Champagne R. Dumont & Fils

Champignol-lez-Mondeville (Aube)
Coteaux Champenois
Bernard Dumont

The Champagne house of the Dumont family is situated in Champignol-lez-Mondeville, a village in the southern Champagne region of the Aube, some 90 miles southeast of Reims and Epernay. Characterized by forested hills, streams and vineyards, it is a natural and reflective environment that has attracted people such as Saint Bernard (Clairvaux) and Renoir (Essoyes). The Dumonts have owned vineyards in this area for over two hundred years and today Bernard Dumont, along with his cousin and his nephew, work together to produce champagne exclusively from their own 22 hectares. The soils are a geological extension of those in Chablis, namely kimmeridgian chalky clay. The vineyard is planted with 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. As Bernard Dumont says with amusement, “we grow grapes on the same soils as the vine growers in the Chablis region. There, they produce white wine from white grapes and here we produce white wine from red grapes.”

The Dumonts farm bio-dynamically and are in conversion to organic certification.

Read Bernard’s comments in the Champagne Vintage Reports

Brut NV

The Dumont Brut NV is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. The grapes from their vineyard have qualities that seem less aggressive and more sumptuous than those from the northern districts. In addition, vinification of whole berries at low temperatures enhances this quality of soft elegance. The NV is a blend of vintages typically between two and five years old. It is aged for two years on the lees before disgorgement. Dosage is 7 grams.

Brut Rosé NV

The Dumont Brut Rosé is made exclusively from Pinot Noir. A selection is made in the vineyard from parcels that are particularly ripe and from bunches with deeply colored skins. Fermentation proceeds as with red wines but the wine is drawn off the skins after a day or so with the Dumonts looking carefully at the balance of extraction, color and tannin. This method, known as “saignée”, is a tricky art but one that can produce the most natural and delicately complex style of Rosé champagne. The Brut Rosé NV is aged for two years on the lees before disgorgement and dosage is 10 grams.

Brut Nature

Dumont’s Brut Nature is produced without a dosage or “liqueur d’expédition”. It is therefore without cover-up and must succeed quite naturally on its own qualities. In order to produce such a champagne, Dumont chooses wines that are perfectly balanced and pristine. The wine is a blend of 100% Pinot Noir from 3 vintages. The Brut Nature is matured 4+ years “sur lattes” before being disgorged. This serves to soften the acidity and enrich the palate. This cuvee wonderfully expresses the special terroir of the Dumont vineyard.

Douce Cuvee

The Douce Cuvée is a true Demi-Sec. It is produced from carefully chosen reserve wines which incorporate at least three vintages. The blend which is 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay is matured “sur lattes” for six years before being disgorged. The liqueur used for the dosage, “liqueur d’expédition” is taken from a special glass container of aged wine which has been blended with beet sugar, a local product of the champagne region. The maturing of the liqueur integrates the sweetness into the wine and adds to the balance and harmony of the Douce Cuvée. It is finished at 35 grams of sugar, the minimum for a demi-sec.

Solera Reserve

Dumont is one of the very few Champagne producers who produces a champagne using the solera method. Bernard Dumont has dedicated one stainless steel tank to the project which was first filled in 1991. He works exclusively with chardonnay for this cuvée and has been adding to the tank every year, making it at present, a blend of approximately 20 vintages. This solera system produced its first release in 2010. One of the most striking features of this champagne is the different effect created by producing a champagne from aged wine (the aging occurs after the first fermentation) followed by the typical duration of two years “sur lattes” as contrasted with a champagne produced from relatively young wines which are aged for a long time after the secondary fermentation and thus remain in contact with the lees “sur lattes” for an extended period. The dosage is 6 grams. Production is about 400 cases annually.

Cuvée Intense Extra Brut NV

Cuvée Intense is an homage to the rich history and traditions of the region of the Aube . It is a blend of 2/3rds Pinot Noir from two “lieu dit” vineyards “En Ville” and “Cote au Roi” and of 1/3 Chardonnay from the “lieu dit” vineyard “Voie Bertrand”. These historic vineyards abut the ancient Roman chapel in the village of Mondeville, originally the property of St Bernard’s Cistercian order of monks of Clairvaux. The wines spend 6 months on the lees in barrels made from staves from tress of the surrounding Clairvaux Forest. The wine is bottled without fining or filtering. It spends three years sur lattes and finished with a dosage of 3 g/L.

Brut Vintage

The vintage wines, which are a blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, are assembled and then matured “sur lattes” for five to six years before being disgorged. According to the characteristics of the vintage the dosage varies. This vintage 2010 has a dosage of 5 grams. Regard and attention to quality insures a vintage champagne that expresses the complexity and elegance that great champagne can achieve.

