HISTORY OF THE VINEYARD
The village of Mailly is said to derive its name from the Latin Malliusacum.
Grapes have been grown in Mailly for centuries, since before the building of Reims Cathedral in the 13th Century.
Mailly wines were much appreciated by the church and nobility and graced all of the finest tables from the Middle Ages onward.
Mailly winegrowers have witnessed the landmark events that shaped French History, contributing to the rising fortunes of Champagne in the 17th Century.
A GRAND CRU ESTATE
The Mailly Grand Cru estate extends across 70 hectares, entirely located in the Grand Cru village of Mailly Champagne, at the heart of the Montagne de Reims nature park.
The vineyard is divided into 480 plots, planted to the two noble Champagne varietals, the Pinot Noir (75%) and the Chardonnay (25%). Blessed with a unique terroir, the vineyard is distinguished by a location that faces all four points of the compass. Most of the plots are north-facing, favouring subtle, well-balanced wines.
Nestling in the centre of these vine-covered slopes is the winery: a glass building built above seven different levels of cellars and a kilometre-long stretch of ‘crayères’ (chalk caves). This is where Mailly Grand Cru Champagne is made, exclusively from Mailly Champagne grapes.
A DEVOTION TO SUPERIOR-QUALITY FRUIT
The vines today are lovingly tended by some 80 winegrowers, all descended from that handful of men who together established this estate and resolved to prove the magnificent potential of the Mailly terroir.
With this goal in mind, they have for many years now applied sustainable methods of cultivation – good for the soil and good for the environment.
Every plot is managed with the greatest of care, and a common devotion to superior-quality fruit.
MAILLY GRAND CRU STYLE
The estate’s wines owe their character to the fruit of a single Grand Cru vineyard. Their excellence is testament to the skills of the winegrowing team, growers and chef de cave working together.
The House offers a range of more than ten wines, each one notable for its exceptional balance, assertive vinous style, class and elegance.
Together they celebrate the many different expressions of a quintessential Grand Cru Estate.
Mailly’s chalky subsoil and predominance of north-facing slopes brings out a unique mineral freshness in the Pinot Noir, seamlessly melded with that vinous strength that is the mark of a thoroughbred Grand Cru.
The Chardonnay blends in perfectly, adding characteristic finesse.
The chef de cave’s strength also rests on his detailed knowledge of the vineyard. He knows that every „lieu-dit” (named plot) has specific characteristics, and works with winegrowers to organize picking and pressing accordingly.
He has a gift for selecting the most promising fruit, choosing from a wide variety of plots that he singles out for separate fermentation in small tanks and casks.
This emphasis on single-vineyard cuvees provides the chef de cave with a range of exceptional still wines that hold the key to successful blending.
Reserve wines are this estate’s particular forte. The House boasts a unique collection of still wines that express the significant variations between harvests, some stored in small tanks others in tuns.
Wines from more than ten distinct vintages are at the chef de cave’s disposal to use as required when blending.
Reserve wines are extraordinarily aromatic and complex, providing an invaluable complement to the wines of the year.
February is the time for blending – that magical, decisive moment when the die is cast.
It is now the task of the tasting committee, guided by the chef de cave, to draw distinctions between a wide variety of aromas and tastes. More than 60 different wines are available for blending, including this year’s wines, reserve wines, oak-aged wines and many more.
The aim is to create a cuvee rooted in harmony and elegance – a symphonic blend of aromas and flavours.
This vaulted cellar is part of a kilometre-long network of crayères that were dug from the chalk by the estate’s founding fathers over a period of more than 30 years. Working every winter from 1929 to 1965, with only pickaxes for tools, they created the perfect environment to mature their Grand Cru champagnes.
It is here that Mailly champagnes develop their effervescence, stored at a constant temperature of 12°C.
And here they will remain for many years to come, buried 19 metres underground in the cool, silent ambiance of these historic chalk pits.