The original Nicolas Chiquet planted his first vines in 1746. Since then eight generations have carried on the family tradition. Gaston Chiquet launched his own brand in 1935.
Gaston Chiquet expanded his vineyard holdings and continued to produce estate-bottled champagne, eventually passing the estate on to his son Claude. Today the estate is in the hand of Claude Chiquet’s two sons: Antoine, who has been at the estate since 1982, and Nicolas, who began in 1991.
They now own 22ha covering Dizy, Ay, Mareuil-sur-Ay and Hautvillers. The proportions cultivated are Chardonnay 40%, Pinot Meunier 40% and Pinot Noir 20%. Dizy has a 1er Cru classification with a rating of 95% and has much in common with the neighbouring village of Ay.
The wines are composed entirely of premier and grand cru grapes. Incidentally, Nicolas Chiquet notes that they always seem to harvest a slightly lower quantity of grapes than their neighbors. He attributes this to old vines, old soils and the lack of high production clones, as almost all of the Chiquet vineyards are still selection massale (i.e., replanting a vineyard by propagating cuttings from a small number of plants in the vineyard).
There is no wood used in the cellar, as the Chiquets feel that the wines already have a lot of body and character in this area, and barrels would make the wine too heavy. “We are not making wines as winemakers,” says Nicolas Chiquet. “We are adapting our methods to the land.” In fact, Claude Chiquet had already decreased the barrel program here in the 1950s in favor of concrete and glass-lined tanks, as he sought to impart more finesse into his wines and make them less weighty. Malolactic is always allowed to occur in order to decrease the harshness of malic acidity, as well as to allow for the use of less dosage at disgorgement, and in fact, dosage is carefully thought out here: dosage has been steadily decreasing in recent times, not because of fashion, but because of the greater maturity of the grapes due to increasingly warmer weather.
The Chiquets are cousins of Jean-Hervé and Laurent Chiquet from Champagne Jacquesson, also situated in Dizy.