Nicolas Feuillatte and the enchantment of Palmes d’Or 2006

by Chiara Giovoni 11/10/17
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Nicolas Feuillatte and the enchantment of Palmes d’Or 2006

Nicolas Feuillatte is the brand of a cooperative with the highest number of winegrowers in Champagne, over 5,000. 

There has never been such a thriving period for Italian wine cooperatives than today with great results in regard to quality and sustainability and it is comforting to see that even abroad they are adopting the best practice approach. An example of this is Nicolas Feuillatte , the brand of the Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF) cooperative. The cooperative unites 82 smaller ones for a total of over 5,000 winegrowers and more than 2,250 hectares of vineyards, equal to 7% of the total in the entire region . Production under the Nicolas Feuillatte brand has risen to over 10.4 million bottles, out of a total of 16-18 million bottles a year. This places the Nicolas Feuillatte brand in first place in France and third place in the world  (after Moët et Chandon and Veuve Clicquot of the LVMH group) and makes it an example of the social importance a cooperative system like this one can have for winegrowers in an entire region.

Italy is a very important market of Champagne consumption and for this reason marketing chief Olivier Lergrand, along with Gwenaelle Ramond, the export area manager for southern Europe – who in Italy has chosen Valdo as its importer and distributor – consider it to be strategic above all for the top Grand Cru line of wines. Some final numbers: the grapes CV-CNF transform come from 13 out of the 17 Grand Cru villages, 33 of the 42 Premier Cru ones and 259 of the other 320 Cru in the Champagne appellations This is important to keep in mind to fully understand the enormous amount of work involved in producing the different cuvée, both vintage wines and, above all, the ‘non-vintage’ ones.

After two years of intense work and a 25-million-euro in investment , Nicolas Feuillatte has inaugurated a new headquarters complete with a visitors’ center to show the titanic savoir-faire that exists behind producing these Champagnes. The massive amount of work involved demands the presence of a decision-making team which in this case is made up of three key figures, starting with Christophe Juarez who last May was appointed Director General at the Centre Viticole. Supervising production is Chef de Caves Guillaume Roffiaen, who has set up a team of five enologists – the Comité d’Oenologie Créative - to oversee every phase of production, from coordinating work in the vineyard to final blending. Last but not least is David Henault, the creative element who plays the same roles as a ‘nose’ in a perfume maison because with his sensitivity he selects the fragrances from the over 150 wines made from the three grape varietals used in order to associate their subtle harmonies and find the perfect accord.

An example is the cuvée de prestige Palmes d’Or, with its unusual bottle that to the touch recalls a pearl necklace. It has an elegance that in the best years inspires the Chef de Cave to produce something that is emblematic of the capacity of Nicolas Feuillatte to achieve quality and not just produce quantity.

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