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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Earl Champagne Varnier Fannière : A Great Champagne House

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Varnier-Fanniere Champagne House that produces some of the most luxurious and highly rated Grand Cru champagnes of BRUT selection has a new wind under its wings when Valérie Varnier grabbed the reins after the sudden death of her husband, the soul of the house, Denis Varnier.

Varnier-Fanniere family has been growing vines in Côte des Blancs region Grand Cru village Avize since 1860-s. In 1947 grandfather Jean bottled his first own champagne, until then he was selling grapes to the large producers. Varnier-Fanniere champagnes are all 100% Chardonnay based.

The Terroir is the essence of champagne

Champagne is produced, harvested and blended exclusively in the French Champagne region, so defined by its specific soil and subsoil.

The Champagne AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contôlée) covers 33,000 hectares planted across 320 villages.

The specific circumstances of each village (soil, subsoil, microclimate, exposure) led to the development, at the beginning of the last century (1911), of a scale of vintages. A percentage between 80 and 100 % was attributed to each of these villages, based on the quality of the grapes produced there.

Earl Champagne Varnier Fannière villages classified between 90 and 99% are called “Premier Cru” (they are 44). The villages classified 100% are called “Grand Cru” (they are only 17), 5 km south of Epernay begins the legendary “Côte des Blancs”. Five villages classified Grand Cru are linked together: Chouilly, Cramant, Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil sur Oger.

Earl Champagne Varnier Fannière basement is entirely made up of belemnite chalk (accumulation of cuttlefish fossils, the Rolls of chalk from Champagne) of an impressive depth on the hillside (sometimes 10 meters).

Only the white Chardonnay grape variety is produced in this region, hence the term “Blanc de Blancs” (Champagne made with white grapes) mentioned on the labels of the bottles produced in these prestigious villages.

Earl Champagne Varnier Fannière terroir of Avize is very limited: barely 262 hectares of Chardonnay grapes. Avize and Cramant, neighboring villages, origins Grands Crus, constitute the historic heart of the Côte des Blancs. Chardonnay began to invest in these two villages at the very beginning of Champagne, especially for its ability to take good foam.

The whole coast followed, when the winegrowers of this distant era understood that this terroir was made for this grape, as the wines that came from it were fine and elegant.

Very recently, Earl Champagne Varnier Fannière has joined Singapore Wines, Spirits and Beers Competition 2020 and won Two gold medals and a silver medal. Here are the list of Champagnes :

JEAN FANNIERE ORIGINE 100% CHARDONNAY AVIZE OGER CRAMANT

Awarded Gold by Singapore Newspaper

Dosage = 3 g / liter of sugar (Extra Brut)  This Cuvée is dedicated to my Grand Father Jean FANNIERE who decided, in the 1950s, to stop selling his grapes and to produce his own Champagne. The Grand Cru vines used at the time, located on the Cramant terroir, are still used to produce this Cuvée, and are over 50 years old. The sugar dosage is “extra raw” (only 3 g / liter of sugar) and allows to express all the minerality and the finesse of these terroirs after 5 years of aging in bottle. To taste with oysters, fish in sauce or as an aperitif .

GRAND VINTAGE 2013 100% CHARDONNAY AVIZE OGER CRAMANT

Awarded Gold by Singapore Newspaper

Dosage = 7 g / liter of sugar (Brut) The quintessence of Grand Cru at VARNIER-FANNIERE.  1996, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009… Only the exceptional years are vintage. An exercise in style with our know-how, each vintage sublimates and enhances the generosity of an exceptional harvest. Each bottle of our Grand Vintage Champagne has been made with our oldest plots, the grapes of which have maximum aromatic potential. The pale gold color with silver reflections is highlighted by a beautiful carpet of moss. It is a mature nose. The praline and dry herbs give way to floral notes.

CUVEE SAINT-DENIS 100% CHARDONNAY AVIZE GRAND CRU

Awarded Silver by Singapore Newspaper

Dosage = 7 g / liter of sugar (raw)  The term Cuvée means the first juice flowing from the press (therefore the best).  The grapes come from a single plot of Avize aged 68:  “Le Clos du Grand-Père”. Cuvée adorned with a light gold color with discreet green reflections, the bubbles are fine and light.  The nose is a bouquet of aromas that has evolved over the 5 years of aging in our cellars.  Discretion of white flowers, hint of lychees and dried fruit, typical of great Chardonnays. The maturity in the mouth is there, in the form of toasted hazelnut and pastries, with a well marked mineral finish. An old Cuvée for connoisseurs … as an aperitif or on a foie gras.

For more information about Earl Champagne Varnier Fannière please CLICK HERE:

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