One of the finest champagne producers - Vilmart Grand Cellier NV

Posted by Ian McFadden

Wine First, then Champagne
Vilmart Grand Cellier NV
" of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region."

Vilmart's style is singular, and one of endless intrigue: These wines show clarity in depth, austerity in richness, fineness even as they reach soaring heights.

This goes a long way in explaining Vilmart's cult status. Few Champagnes are as mysterious and ultimately compelling as Vilmart.

I had two intentions behind the special 4-pack pricing: first, this is simply great affordable Champagne that you should have around in quantity. Second, I wanted to let you in on something good; non-vintage Champagne ages very well. Vilmart's Grand Cellier serves as "exhibit A" when it comes to this. Grand Cellier evolves with age into something tremendous, something silken, harmonious, and complex. Currently, the '95 and '99 disgorgements are singing.

With Vilmart, the comparison that comes to mind again and again is Krug, and it's not without merit: There is a certain smoky richness to both houses' wines that speaks to their shared practice of fermenting in wood. Vilmart has been called the poor man's Krug, but I prefer Peter Liem's ultimate benediction:

"Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region."

Liem isn't one to get carried away, but he's not the only one entirely taken by the beautiful wines coming out of Vilmart. These wines have quickly gained a huge following. This is a wine for the bubbly geeks and blue-chip collectors alike—besides being one of the most spectacular to pair with food.

There is that Krug-like lushness, to be sure, but Vilmart prevents malolactic fermentation. The result is a bracing, structured acidity that, given time, unfolds into layers of haunting complexity. Drink now for racy energy, or keep for another 20 years.

That these are some of the most graceful, vinous Champagnes is no accident; as Vilmart's Laurent Champs says, "We do wine first, then afterward we do Champagne."

Our appreciation for Vilmart has been well documented, and every offer yields the same: This is a small house with a big following. Give us your ideal order, and we'll do our best.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine and Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits