A few attributes that often pop up when Francis Egly is mentioned among the biggest names of the wine region: grand cru villages, an emphasis on Pinot Noir, ripe grapes, long ageing, and a concentrated, vinous texture.
It was difficult to get in touch with the iconic winery, and we left after a brief walk around the cellar, the tasting of three freshly disgorged wines and some brief answers given to our few, long questions. Still, we had no feeling of lacking. Here, they didn’t talk to us about experimental wines or exciting technological innovations. The philosophy of winemaking has been unchanged since the early vintages, the style of the winery is constant and the winemaker is composed and consummate. He was among the first in Champagne who, based on inspiration from Burgundy, started making wines based on place-of-growth character with organic cultivation, low yields and riper grapes. Francis Egly is a cult figure, yet he quietly takes part in the life of the wine region. He spends most of his time in Ambonnay, on the family estate.
he four-member family and their three colleagues harvest from 12 hectares, from three grand cru villages (Ambonnay, Verzenay, Bouzy) and from an old plantation of Pinot Meunier grown on a premier cru plot. At the cellar, they use new Coquard presses, and they work with the first press fraction – the cuvée. The must is typically fermented in barrels that have been made for the winery for years by Burgundian cooper-winemaker Dominique Laurent. At the time of bottling in July, they blend the wines of the three grand cru villages with 50% reserve wine, and the secondary fermentation is followed by at least three years of ageing on the lees.
The Egly-Ouriet style differs from the usual. It has a broader and more complex structure, the palate is very vinous, while the bubbles are restrained. This finesse and richness is typical of the greatest white wines. Altogether, we brought back one pallet of the three freshly-disgorged champagnes.
These champagnes can be purchased in a limited number, either online or at our Lánchíd utca shop.