Jiles's Blog

Who Am I?

17 years spent living and working in Champagne has allowed Jiles to build up a vast amount of knowledge about all things bubbly as well as a very extensive network of contacts, especially amongst the smaller and less well-known champagne makers whose champagnes will probably amaze you with their quality and diversity.

A job as area manager for Asia and Australia with Moët et Chandon was what first drew Jiles to Champagne after completing an MBA in Luxury Brand Management at ESSEC, a prestigious business school just outside Paris.

After nearly 9 years at Moët Jiles moved back to the UK where he started one of the first online businesses promoting and selling grower champagnes, wrote two books on champagne and created an online champagne study course.

However the draw of ‘The King of Wines and the Wine of Kings’ once again proved irresistible and another 8 year stay in Champagne was the result.

Jiles now puts his knowledge and contacts to work in helping businesses and individuals to create their own private champagne brand.


 

Domaine La Borderie - A Dream Comes True

Champagne Domaine La Borderie

A Champagne dream comes true

Domaine la Borderie NB FINAL - copie 1Odile and Jean Louis Normand have been making champagne for many years, but only as members of the local cooperative, then back in 2013 everything changed when Marie and Simon, their children, said they wanted to join the family business.

The family decided to create not just their own brand of champagne, but to build an entirely new winery based around their 11 hectares of vines near Bar-sur-Seine in the Côte des Bar region of Champagne and in October 2015 the dream came true when the winery was officially inaugurated.

Green on green

New-winery-300The winery is set in a natural hollow amongst the trees and it’s not just surrounded by greenery, it’s green inside too. The entire project has been purpose-built not just to create wines of the highest quality, to have the least possible impact on the environment.

Energy use is very low: rain water is recovered and recycled and temperature control is enhanced by the fact that the building is set into the hillside. The grapes are pressed at ground level and the juice flows by gravity feed to the fermenting and storage vats on the floor below, then the ageing cellar is one more level down - that means no energy is wasted moving the grapes, or the wine, from floor to floor.

In a stunning location, the winery is designed not only to present champagne to its full value, but also very much with an eye to wine tourism. The family operates 2 gites where visitors can stay overnight and really get to appreciate the setting, the champagne and above all, the dedication and enthusiasm of the Normand family.

Marie-and-Simon-300As Simon explains, “We want to create champagnes that reflect the different character of the plots they come from and that requires very careful and meticulous study. We have 11 hectares of vines and we want to get to know everything we can about each one and we’re only just starting - there’s a lot more to learn, but that’s the best way to grow fully mature grapes which will allow us to make the best champagnes we possibly can.”

“The vines obviously play a vital role and one of our priorities is to keep our vines until they are old (30 years is the current average age) and thereby to reduce the yield.”

“We don’t use herbicide or insecticide, we maintain the hedgerows around the vineyards, we let grass grow between the rows, we’ve planted flower on fallow plots and we’ve restored the small stone shelters in the middle of some plots – everything in fact to look after the environment and promote biodiversity.”

Jean Louis adds “Our estate was awarded HVE (High Environmental Value) status in 2013 and in September 2014 ours was the first estate anywhere in Champagne to be certified as using ‘Sustainable Viticulture’.”

“It’s simple really. We want to make our contribution to the reputation and image of champagne and you can’t make a product that people aspire to unless your work is based on strong ethical and environmental values.”

The Champagne

Marie explains “This may not be obvious to non-French speakers, but the word ‘Borderie’ in French dialect implies a small house or a small farm – it’s definitely something very modest in size and that suits us because our total production is only about 6,000 bottles per year. We like to think that our champagnes are practically hand-made.”

Trois-contrees-300‘Trois Contrées’, a brut champagne, comes from 3 plots in 3 different villages and each plot has a different orientation to the sun. It’s also a blend of 3 grapes, 2 of which, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, are classic varietals whilst the third is Pinot Blanc from a plot planted back in 1954 – the oldest plot the family owns.

