aromas of citrus oil, freshly baked bread, honeycomb, almonds and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and incisive, it's a taut, elegantly textural Champagne with a fine mousse and a long, saline finish. It's another fine rendition of this immensely reliable cuvée. 94 pts" -- William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Doyard, Vertus Coteaux Champenois Blanc, 2020 $94.99 $83.59
100% Chardonnay from a single site in Vertus with 50+ year old vines. Fermented with indigenous yeast and aged in barrel (40% new) for 18 months.
Doyard, Ay Coteaux Champenois Rouge, 2020 $109.99 $96.79
Doyard, Ay Coteaux Champenois Rouge, 2020 (1.5L) $210.00 $184.80
100% Pinot Noir from a single site in Ay Grand Cru with 25+ year old vines. Indigenous yeast fermentation with 10% whole cluster. Aged in barrel (30% new) for 18 months.
Doyard, Champagne Oeil de Perdrix Extra Brut Grand Cru, 2018 $169.99 $149.59
"The 2018 Extra-Brut Grand Cru Millésimé Œil de Perdrix is lovely, wafting from the glass with scents of orange blossom, mirabelle plum, sweet citrus fruit and red berries. Medium to full-bodied, ample and pillowy, with a fleshy core of fruit and lively acids, it's an elegant, charming wine that offers demonstrative drinking out of the gates. 95 pts" -- William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Doyard, Champagne La Libertine Doux, NV $250.00 $220.00
"As I've written before, the NV Doux La Libertine is one of the finest examples of this largely forgotten and unfashionable category. Delivering aromas of dried fruits, peaches, warm biscuits, toasted nuts and honeycomb, it's a medium to full-bodied, fleshy, flamboyantly sweet Champagne of notable interest and complexity. It would work well with a wide range of desserts to conclude a meal. It's a blend of reserve wines back to 2000, omitting a few of the less favorable vintages in the interim. 93 pts" -- William Kelley, The Wine Advocate