Champagne Girard-Bonnet

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Champagne Girard Bonnet

Located in the Grand Cru village of Les Mesnil sur-Oger, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, Paul Girard is bringing together the vines and traditions of the Girard & Bonnet estates. As a passionate young winemaker, he is bringing organic & biodynamic principles into his brand new Grand Cru Champagnes.

Born in 1995, Paul Girard grew up among the vines and travelled around France studying viticulture and enology in Avize, then a double master’s degree of Wine Management and Business in Bordeaux. In 2018 he returned home and connected his father, Philippe Girard’s holdings in Les Mesnil, and his mother, Dominique Bonnet’s holdings in Oger. Now he hosts an unstoppable twelve hectares of vineyard split evenly between Oger and Les Mesnil, two revered Chardonnay Grand Crus. 

Paul Girard’s parents come from two strong winegrowing families, both established for decades. Philippe Girard of the Girard estate, a cooperative grower from Mesnil sur Oger, took over the family holdings in the late 20th century and continued the family trade. Dominique Bonnet was of the Bonnet estate, who were a grower maker from Oger who produced approximately 140,000 bottles in the 1980s under the name of Champagne F. Bonnet Père et Fils. 

Unfortunately, the Bonnet estate was extinguished in 1988 and the vineyards were leased. The expiration of the lease was the moment in which allowed Paul Girard to merge the two vineyards and embark on the adventure of creating a grower-maker brand in honour of his origins. And so, Girard-Bonnet champagne was born.

Champagne Girard-Bonnet

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Champagne Girard Bonnet Vineyard
Champagne Girard-Bonnet

To date, the Girard-Bonnet holdings comprise 12 hectares mainly located in the Côte des Blancs, in Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, a region famous for their high-quality Chardonnays, classified as Grand Cru and Vertus Premier Cru. Making up these plots are extremely old vines, with an average of 50 years, some as old as a century.

Under Philippe Girard’s directive, the use of herbicides was phased out as from the 2000s. The estate then took an individualised approach to its vines, as each one requires specific care so that it can reveal its characteristics depending on its age, location and exposure.

Paul Girard has now converted the vineyards to organic and biodynamic winegrowing to showcase his practices. The vineyard will be certified in 2023. He is passionate about the use of plants in their various forms, including herbal teas, essential oils, green manure and eco-pasture. As diverse as they are, all these natural approaches converge towards his main goal – developing the vines to their full potential.

The vinification process is a reflection of the estate’s belief that a good wine starts with healthy grapes. The grapes from lieux-dits or specific terroirs are pressed separately. Their juice is then settled naturally and placed in different containers, before going through the natural fermentation process. After that, the wines are aged on lees for at least 10 months. They are then drawn, without fining or filtration, and placed in the cellar to undergo the second fermentation for a period that varies according to the cuvée. Paul continues to explore several avenues that depend on the parcels, wooden containers of different sizes, stainless steel tanks and amphoras.

Paul has also begun a reserve wine, with the perpetual cuvee held in large concrete tanks. The perpetual is entirely from Les Mesnil (La Côte and Les Chétillons) with the first bottling done in 2019.

Currently he is renovating a cellar on the property, working to expand the vinification and cellaring capacity to produce and store wine made from all 12 hectares of vines. Currently, he utilises a friend’s presses to ensure the grapes are vinified straight away and in a fellow organic winemaker’s cellar. Upon the completion of the renovation he will have ample space to explore several more lieu dit cuvees to present to the market.

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