“Bonnaire makes textbook Cramant for the sensualist. My private cellar is full of Bonnaire.” Richard Juhlin, 4000 Champagnes
Located in Cramant in the Côte de Blancs to the south of Epernay the Bonnaire family own some of the very best sites of Cramant making a range of beautifully precise blanc de blanc and Chardonnay predominant Champagnes. Bonnaire use only their own estate grown fruit from 100% Grand cru rated vineyards in Cramant and Cuis and Oiry together with small holdings in the Marne Valley and Bergeres-les-Vertus for a little Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to craft their small range of crystalline pure champagnes.
Established since 1932 the Bonnaire estate is now run by the new generation of Jean-Etienne and Jean-Emmanuel who in recent years have taken over from their father Jean-Louis who has lead the estate for more than 50 vintages establishing them as one of the leading producers in the Côte des Blancs.
All champagnes at Bonnaire are fermented and raised in stainless steel with malolactic fermentation used to soften the austerity so often found in blanc de blanc champagnes. This results in a range showing wonderfully fine textures allied with richness and depth and exceptional purity.
Whilst the region of Burgundy has enjoyed a huge revival of its fortunes in the past 3 decades as a result of the surge in quality coming from the small growers who are now estate bottling, Champagne is also now seeing a similar surge of interest in small high quality grower champagnes. In Burgundy the best sites for each variety are well researched and have proven their capacity to produce wines of a certain quality level for centuries. Similarly in the Champagne region, the best sites of land are rated and the prices of grapes that can be achieved from those sites will depend on the rating of each site. Cramant is one of the few villages rated 100% Grand cru and these champagnes come from those superbly sited vineyards.
Pure precise and chiselled Champagnes from some of the best vineyard sites in Cramant in the Côte des Blancs
Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc NV
100% Chardonnay made primarily from a blend of 2014 and 2015 vintages for this first shipment. Fermented and aged in stainless steel for minimum of 36 months and bottled July 2018 with a low dosage of 7 gms/litre this cuvee shows the finesse capable from the chalky soils of Cramant. This wine shows the Cramant terroir at its best during its youth, oozes freshness, showing at once great acidity and balanced dosage enabling aromas to express themselves freely. Very pale bright colour with fine yet intense citrus and white flower aromas. Great length in the mouth finishing on fresh and mineral notes with suppleness and balance. This Blanc de Blancs is full of character and natural elegance, with great depth and minerality. It finishes on a rich note.
’The NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut is a clear, fresh and chalky Chardonnay from Cramant in the Côte des Blancs that opens with lovely intense and soft white fruit aromas. It is a mouth-filling, very elegant and finessed Cramant with highly digestible balance and stimulating lightness in alcohol (12%). The finish is charmingly round and fruity but also has the typical chalky texture that gives it perfect balance. This is an excellent cuvée with a delicate, salty, well-structured finish. I didn't see a lot number on the label nor on the bottle, but this should be a pretty fresh disgorgement and is mainly based on the 2013 vintage, as Jean-Emmanuel Bonnaire told me. Tasted April 2018.’ 90 points, Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate, Sept 2018
100% Chardonnay made from two of the very best parcels in Cramant from the oldest vines of the estate from the lieu-dits of “Le Bateau” and “Les Terres de Buisson”. Based on 2012 vintage for this release and aged for 5 years on lees and bottled in January 2018 with 6 gms/litre dosage. This is the essence of Cramant showing finesse and minerality with real depth and persistence. Very fine colour and mousse with chalky minerality and citrus notes and great length and palate presence. A stunning blanc de blancs with impeccable balance even at this early stage.
Tradition Brut NV - ON-PREMISE ONLY
Made from a blend of all 3 varietals with Chardonnay in the majority of the blend at 40%, and Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier at 30% each. Fermented and vinified in stainless steel tank and currently based on 2013 + 2014 vintages with approximately 15% vin de reserve and 8 grams/litre of dosage. Aged on lees for a minimum of 24 months as well as another 3 months after dosage before bottling. Pale yet bright colour with precise and fine red fruit aromas with hints of grapefruit and white flowers. The mousse is very fine and elegant. The palate shows excellent depth and clarity of fruit with hints of red fruits showing and excellent finesse finishing long and dry. Beautifully precise and expressive and perfect for both aperitif and would also partner perfectly with most seafoods and poultry as well as much Japanese cuisine.