at the heart
of the Drappier identity
Today, the family vineyard spans over 62 hectares, without including those under contractual arrangements with other growers.
The Drappier vineyard, mainly located in the village of Urville, maintains the strong identity of the Bar-sur-Aube arrondissement, characterised by the influence of Pinot Noir. This grape prevails here, representing 70% of the estate, supplemented by Pinot Meunier at 15%, Chardonnay at 9%, and old grape varieties at 6%.
Proximity to the vines is necessary to keep a close eye on how they evolve and interact with their environment. Because the vineyards are all local, the family has stepped up its sustainable approach to viticulture, and become certified as “organic”.
The Urville terroir
Since 1808, our heart and soul have been in Urville. The soil, containing a high percentage of Kimmeridgian age (late Jurassic) limestone, identical to that found in Chablis Grand Cru vineyards, is where our vineyard welcomed the Pinot Noir, a grape variety that now “runs in our veins”.
Planted over 2,000 years ago by the Gallo-Romans, then watched over by the benevolent eye of Saint Bernard – founder of the Clairvaux Abbey – the vineyard now descends into the surrounding hillsides.
Sustainable and organic viticulture methods
We use no herbicides or insecticides on the estate, we work on our soil manually, with horses or machines, and we are gradually transitioning to electric tractors, instead of fuel-powered vehicles. We allow grass to grow in a controlled manner between the vines, which encourages biodiversity and ensures that a natural balance is maintained throughout the vineyard.
We also work on agricultural land with animals (horses), allowing us to work as close as possible to the vines, reduce our carbon footprint, and avoid soil erosion.
We apply these methods across 27 hectares of land, which are now cultivated sustainably and certified organic by Ecocert. With our grapes, we can produce wines such as Clarevallis, Quattuor, Grande Sendrée, and Grande Sendrée Rosé.
A new life
for old grape varieties
Over 20 years ago, Michel Drappier imagined replanting grape varieties from times gone by, which are now part of our vineyard in Urville. Much research and learning was required to nurture these vines, which eventually produced the vintage Quattuor in 2007, and the Trop m’en Faut (100% Fromenteau) in 2019.
These rare grape varieties are part of the genetic heritage that the Champagne region acquired nearly 2,000 years ago. Preserving them seemed the rightful continuation of our work as winegrowers, spanning eight generations. The four heirloom grape varieties – Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Blanc Vrai and Fromenteau – now stretch over 3.5 hectares of land, and are cultivated sustainably and certified organic.
Arbanne is a native white grape from the Bar-sur-Aube commune in France. Its origin is mysterious; its ancestors unknown. This vine, with serrated leaves and strong tendrils, appears to have been brought over by the Romans.
Petit Meslier is also a white grape. It has golden yellow berries and needs to reach full ripeness before it can bring aromatic notes and finesse to the wine it produces.
Blanc Vrai (otherwise called Pinot Blanc) was grown in much greater quantities in the past by Micheline and André Drappier. It was only natural that this grape should return to the blend for our Blanc de Blancs, Quattuor, and more recently, Clarevallis vintages.
Fromenteau (otherwise called Pinot Gris) is the latest grape variety to join our vineyard in 2013. It got its nickname, Fromenteau, from a fine white powder that covers the grapes, resembling farine de froment (wheat flower). This grape variety creates rich wines with a light copper hue. From this variety, two very limited Trop m’en Faut vintages were born, the AOC Côteaux Champenois edition, and the AOC Champagne edition.