Family group of exquisite champagne houses G.H. Martel & Co. is one of the Champagne-makers and a wine co-operate business house from France. The company was setup in the 19th century in the Marne region in France and have been making and trading wines since then. Today, the company is a group representing seven Champagne houses. Their wines range from commercially viable Classic Brut Non Vintages to the premium Grand Crus Millesimes. The group includes:
1. Champagne G. H. Martel & Co. setup in 1869 in Epernay. Present cellar master Mr. Christophe Rapneau is the fourth generation family winemaker and is responsible for producing almost two million bottles per year. The house is also responsible for what is claimed to be the first Champagne Museum in the region. They produce 10 different styles of Champagnes.
2. Champagne Charles de Cazanove setup in 1811 in Reims. The house was setup by a French glassmaker and remained favourites of many, including the English King Edward VII. Till 1985, it was owned by wine giants Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy and today they produce around three million bottles a year.
3. Champagne Vieille France was setup in 1860 in Reims by Maison Albert Lebrun and remains to be a boutique winery. They produce small quantity of Millesime, Rose, and Brut only.
4. Champagne Chateau de Bligny: Setup in 1733 in Cote de Bars in the village of Bligny, it is a boutique producers of 100% single-vineyard Champagne.
5. Champagne Paul Louis Martin: Established in Bouzy village of Montagne de Reims, it holds Champagne Grand Crus appellation. It was setup in 1864 and is the smallest in the group with only 10 hectares under its belt
6. Champagne Charles Orban originated in 1770 in Troissy village of Vallee de la Marne and offers a small and exclusive range of single varietal wines.
7. Champagne Mansard of Epernay was setup in 1953 and is still family owned and offers a simple yet wide range of produce under its umbrella.
We tasted some Champagnes of G. H. Martel & Co. as a part of the Champagne Master class and here are our observations:
CHAMPAGNE G. H. MARTEL & CO. PRESTIGE BRUT: Deep straw colour with tiny and slowly rising bubbles. Smokey aromas with light oak, soft yeast, and white bread dominating the nose. Approachable wine with notes of green skinned white fruits, refreshing citrus punch, and vegetative hints. Its sharp acidity and clean aftertaste makes it is a nice sip. Serious in its appeal, the wine needs food and is will be more appreciated by developed palates.
CHAMPAGNE G. H. MARTEL & CO. CUVEE VICTOIRE GRAND CRU BRUT – 66% CHARDONNAY + 34% PINOT NOIR: Dark straw colour with very tiny bubbles almost lazy to rise up. Clean fruity and vegetative nose with herbaceous back bone and full of elegant oak. Very round and soft, hence, pushing the flavours on the stage. Off-dry and balanced well with sharp acidity. Crunchy and serious food driven wine. Great aperitif wine and a good effort. The label looks vintage but not classy and refers to a grand-pa style.
CHAMPAGNE G. H. MARTEL & CO. CUVEE ROSE BRUT – CHARDONNAY +PINOT NOIR BLEND: Lazy tiny bubbles. Unromantic colour ranging between blood orange and bronze. Round nose with some yeast, water cracker, and strong strawberry, raspberry, and toasty notes. It’s not a fruity wine but is crisp (due to higher Chardonnay component). Again it is a food driven serious wine that can be had with desserts but is not a sweet one. Best to enjoy it with tarts or crusty less sweet desserts.
Champagne is quite an exquisite drink – the universally accepted standard for all things luxurious and love-centric: from a fun party pour to something serious to serenade a good meal, or your girlfriend, or both. Its limited production and even rarer availability (and in most cases, also affordability) makes it ever so precious the elixir. Training classes too then are a much sought after activity even for the members of the trade. G. H. Martel & Co have done us all a good turn by sharing some of the superior stuff for sips and sermons. Here’s raising a Wi-Not toast to the house and the drink.