Established in 1930, Egly-Ouriet is today run by the very talented and focused Francis Egly. The estate possesses 8.5 hectares of grand cru vineyards primarily in Ambonnay, with small holdings in Bouzy and Verzenay. They also own a small plot of old vine Pinot Meunier planted in the sixties, in the premier cru village of Vrigny which is vinified and bottled seperately.
The average vine age is about 45 years, while the grapes destined for the Blanc de Noirs were planted back in 1946. Not surprisingly, with such prime vineyard locations 75% of the plantings are Pinot Noir with the remainder mostly Chardonnay.
The vineyards are managed under environmentally sound practices. They no longer use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or anti-fungal sprays. The soil is manured, and ploughed for aeration. The practice of 'green-harvesting' - whereby a percentage of the crop is removed to intensify and concentrate the remaining fruit, has become common in the finest vineyards of Burgundy, but is extremely rare in Champagne. At Egly-Ouriet, a severe green harvest is performed during the summer reducing the crop by half to what is typical for the rest of the region. This allows the grapes to be harvested at full ripeness and as a result, fruit is brought in with a potential alcohol between 12.5% and 13.5%, impressive figures for the Champagne vineyards. Francis believes that “Maturity is great in Champagne; sur-maturite I’m not so sure. But in any case, our biggest problem in the region is under-maturity”.
In the cellar, the wines are fermented in oak using only natural yeasts. They are never fined or filtered before bottling for the second fermentation, and use of sulphur is kept as low as possible.The wines will spend a minimum of at least three years on lees and can be much longer. Due to the ripeness levels achieved in the grapes, dosage is kept to an absolute minimum and in the case of the Blanc de Noirs V.V - it is simply not required.
Francis Egly is one of the most conscientious, skilled vignerons in Champagne today achieving cult status for his hard work, dedication and attention to detail. Boldly challenging the traditional norm of high yields, high dosage and blending across many areas to achieve a house style, has chosen instead to produce vinous, terroir-expressive Champagnes which are unique and incredible. The wines of Egly-Ouriet are rich and powerful, with deep colours, hedonistic aromas and explosive, layered personalities in the mouth. If you have not had the pleasure to have tried these wines before, be prepared for wines that are beyond the traditional Champagne styles
"Few producers can equal Francis Egly in skill and experience, and larger houses cannot hope to emulate the cultivation norms..." -Michel Bettane & Thierry Desseauve, 'The World's Greatest Wines'
"Egly-Ouriet manages for Pinot Noir: wines of riveting concentration and purity" - Andrew Jefford; 'The New France'
“Here’s a récoltant-manipulant who has progressed in the past 10 years to the point of achieving cult status, besieged by fans around the world and frequently envied by less-hardworking winemakers.”- Classement des Milleurs, Vins de France 2005