La-Douce-Folie-300‘Douce Folie’ is an extra brut rosé champagne made by macerating Pinot Noir grapes harvested from just one plot of vines. “There’s an intriguing family story behind this name, but you’ll have to visit us to discover exactly what that is…” says Marie.

What does the future hold?

More cuvées are planned for the future: there’s a Blanc de Blancs vintage 2014 and a Blanc de Noirs vintage 2015 already ageing in the cellars which will be released in a few years. Currently most sales are in France and Italy, but the Normands would love to start exporting to Great Britain too.

Marie sums up “We’re ready for new challenges and opportunities and we believe that our champagnes will appeal to wine lovers everywhere who appreciate top quality and something out of the ordinary.”

www.champagne-domaine-la-borderie.fr

Too much of a good thing?

Benoit-Cocteaux-trio-300 There’s so much more to champagne than you might imagine, but how do you learn about it all? Sometimes you just don’t know where to start.
There certainly is a lot to learn but in fact this is one of the things I find most interesting  about champagne  - the seemingly endless number of champagne makers and the diversity of the wines they make.


Delong-Privilege-300This may sound surprising to many people because the only time most of us break out the champagne is on high days and holidays to share a toast or to bring some extra sparkle to a party and on those occasions we  don’t usually stop to give more than a brief passing  thought, if that,  to what we’re drinking. The result is that most people think that all champagnes are pretty much the same, but in reality that’s far from being the case.


For one thing there are 4 distinct areas of Champagne: La Montagne de Reims, La Vallée de La Marne, La Côte des Blancs all of which are close to the main towns of Reims and Epernay ; then there’s La Cote des Bars which is 100 kilometres south of Reims and actually nearer to Chablis than to the rest of Champagne. Each area produces wines that have their own character and if you take things a bit further there are some 20 sub-regions and so you can quickly see that things can start to get complex.


 A secret way through the maze
As with any complex topic a useful thing to do is to break it down into smaller bits and a good way to do this in terms of champagne is to focus on one area at a time and learn about the wines from there before moving on to learn about another region. Fortunately there are a few ways to do this.
One is an association of champagne makers called Secraie – it’s a play on words between Secret and Craie which is French for the  ‘chalk’ in the soil which has a significant influence of the wine.


Sezannais-map-300There are 12  members of Secraie and they come from 12 villages in the area known as Le Sézannais.

 It’s a ridge that running  north east to south west that’s centered on the town on Sézanne and it’s a sort of extension of the more famous  La Côte des Blancs to the north where the finest Chardonnay grapes in Champagne are said to grow.  Le Sézannais too specialises in Chardonnay but here there’s just a little more sunshine than further north and Le Sézannais has a reputation for producing champagnes that are softer, rounder and easier to enjoy than those from La Côte des Blancs.
Secraie held a tasting day recently and I was amazed to find such a variety of champagnes even within the group: the colour of the wines ranged from pale lemon to rich gold; there were young champagnes and old vintage champagnes, champagnes made in oak barrels and in acacia wood barrels as well as champagnes made using stainless steels vats and each variation on these themes produces a champagne very different from the next.

Allemant-at-the-northern-end-of Le-Sezannais-300The more you taste the more you understand and the more you appreciate the subtle differences. You can find out more about Secraie including the list of members on this web site.


When you’ve earned a bit about Le Sezannais you can move on to other regions and in particular to another similar association called Verzenay Grand Cru de Champagne; it’s even more focused than Secraie because all the members comes from just one village: Verzenay which we can look at in another article.
So perhaps champagne isn’t quite as bewildering as you might have though and perhaps  Mark Twain got it right when he said:

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.”

Terroir Tracker - Trélou-sur-Marne

Entrance-to-Trelou-300You might be forgiven if you have never heard of Trélou-sur-Marne and indeed that’s not surprising.

