CHAMPAGNE HELENE BEAUGRAND MONTGUEUX
The village of Montgueux is an outlier in almost every way. The small hill of a village surrounded by vastness of flat expanse gives it the appearance, as some inhabitants have stated, “to take on the proportions of Mont Blanc or Vesuvius.” This isolated hill, primarily planted with vines of a south-south/eastern exposure is the briefest appearance of a chalk outcropping in a region more known for the flat fertile land for growing the regions other well known crop, wheat. The Upper Cretaceous limestone chalk dates back 90 million years and is one of the oldest in the region.
Helene Beaugrand’s Great Grandfather Léon Beaugrand was the first to replant vines in Montgueux after phylloxera ravaged the vineyards in 1893. He made his first Champagne in 1919 and was the man responsible for obtaining the AOC Champagne appellation for the village in 1927. He is almost single handedly responsible for the village that now is receiving the fame it so well deserves. The vineyards rise 268 meters above sea level and are planted to 90% Chardonnay. Its perfect exposition and persistence of winds allow the grapes to ripen and avoid most disease risks.
Helene’s roots are firmly planted in Montgueux but her winemaking has taken her to work in vineyards and cellars in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, California and Mexico. She then sold Languedoc wines for a merchant in Paris for many years before returning home to make wine for her family estate in 2008. In 2018, she inherited 3ha of vines and began her eponymous winery. This seemingly ‘new’ winery has more history and winemaking knowledge than any of the 20 other wineries in the village. She farms her plots following the ethos of biodynamics and her cuvées show the structure, class and panache of this historical terroir. While she has inherited the knowledge of her ancestors she has decided to make wines in her own style that reflect her wine making style. The wines are decidedly modern with low winemaking intervention, little to no dosage and use of individual plots to craft most bottlings.
In 1919 Léon planted his first vines on a sunny hill 150km from Reims. 99 years later, through wars, occupations and disasters Helene made her first wine from the vineyards he planted. Now Helen’s son, Cédric has taken on the task of learning the family business. Together they represent the 4th and 5th generation of the Beaugrand family making wine on a 90 million year old outcrop of chalk overlooking the picturesque village of Troyes.