Champagne Lacourte Godbillon, Ecueil, Reims, France

Ecueil looking towards the 1er Cru vineyards

Name: Champagne Lacourte Godbillon
Location: Ecueil, Reims

Best known for: 1er Cru NV
Available from The Wine Station: !er Cru NV, 1er Cru Rose NV, Millesime 2002, Blanc de blancs NV

Almost unknown, this fourth-generation, new breed champagne maker was a veritable find for us back in 2010 and easily the greatest discovery of a true, hidden gem. We were very impressed by the quality of their wines, & the genuine determination to make quality champagne. 2011 will be Geraldine Lacourte & her husband Richard Désvignes 6th harvest (since taking over the business from her father).

Their dedication is already beginning to be rewarded with recognition by the Guide Hachette 2011 – their NV Brut was the only NV to be awarded 3 stars (out a possible 3), late last year the 2002 Millesime was awarded 16/20 by Gault & Millau wine magazine (1 of only 24 champagnes), a Gold Medal in the Concours de la Propriete & in May this year they were just one of 20 finalists in the Wine Stars Competition in London.

Lacourte-Godbillon (pronounced la cort- go bee’on) own 8 hectares; 85-90% of their vines are located in Ecueil all of which are pinot noir, the remaining is chardonnay. The site provides particularly good growing conditions for pinot noir, it is grown in warm, sandy soils which encourage the roots to reach deep to the water table just above the chalk. This results in an elegant wine from the high amount of pinot noir yet keeps a freshness & textural finesse without being fruity. The wines are neither chalky or austere nor are they big & lush. They are fine, racy & persistent and maintain a medium weight & savoury, vinous quality. Whilst they have an Récoltant-coopérateur (RC), all blendings and vinification are carried out on their estate so in fact they are closer to récoltant-manipulant (RM), a grower who makes his or her own wine.