Champagne Rene Geoffroy
While this prominent grower estate has recently moved to the village of Aÿ, the Geoffroy name is inextricably linked to that of Cumières, where the family has winegrowing roots that date back to the 17th century. Today Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy and his father René farm 14 hectares of vines, 11 of which are in Cumières. A few parcels are located just across the border to the west in the adjacent village of Damery, while the rest is all Meunier in the nearby village of Fleury-la-Rivière.
Geoffroy’s vines average about 20 years of age, and the oldest are from 1926. Viticulture is described as lutte intégrée, or “integrated pest control”—it is heavily aimed at sustainability, eschewing all chemical weed killers and employing methods such as the planting of cover crops, tilling of the soil and the encouraged habitation of predatory insects to combat vine pests.
Previously, Geoffroy’s cellars were located in the heart of Cumières. While the location was certainly convenient for its proximity to the vineyards, the family’s old cellars weren’t large enough to support the growth of the estate over time, and for many years Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy had to shuttle his wines between three different storage locations in the village.
In May of 2006, he purchased a historical and beautifully-appointed facility in Aÿ that once belonged to Champagne Raoul Collet, located on the same street as Deutz and Henri Goutorbe. In addition to its aesthetic value, the building attracted him for two practical purposes: first, it is spacious and ample, easily consolidating his entire production into one location; and second, it is built on five levels—three for the cuverie and two for the caves—allowing him to work entirely by gravity.
The top level of the cellar houses two traditional Coquard vertical presses that feed into the settling tanks on the level below, with enameled-steel fermentation tanks and wooden foudres located on the level below that. Only the coeur de cuvée, or the middle 1,800 liters from a standard 2,550-liter pressing, is used for the upper-tier cuvées: Empreinte, Volupté and vintage wines. In addition, Geoffroy vinifies all of his parcels separately in order to retain their individual identities and to provide as diverse a palette of wines as possible for blending his various champagnes.