The History of the Alexandre Bonnet Champagne House goes back a long way in the stunning village of Les Riceys. With three Appellations d’Origione controlee (Controlled designation of origin), The place is unique in the world of winemaking and is an exception in Champagne. It is located in Les Riceys, a magnificent medieval town at the gateway to Burgundy. Though the heart of the region, far away from the watchful gaze of Reims and Epernay, oscillated for many years between Champagne and Burgundy, its 866 hectares of vines eventually became the largest wine growing village in Champagne
The village is nestled in the far reaches of the Laignes valley, at the doors of Burgundy. The rolling hillsides emerged during the Jurassic period and growers have been tending its vineyards patiently for centuries. Its name and history are plural, but its reputation is unique: Les Riceys.
On the steepest slopes of Champagne, the Kimmeridgian limestone soil of Les Riceys imparts a unique and renowned flavour on the wines made there creating elegant and complex aromas while retaining a generosity of fruit in the wine. The excellence of its Pinot Noirs has earnt three AOCs: Champagne, Coteaux Champenois and Rosé des Riceys. Domaine Alexandre Bonnet has become the symbol and emblem of this unique terroir.
Over the course of history, the terroir of Les Riceys has been passed back and forth between Burgundy and Champagne. Burgundian in 830, the region was integrated into Champagne during the 13th century, then was again turned over to the Duke of Burgundy with the Treaty of Troyes in 1420. A few decades later it was returned to the Kingdom of France. But the rivalry between Burgundy and Champagne remained. In Les Riceys, the wineries have two entrances. When they were built, one entrance led out to Champagne and the other to Burgundy. So depending on the vintage, the wine was taken out through one door or the other, depending on the advantages of one or the other.
“The head said Champagne, but the heart remained Burgundian.”
It wasn’t until 1927 that the white wines of the Aube region were included in the Champagne appellation once and for all. But the vineyards of Les Riceys stayed closely connected to Burgundy, with the production of the famous Rosé des Riceys. That is when the Aube and Les Riceys arrived permanently in the Champagne appellation. At the same time, in 1934, Lucien Noble planted his first vines. His daughter (the wife of René Bonnet) then his grandsons, Serge and Alain, tended the family vineyards and gave the Domaine its name in 1970: Alexandre Bonnet
The vineyard is made up of many small slopes that rise steeply from narrow valleys. The south-southeast facing slopes, where Pinot Noir thrives, are known as “l’endroit”. The opposite sides, known as “l’envers”, are topped with small conifers, and this woodland area provides welcome protection against cold air.
Domaine Alexandre Bonnet manages to produce six different types of wine from the same grape variety: Pinot Noir.
One of the Domaine’s champagne cuvées comes from La Géande, a unique parcel in the whole appellation, because it is planted with the seven historic champagne grape varieties (Pinot Noir, Meunier, Chardonnay, Blanc Vrai, Buret, Arbane, and Petit Meslier). Grapes from another Contrée known as La Forêt, are also used to produce four other wines: Rosé des Riceys, Coteau Champenois and two champagnes: a Rosé de Saignée and a Blanc de Noirs. Didier and Irvin believe that the special features of the terroir and the Domaine itself contribute to the wines’ fabulous aromatic palette, producing almost alchemical blends, freeing both the intuition of the senses and the imagination.
- * Champagne Les Contrées Rosé
- * Champagne Les Contrées 7 Cépages
- * Rosé des Riceys La Forêt
- * Coteaux Champenois Blanc
- * Coteaux Champenois Rouge
The Domaine is now managed by Arnaud Fabre, who proudly cultivates its unique Les Riceys character. The village has three bell towers and 26 listed monuments. It has been selected as a site of outstanding taste (Site Remarquable du Goût), and produces the most sought-after cru in the Côte des Bar. It is the only village to have three AOCs, which means it can produce both champagnes and still wines: the rising star Coteaux-Champenois and Rosé-des#Riceys.
He alongside Didier Mêlé, Oenologist and Vineyard Manager at the Domaine and Irvin Charpentier current Cellar Master has been steering Domaine Alexandre Bonnet towards its destiny since 2019.