Jacques Diebolt, of Diebolt-Vallois, has spent his life making wine, starting at the age of 17 when he learned the meticulous habits of his grandfather. This talented winemaker and his family produce some of the finest and most representative champagnes in the Cote des Blancs from their estate in Cramant.
84 Rue Neuve, Cramant +33 3 26 57 54 92
The wines of Diebolt-Vallois are very expressive of terroir. They have a purity of flavour, a raciness and an ability to age well, so it is no wonder that the house is among the most respected in the Cote des Blancs. Their style is well suited to enjoying with food, and the wines can be found on the lists of prestigious restaurants around the world. Considering everything they encompass, the wines also offer excellent value.
Diebolt-Vallois Brut Tradition
40% Chardonnay, 30-40% Pinot Noir, 20-30% Meunier. Non-vintage. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled vats and the dosage is 6-8g/L.
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs
100% Chardonnay. Non-vintage. The main proportion of grapes hails from Cuis, about 60% of the blend, while 30% comes from Epernay and the remaining 10% from Chouilly. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled vats and the dosage is 6-8g/L.
Diebolt-Vallois Vintage Blanc de Blancs
100% Chardonnay. As in the non-vintage blend, the majority of the grapes come from Cuis (60%) and the remainder from Chouilly and Epernay. Fermentation occurs in temperature controlled vats and the dosage is 6-8g/L.
63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay, 10% Meunier. Non-vintage. Jacques made a rose in 1982, 1983 and 1985 but stopped in order to concentrate on Blanc de Blancs. He started rose production again in 2009. This wine is made with Chardonnay from Cuis and Pinot Noir and Meunier from the ‘Les Toulettes’ vineyard in Epernay, which is blended with a red wine from Bernard Tornay in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy. Dosage is 7g/L.
Diebolt-Vallois Cuvee Prestige
100% Chardonnay from three Grand Cru villages of Cramant, Chouilly and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. This is a blend of wine from three different vintages, aged in oak casks. The dosage is 6-8g/L.
Diebolt-Vallois Fleur de Passion
100% Chardonnay from vines averaging 40 years of age, with some as old as 60 years. A vintage wine, the grapes come from some of the best parcels of Cramant: Buzons, Goutte d’Or, Fourches, Pimonts, Rouillees and Gros Monts. Jacques was inspired to produce this wine in honour of the precision and style of wines made by his grandfather. It is fermented and aged in oak barrels up to 15 years old. This idea was not readily accepted by Nadia and their children, but given the incredible popularity and demand for it, Jacques’ experiment seems to have been a success. The wine is not cold stabilised, has no batonnage, does not go through malolactic fermentation, and fining and filtering are avoided. The dosage is 6-8g/L.
Old Vintages of Diebolt-Vallois
Diebolt-Vallois has released some older vintages that were in fact made by Guy Vallois with fruit from Cuis. The wines are the 1976, 1979, 1985 and a Mise en Cave 1983.
At the very young age of just 17, Jacques Diebolt took over two hectares of his father’s vineyards in the Cote des Blancs village of Cramant. His grandfather, who had been producing his own estate wine for years, was his tutor and guide, training Jacques in the careful nurturing of the vineyards and the art of making champagne. His grandfather (a former cavalry officer) was scrupulous in his attention to every aspect of the winemaking process.
Jacques released his first wine in 1959, one year before marrying Nadia Vallois. Nadia was also from a winegrowing family, and brought with her a small parcel of Chardonnay. Together they purchased a few other tiny plots of Pinot Noir and Meunier and bottled their wines under the name Diebolt-Vallois.
By 1978, demand for their wines was increasing, so they built a winery and caves across the street from their home in Cramant. The wines were already very popular throughout France, but they had never been exported to the US – until 1980. However, they remained under the radar for over a decade, until 1992 when Jacques Diebolt was named Champagne Producer of the Year by the prestigious Gault Millau.
The cost of acquiring new vineyards in Champagne is exorbitant and yet Jacques and Nadia wanted to expand their estate. In 2004, they applied for Negociant Manipulant status (they were initially registered as a Recoltant Manipulant), which allowed them to buy grapes from Nadia’s father’s vineyards in Cuis.
Today their children, Isabelle and Arnaud, have both joined their parents in the family business.
Although the Diebolt-Vallois vineyard holdings are small, at less than 11 hectares, they are some of the most marvelous in the Cote des Blancs. The main holdings are in Cramant (100% Grand Cru) and Cuis (Premier Cru), with others in the Grand Cru village of Chouilly and sections of the ‘Les Toulettes’ and ‘Les Hautes Justices’ vineyards in Epernay. Their Pinot Noir and Meunier are found in the Montagne de Reims and the Cote des Bar, respectively.
The grapes are hand picked and each plot is vinified separately. Fermentation takes place in enamel-coated vats, stainless steel tanks, old foudres and used barrels. Malolactic fermentation occurs for all the wines except the Fleur de Passion. Reserve wines are kept in vats or 40hl casks in the cellar 14 meters underground. The wines are generally dosed between 6-8 grams per litre.