Watch: Les Femmes & Le Champagne
Laureen Baillette of Champagne Jean Baillette-Prudhomme is one of many powerful women impacting the world of Champagne. Learn more about her family, her process, and her inspiring journey in this video below. We are honored to have her cuvées at fatcork, and it's been an absolute pleasure working with her and her family over the last 11 years.
The secret lies in the old vineyards. All of her cuvées contain at least 50% of reserve wine, which lends special flavors and a great balance to the final product. Laureen and her family tend to just five hectares and follow the very traditional way of making Champagne—from using the old press to the careful attention in the cellar, every detail is carefully executed.
While visiting our growers in Champagne, wine-maker Laureen explained to us the process of circulating the grapes during the initial press. Essentially, the bottom layer must be periodically moved to the top in order to get the most evenly concentrated quality of juice. It is arduous work that is done by hand with a large metal pitchfork and, most importantly, a willing participant.
Laureen is the kind of wine-maker who doesn’t cut corners. She does things the way her father did them—with her hands on just about everything from picking to riddling. Which is why we were surprised to hear her answer when we asked her if she performs this difficult task herself.
She simply smiled and said, “no, no, no, that is work for my nephew.” It all made perfect sense.
Needless to say, growing up on a Champagne vineyard is different. While most kids spend their summer days catching frogs and skipping rocks, vineyard kids wash bottles, move pallets, and otherwise contribute to the winemaking process in whatever way their little hands can. It is a childhood that speaks to the legacy of Champagne, and the family effort that goes into making it extraordinary.
We simply wouldn’t have great Champagne without great families like this one, who have perfected their craft over many decades of work. So, when you enjoy these beautiful bottles, do so with your own family, inherited or chosen, and take stock of what it means to share your passions with the ones you love.