Champagne Barnaut, Bouzy

Champagne Barnaut Label

Country & RegionFrance, Champagne, Bouzy
ProducerPhilippe Secondé
FoundedFamily property since 1874. Philippe Secondé, a direct descendant, took the helm in 1985.

Edmond Barnaut was one of the first pioneers in Champagne to create his own brand outside of the controlling centers of power of Epernay and Reims. In 1874 he set up shop in Bouzy, where he owned vines and where he married Appoline Godmé-Barancourt (now there’s a name!), heiress to additional vineyards in the village. Cellars were dug as deep as 15 meters underground, and the first cuvée made of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay was launched.

And it’s still made today, under the Grande Réserve label, with its reserve wine coming from a solera system begun by Edmond himself and maintained through five generations of Barnaut descendants.

Champagne Barnaut's Bouzy in the snow

Philippe Secondé is the current descendant and arguably one of the more important ones. After earning a degree in enology, he took over the family firm in 1985 and went on to significantly increase the domain’s vineyards, modernize its cellar, expand production, and move its viticulture footing to the quasi-organic lutte raisonnée structure (plowing between rows, using only organic composts, and minimalizing fungicide applications). Today Champagne Barnaut farms 11.27 hectares (28 acres) divided among 32 parcels in the grand cru vineyards of Bouzy, Ambonnay and Louvois. The latter two communes are adjacent to Bouzy and Barnaut’s holdings in them represent 5% of the domain’s grand cru totals. In addition, the domain farms 4.6 hectares (11 acres) in the Marne Valley and sells those grapes to the cooperative that makes the Nicolas Feuillatte brand.

Pinot Noir makes up a solid 80% of Barnaut’s production, with Chardonnay making up the rest. All fruit is selected on a sorting table. All the cuvées of wine undergo malolactic fermentation in stainless steel, and fifty percent of each year’s crop is saved as reserve wine. The white non-vintage wines spend at least 24 months on the lees before being disgorged, and rest for another three months before going to market. The vintage wine spends around three years on the lees.

1906 cellar of Champagne Barnaut

With its sister village of Ambonnay, Bouzy lays claim to having the finest vineyard sites for Pinot Noir in the appellation of Champagne. Bouzy’s vineyards begin at 103 meters above sea level and end at 268 meters. Its 923 acres of vines grow up the rolling foothills of the Montagne de Reims and face due south, ensuring the best possibility for ripening every year (Ambonnay’s vineyards, following the mountain, begin the turn to the southeast, thus on paper anyway have the potential for more elegance). The result is Champagne’s richest and fullest-bodied wines—the Latin counterpart to the Côte des Blancs’ Nordic austerity, if you will.

The Grandes Marques own nearly one-third of this grand cru commune’s vineyards.

Barnaut’s annual production is roughly 8,300 12-pack cases.

The Wines

Grande Réserve NVTwo-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay
This is the original cuvée, and its reserve wine comes from the batch first made by Edmond Barnaut and replenished every year. The Grande Réserve represents 65% of the annual production. Dosage averages 6 g/l with a yearly production of 5,000 cases. Tech sheet here.
Blanc de Noirs NV
Pinot NoirAs with the Grande Réserve and Vintage, Philippe Secondé looks to avoid heaviness in this wine while harnessing the inherent density and depth of fruit Bouzy offers. The dosage averages 6 g/l with a yearly production of 1,650 cases.
Sélection Extra Brut NV

85-90% Pinot Noir with a bit of ChardonnayFrom the domain's ripest Pinot Noir. No dosage. 250 cases annually.
Rosé Authentique
Pinot Noir with 10-15% Bouzy ChardonnaySaignée method rosé. Powerfully marked by Pinot Noir, this is a rosé Champagne made unapologetically for the table. It spends 18 months on the lees, the shortest length of time chez Barnaut, before being disgorged. The dosage averages 6 g/l with a yearly production of 1,250 cases.
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot NoirMade only in the great years. Dosage averages 6g/l.