The story of Vilmart begins in 1872, when Desire Vilmart founded a small Champagne company in the hamlet of Rilly in the Montagne de Reims. Five generations later, under the direction of Laurent Champs, Vilmart is arguably the best of the “grower” Champagnes: sparkling wine crafted from grapes grown, harvested and vinified by vignerons on small vineyard parcels.
Vilmart, like champagne house Krug, believes that fermentation and élevage in oak is the most effective means of developing a full spectrum of aroma, taste and texture. Celebrated importer and writer Terry Thiese raves about this house: “It’s clear to me Vilmart is a Champagne house of unassailable consequence, a must-have for anyone interested in the possibilities of this most suavely powerful and graceful of all wines. Casks are hardly the point anymore. Organic viticulture, (truly!) low yields, remarkable polish of fruit, and the deliberate patient pursuit of perfection makes Laurent Champs’ estate a gemstone gleaming among the chalk.”
“When I first tasted Vilmart in 1981 it was nothing special. But after it introduced oak in the late 1980s, a sea change in quality occurred. By 1991, I declared Vilmart to be ‘Poor man’s Krug’, ‘Mini Krug’ and ‘The greatest grower Champagne I know.’ ” – Tom Stevenson, Decanter, May 2007
“Laurent Champs crafts impeccable, elegant Champagnes of the highest level. The Vilmart Champagnes are so delicious when they are released I doubt too many are purchased for cellaring, but the reality is that the wines also age exceptionally well.” – Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, December 2013
“Vilmart has quickly established cult status […] since young Laurent took over from his father in 1991, the company has become one of the true gems with the perfect wine, Coeur de Cuvée, as its most brilliant star. This wine was the best-made in Champagne during the “off” years of ’91, ’92, ’93 and ’97. Hunt like a demon for the scarce 5000 bottles that were made of this gem!” – Richard Juhlin “4000 Champagnes” (2005), Winner of the Louis Roederer Award for International Champagne Writer of the Year
“Founded in 1890 to Rilly-la-Montagne, the Champagne House Vilmart & Cie is directed by Laurent Champs since 1990. Driven by a real desire to reduce the environmental footprint, certifed Ampélos and Haute Valeur Environnementale, it cultivates with care its 11 hectares vineyard, without chemical fertilisers, free of herbicides and insecticides. An inspired vinification, in wood (casks and oak barrels), without malolactic fermentation, gives birth each year to 110,000 bottles of exceptional Champagnes.” – 2018 Guide Veron des Champagne