Egly-Ouriet is undoubtedly one of Champagne’s top producers, sitting comfortably alongside world-famous Krug, Selosse, and others. Under the careful stewardship of Francis Egly, a fourth-generation family winemaker, it has become one of the most highly sought-after growers, and for good reason. Francis has been at the very forefront of the ‘grower Champagne’ movement, leading the charge long before it was popular.
The family farms old-vine vineyards in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay – home to some of the greatest Pinot Noir in France. When Francis took over from his father Michel in 1980, his focus was to make Pinot Noir dominant Champagnes of impeccable quality.
He began with the soil. Only a handful of growers in Champagne follow biodynamic, organic or 'living soil' principles; forgoing chemical fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals, and Francis was one of the first. The estate was also one of the very few growers who always refused to use gadoux (ground city rubbish) as fertiliser on their vineyards.
The Egly-Ouriet style begins with extremely low yields of ripe grapes. In the cellar, the grapes are gently pressed with the purest first pressing kept, then barrel fermented using indigenous yeasts and matured in oak. The wines see long ageing on the lees (a minimum of 3-4 years) and are disgorged with very low dosage. It is also no secret that he takes his inspiration (and his barrels) from Burgundy and was one of the first to produce a Coteaux Champenois Rouge (a still Pinot Noir). All of these elements combine to make Egly-Ouriet one of the finest producers in Champagne.