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In the 1960s, the farmer Jean Velut and his wife Huguette were forced to give up their farmland, which had been in the family for generations, not far from the city of Troyes, and to reorient themselves. In retrospect, however, this painful break can only be described as an absolute stroke of luck, because the Veluts still owned a piece of land in Montgueux, a few kilometres away, where they had been growing small quantities of grapes for the big Champagne houses for several years.
There, far to the south of the illustrious epicentre of Champagne, viticulture had been practised for centuries, but things had not been good for the little village in recent decades. Many areas lay fallow, so that after deciding to seek their fortune in the exclusive production of champagne grapes, the Velut family quickly acquired additional vineyards to increase the initially tiny production to an economically profitable level.
The decisive factor was Jean's son Denis, who had returned from military service to attend viticultural school and was instrumental in launching his own champagne collection (1976). In the meantime, the family business cultivates a good 7.5 hectares of vines. Some of the grapes are still sold, but the proportion of wine produced in-house is steadily increasing. Denis is now actively supported by his son Benoit (photo).
Due to the geographical proximity and geological relationship to northern Burgundy, it is hardly surprising that Chardonnay clearly dominates the range of varieties in Montgueux with a good 90 percent.
In the Velut family, Chardonnay makes up about 80 per cent of the total, plus about 20 per cent Pinot Noir.
The base wines are matured in stainless steel, strictly separated by parcel. In most cases, malolactic fermentation (BSA) is not prevented. The proportion of reserve wines is exceptionally high, reaching up to 80 percent in some cuvées. The yeast storage after traditional bottle fermentation extends over at least two years for the Rosé to a good eight years for the Cuvée Patience. The dosage is generally in the classic Brut range, so that Jean Velut's champagnes can be described as feel-good wines in the very best sense of the word.
They are characterised by the typical ripe and full-bodied grape material of Montgueux (Burgundy sends its regards!) and fine brioche notes as a result of the extended yeast contact. The champagnes of the house of Jean Velut are truly warm-hearted and extremely engaging proof that there is infinite to discover in Champagne, especially off the well known paths!
Facts: R.M., Montgueux, Côte des Bar, 7.7 hectares, 35,000 bottles, 83% Chardonnay, rest Pinot Noir.