Blanc de Noir Vintage 2009

The Vintage Blanc de Noir is produced from three parcels: Moulin A Vent, En Ville and Cote Roi. Each parcel is fermented separately in stainless-steel tanks and the wines are selected because of their suitability for long maturation. The individual wines stay in tank “sur lie” for six months after which the “assemblage” is made. The bottling was done in May 2010 and the disgorgement in October of 2019, thus a bit more than nine years “sur lattes”. The dosage is 3g.

Coteaux Champenois "La Voie de Chanay" Rouge

The appellation “Coteaux Champenois” covers still wines in the Champagne zone of production. The Côtes de Bar has a long tradition of producing still wines and Bernard Dumont is doing some amazing things as he brings forward his family’s tradition. The Coteaux Champenois Rouge is produced from a single parcel named “La Voie de Chanay” which rises to 350 meters in altitude (the highest in Champagne) and is planted with old Pinot Noir vines. The grapes for the Coteaux Champenois are harvested late and are fermented whole cluster in stainless steel. The wine is kept “sur lies” for 10 months before being bottled without filtration. No SO2 is added throughout the process. Production 850 bottles

Coteaux Champenois Blanc de Noir, “Tailles de Pinot »

The appellation “Coteaux Champenois” covers still wines in the Champagne zone of production. The Côtes de Bar has a long tradition of producing still wines and Bernard Dumont is doing some amazing things as he brings forward his family’s tradition. The cuvée « Tailles de Pinot » is produced from a selection of rows in a few different parcels which are harvested late. The juice is taken exclusively from the second pressing, known as the “tailles”. The wine is fermented in stainless-steel tanks. It then goes through its malo-lactic fermentation and rests “sur lies” for 12 months. The wine is bottled without filtration, and no SO2 is added throughout the process. Production 999 bottles.

Region: Champagne

Champagne, at first glance, seems easy to understand. It is after all the most popularized and recognized wine in the world. It has been endorsed by Napoleon, Churchill and Warhol (it’s the “war” theme). However, once the fizz of gaiety evaporates and the veil of simplicity is pulled back, Champagne reveals a region with a fascinating history that has for centuries fastidiously cultivated a complex wine appellation. It is an appellation governed by complicated regulations that touch all aspects of production, a classification system of villages that sets grape prices and a myriad of styles including: wines of a single vintage, of blended vintages, of a single grape variety, of blended varieties; all of which can have different levels of dosage ranging from Extra Brut to Doux. Dare I mention content measurement? How did a 15 Liter bottle of Champagne come to be associated with Nebuchadnezzar?

The Romans gave this region its name. I suspect that these explorers had already dipped into the “local water” before naming it Campagna in memory of the area around Mount Vesuvius. Perhaps in contrast to the vast plains that flank the region to the west the geological undulations of Champagne appeared to be a similar wonder of nature. The region’s boundaries are basically unchanged since the 15th century and the “champagne viticole” (vineyard area) today spans five “départments” , the vast majority of them located in the Marne and the Aube. The vineyards cover approximately 30,400 hectares, although this area has recently been expanded. Most of the vineyards fall into the following broad areas: Vallée de la Marne, Côte de Sézanne, Côte de Blancs, Montagne de Reims and the Côte de Bar. A complete and more precise categorization divides the vineyards into twenty regions and is explained in the wonderful book Grand Atlas des Vignobles de France.

Champagne became an important center in France after Hugh Capet was crowned in Reims Cathedral in 987. Kings were crowned in the Cathedral for the following eight centuries and during this period considerable grants were given to the local monasteries which in turn became centers of winemaking until the revolution in 1798.

Until the 17th century the wines of Champagne were labeled according to small geographic regions such as vins de la Montagne or vins de la Riviere or more specifically by village or place names such as Bouzy, Verzenay, Ay and the Abbey of Hautvilliers. These wines were predominantly made from red grapes, their color compared to an onion skin or the eye of a partridge and they were gently effervescent or not. As fashion changed, so did the style of the wines to the extent that the producers could control it. The style of Champagne that we know today began in the 19th century and continues to evolve. The biggest change in the last twenty years is the increase of small scale recoltant-manipulant, “RM” producers. These estate bottled champagnes offer a remarkable diversity of expression resulting from the different philosophies of the independent producers and the more specific terroirs with which they work. These more personal expressions of champagne stand in stark contrast to the large negociant manipulant, “NM” producers who blend wines from hundreds of villages and often produce Champagne with a calculated uniformity.