It was right after the second World War that the Egly House was born, when Francis Egly’s Grandfather started in the wine business with 3 hectares of vine in the Grand Cru area of Ambonnay. In total, the vineyard, where the vine’s average age is 40 years, covers around 10 hectares on the Grand Cru areas of Ambonnay, Bouzy, and Verzenay, with two thirds of Pinot noir and the rest shared between pinot meunier and Chardonnay. The soil is clay-limestone, like every remarkable vineyard in France, and benefit from a south-south-east exposure. All the work is reasoned farming. Depending on the harvest’s and the wine’s characteristics, Francis Egly, the current owner, varies the proportion of the barrel’s ages from 1 to 5 years since 1995, in which the wine is going to age in varying proportions, thus letting every terroir express itself, instead of following a steady recipe. There isn’t any malolactic fermentation since 1999, in order to preserve the wine’s freshness and the disgorging dates are mentioned on the back labels. Contrary to Champagne, who sells its bottles younger and younger, Francis Egly, following his father Michel, builds patiently a treasure that allows him to sell his bruts after four years of ageing, and his vintages after six years. Very low production, around 100.000 bottles depending on the year.
After purchasing two hectares in Bissueil (Marne valley), Egly now cultivates 17 hectares of vines, eight of which are located in Ambonnay and the rest in Bouzy, Verzenay and Vrigny. Of the 150,000 bottles produced every year, only 100,000 are sold, and the rest are kept as reserve—today Egly-Ouriet has no less than 700,000 bottles in reserve. Egly cultivates many old vines, keeps the yields low and harvests fully ripe grapes. He explained, "In the Champagne, you can never pick grapes that are too ripe, at least that was the case until now..." The cuvées are vinified in small barrels from Burgundy until June of the following year to get "more structure, complexity and expression" compared to the aging in stainless steel, Egly finds. For the past ten years, he has not allowed his wines to go through malolactic fermentation. The aging of the unfiltered wines on the secondary lees can be exceptionally high and takes from three years of for the Brut Tradition, five or six years for the Extra Brut V.P. and up to ten years for the Brut Millésime. Accordingly, the dosage level is very low—rarely above three grams per liter.
Winemaker: Francis Egly