Bonnaire produces beautifully textured champagnes with top quality Chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Cramant, in the heart of the Cote des Blancs. It has been family owned and operated since its inception in 1932.
120 Rue d’Epernay, Cramant. +33 3 26 57 50 85
For a Cote des Blancs champagne house, Bonnaire’s wines stand out for their richness and sumptuousness. Yet the minerality and texture provided by the chalky soils of Cramant are unmistakably evident throughout the wines.
Bonnaire Tradition NV
40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 30% Meunier. The fruit comes from Oiry and Chouilly (Grand Cru), Cuis, Bergeres-les-Vertus (Premier Cru) and Fossoy. Vinified in thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks to preserve primary aromas, with malolactic fermentation permitted. Approximately 15% of the blend comes from reserve wines. Minimum two years’ ageing. The dosage is 8g/L.
Bonnaire Extra Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV
100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Cramant. Vinified at cool temperatures in thermo-regulated tanks, with malolactic fermentation permitted. Approximately 15% of reserve wines. Minimum of four years’ maturation. The dosage is 2g/L.
Bonnaire Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV
100% Chardonnay from Cramant. Vinified in thermo-regulated tanks, with malolactic fermentation permitted. Approximately 15% of reserve wines. Aged for a minimum of three years. The dosage is 7g/L.
Bonnaire Rose NV
60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir. Made with around 12% of Coteaux Champenois still red wine, which gives the rose its colour and brings a light touch of tannin to the mouthfeel. The fruit is grown in Cramant (Grand Cru), Cuis & Bergeres-les-Vertus (Premier Cru) and Fossoy. Vinified in thermo-regulated tanks. Three years’ minimum ageing. The dosage is 8g/L.
Bonnaire Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Vintage
100% Chardonnay from Cramant (Grand Cru). Vinified in thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks, with malolactic fermentation permitted. Aged for a minimum of six years. Only produced in the best vintages. The dosage is 6g/L.
Bonnaire Variance Blanc de Blancs
100% Chardonnay from Cramant (Grand Cru) and Bergeres-les-Vertus (Premier Cru). Produced since 1995. Vinified in oak barrels, followed by malolactic fermentation, and aged in 225L 3-4 year-old barriques, this cuvee is the only Bonnaire wine that sees any oak during production. Five years’ minimum ageing. The dosage is 6g/L.
Bonnaire Ver Sacrum
100% Chardonnay from Cramant (Grand Cru) and Bergeres-les-Vertus (Premier Cru). This is a relatively new wine to the range, having been first produced in 2005. Instead of ageing under a crown cap, natural cork is used to allow the wine greater development. Aged for a minimum of six years. The dosage is 6g/L.
Bonnaire Brut Grand Cru Prestige
100% Chardonnay. This non-vintage champagne of great purity is made from the very best of Bonnaire’s Grand Cru Cramant parcels. Approximately 15% of reserve wines. Vinified in thermo-regulated tanks. Five years’ minimum ageing. The dosage is 5g/L.
The estate owns 22 hectares of vines, mainly Chardonnay and mainly in the Grand Cru village of Cramant. There are also a few parcels located in the neighbouring villages of Chouilly and Oiry (both Grand Cru), as well as Cuis and Bergeres-les-Vertus (both Premier Cru). Part of the estate extends into the Vallee de la Marne, where they cultivate Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
The Bonnaire family focuses on cultivating the best possible vines, and the quality of the fruit shines through in the finished wines.
In the winery, all the wines are vinified in tank except the cuvee Variance, which is fermented in oak and then spends a portion of its ageing period in 3-4 year-old barriques. Malolactic fermentation is usually carried out across the range. They take the time to rest their champagnes for a period of three months or longer in the cellar after disgorgement, to allow better integration of the ‘liqueur d’expedition’ (which contains the dosage) into the wine. Dosage levels have been reduced across the range in recent years.
Bonnaire was founded during very harrowing times in France – the Great Depression was taking place throughout Europe, and World War II was only a few years away. Nevertheless, Fernand Bouquemont established the champagne house Bonnaire in 1932 in the Grand Cru village of Cramant. His decision to stop selling his grapes to the negociants was immediately vindicated - his first ever cuvee won a gold medal at the Concours General Agricole in Paris.
Following World War Two, Fernand’s son-in-law, Andre Bonnaire, joined the business. Andre came from a family of winemakers, and he made great strides through his focus on nurturing and developing the vineyards.
Andre’s son, Jean-Louis, eventually took over the winemaking from his father, and he shaped the house style towards producing approachable wines of great finesse. His two sons - Jean-Etienne and Jean-Emmanuel - now run the business, having taken advantage of their father’s experience and advice, garnered from working 50 harvests as head of the domain.
The winery is located on the outskirts of Cramant, and can be visited by appointment to taste the champagnes of the house.
The wines of Champagne Paul Clouet are also vinified at the house of Bonnaire since there are close family ties – Jean-Louis Bonnaire was married to Marie-Therese Clouet.