Buy Vazart-Coquart Champagne online
This single estate of 11ha (making some 80, 000 bottles per annum) run by Jean-Pierre Vazart, makes only single cru wines. The entire estate is in Grand Cru Chouilly, one of only 17 ‘grand cru’ top communes in Champagne. It is the most northerly wine commune of the Côte des Blancs, just two minutes south of Epernay. Chouilly is big, at 525.5ha of vines, the biggest grand cru. It is the third biggest wine village in all Champagne after Les Riceys and Vertus. While the giant factory winery HQ of the Nicolas Feuillate coop is in Chouilly, pressing 7% of all Champagne’s grapes, there are several high quality independent growers (RMs) making their own wines. One of those is Champagne Vazart-Coquart, a domaine champagne making waves nowadays among champagne aficionados.
Camille Vazart grew grapes in the late 19th Century and the family is still based in the same house on the main street in Chouilly. Jean-Pierre is the grandson of Camille and took over from his father Jacques in 2005 after a 16 year ‘apprenticeship’. His father had struck out on his own as an independent domaine (‘grower champagne’) in 1954.
Being the Côte des Blancs, only Chardonnay is grown here, but Jean-Pierre has one tiny plot of Pinot Noir to make a Coteaux Champenois. In fact, there are only 4.5ha of Pinot Noir, and 1.9ha of Pinot Meunier in all Chouilly. The estate has parcelles of vines in most great sections of the Chouilly vineyard, including on the prized Montaigu. The viticulture here is gradually reducing synthetic chemical use to an absolute minimum and in 2012 the estate was the third wine domaine to be awarded the highest level of ‘HVE’ certification (Haute Valeur Environmentale), a stringent set of sustainable targets which must always be met. Other Champagne pioneers of this project are Champagne Bollinger, Eric Rodez and Lenoble.
The multiple vineyard sites, from a far flung grand cru, with many variations of soil and exposure, produce different wines (vins clairs) for the domaine. Vinification is based on small tanks to capture this variation. No barrels are used, only stainless steel, a stylistic decision to preserve the mineral delicacy and buttery, floral fruit which is the signature of Chouilly. In this way, the wines here hum with terroir character. Not because they come from one place, which they do, but because they taste of that place. Complexity and authenticity are built in with malolactic generally completed and by a perpetual ‘solera’ begun in 1982 for reserve wines and using only the cuvée juice. It is replenished with up to 50% of its volume used in the blends each year, with new harvest wine. The solera wine is also used to prepare dosages.
The estate is a proud member of the‘Club Trésors du Champagne’(‘Special Club) since 1996 and since a rule of this group is to make your best cuvée in the club livery special bottle, it is important you taste the special club offerings regularly from Vazart-Coquart if you are a fan.