The GATINOIS vineyards are characterised by their great age and their parcels of vines. The highest quality locations in the Aÿ Grand Cru are part of the family vineyards on the imposing Aÿ hillside. The names of the parcels reflect their history and authenticity: Chaufour, Cheuzelle, la Croix Courcelles, le Han, Valnon, Vauregnier, Chatillon, Bonotte…
Pinot Noir is the lord of these vineyards. It thrives on the Aÿ terroir resulting in champagnes that express their own unique character.
Meticulous care and attention are taken in the vineyards, involving predominantly manual work to guarantee the highest quality grapes. Here, the vineyards are tended to as if they were a garden, using sustainable and responsible practices. Vine by vine, throughout summer and winter, Louis Cheval works to preserve the style, quality and unique character of the domaine’s champagnes whilst protecting the terroir and environment.
Quality and commitment,
from the vine to the glass
We harvest only the “heart of the terroir”
During the harvesting, which takes place in a family atmosphere, the grapes are collected by hand and carefully sorted in the vineyards. The Maison GATINOIS is one of the few remaining Champagne houses to select only the grapes that fully deserve their place in the final blend. The other grapes are systematically discarded. The careful selection process also extends to the parcels : only those in the heart of the terroir, the oldest and the best situated, are retained by the Domaine. This rigorous approach is key to the GATINOIS style.
When the grapes are pressed, the human eye is in charge!
The family press is a traditional vertical DOLLAT press installed in 1984 which ensures a slow and precise pressing, carefully controlled by the human eye and hand. No artificial techniques, that could be detrimental to the quality of the fruit, are used. The wine is respected in order to create a Champagne that fully expresses its rich and authentic terroir. The pressing process gives Louis Cheval the satisfaction of seeing one year of hard work and patience finally coming to fruition.
Genuine parcel vinifications and cellar ageing
The musts are cautiously vinified in small vats. After several careful rackings, the wines are ready to be bottled at around Easter time following the harvest. It is here, in the cool silence of the vaulted cellars, that the wine develops its mystical effervescence. The wine becomes Champagne and the Champagne GATINOIS becomes perfection.
After several years’ ageing, the next steps involve riddling each bottle individually and disgorging the yeasts. The latter is a delicate operation carried out using the family’s traditional ” à la volée” (by hand) method. A small and subtle amount of ” liqueur de dosage” is added before the precious bottles are finally sealed and dressed with the labels which convey the pleasure, joy and elegance of this festive Champagne.