The village has a distinction that it was not keen to publicise: it was at Trélou that phylloxera was first discovered in the Champagne region on 6th August 1890 and even though more than a century has past since phylloxera ravaged the vineyards this claim to fame is not something that the people in Trélou really want to promote

The village is about 30 kilometres west of Epernay down the Vallée de la Marne, just past the town of Dormans where the river is broad and lazy and where one leaves the department of Marne and enters the department of l’Aisne. This particular part of Champagne is called Condé-en-Brie.

Trelou-map
Trélou is on the right bank of the river, meaning that the slopes are mainly south facing and enjoy relatively high sunshine resulting in harvest dates that are often a few days earlier than many neighbouring villages in La Vallée de La Marne.

The dominant varietal is Meunier representing some 250 hectares of the 350 hectares planted with vines in this terroir.
Champagnes from Trélou have the fruity character typical of this region and this grape.

Champagne-sign-in-Trelou300

Soil Management in Champagne Part III

Still for part IIIIt is often assumed that everything to do with organic and biodynamic vine growing and wine making is pure, natural and wholesome, but sometimes the picture is a bit more nuanced than you might imagine. In this series of videos Philippe Brun of Champagne Roger Brun in the village of Aÿ, presents the other side of the story and whilst he is certainly in favour of sensible viticulture and of looking after the environment, he has a few other points to make as well.

In the third and final video of this series on soil management in Champagne Philippe talks about biodynamic vineyards, (is it true that lower yields mean higher quality grapes?)  the threats posed by rabbits and birds (why do you not see nets over the vines in Champagne as you do in many other wine regions?) and about the use of insecticides.

 

 

 

 


 



 

 

 


 

 

Comment Réussir Ses Ventes Aux Etats Unis

VENDRE AUX ETATS-UNIS

En bas de cette page - une présentation vidéo de 40 minutes dans laquelle vous découvrirez

Comment trouver des importateurs

et

Comment augmenter les ventes

----

Ne vous êtes-vous jamais senti déçu après vous être rendu à un salon de degustation

Car vous n'avez pas eu assez de temps pour présenter vos vins et les valoriser comme ils le méritent

Vous n'avez pas eu l'occasion de rencontrer les acheteurs clés et vous avez perdu trop de temps à parler à trop de gens qui ne sont finalement pas intéressés pour acheter vos vins.

Vous avez rencontré beaucoup de journalistes et sommeliers, mais trop peu d'importateurs.

Vous avez envoyé des e-mails après le salon à tous les gens que vous avez rencontrés, mais vous n’avez jamais obtenu de réponse.

Vous voulez recontacter ces personnes, mais vous ne savez pas quoi dire en anglais et vous vous demandez s’ils sont ou non intéressés.

Vous revenez en France sans avoir obtenu de nouvelles ventes et avec très peu de nouvelles pistes et vous vous demandez si vous avez perdu votre temps et votre argent, deux choses qui sont précieuses.

Ou peut-être si vous avez déjà un importateur, vous vous sentez mal à l'aise parce que

Les ventes ne progressent pas comme vous le souhaitez.

Il n’est pas facile de communiquer avec votre importateur.

Vous ne recevez pas d'informations assez régulièrement sur ce que votre importateur et vos distributeurs font pour promouvoir vos vins.

Si tout cela vous semble familier, alors vous aurez envie de regarder cette vidéo de 40 minutes qui porte sur la façon de réussir vos ventes aux Etats-Unis.

Vous y décrouvrirez quelques données clés de ce marché important et écouterez les propos d’un expert qui peut vous aider à résoudre tous les problèmes que vous avez déjà rencontrés dans le passé.

Si vous souhaitez vraiment commencer la commercialisation de vos produits ou augmenter vos ventes aux Etats-Unis en 2016, vous trouverez la vidéo en cliquant sur le lien ci-dessous.

Il ne vous en coûtera rien de la regarder et je suis sûr que ce sera du temps bien dépensé.

Soyez sûr de regarder cette vidéo dès maintenant car le temps est déjà compté pour planifier une année 2016 qui soit couronnée de succès.