On the Trail

CHARLES ELNER

On the opposite side of Epernay from the glitzy Avenue de Champagne is one of the best kept secrets in the region. Champagne Charles Ellner is a small scale negociant, but everything in this offering is estate grown. They are lucky to own 120 acres across five sub regions of Champagne, with a very important proportion of old vines. They are one of the biggest land holders in the Côtes d’Epernay, the vineyard inside the city limits. They also have a very large holding in the grand cru of Chouilly, five premier crus on the mountain of Reims, two crus in the western valley of the marne and plots in the Sezanne and the Aube. They have almost no plants of less than 25 years old, and a full third of their vineyard is true old vines- planted to old massal selected material. This does a lot to explain the striking quality of their wines. The third generation is now in charge and they do not cut corners or rush the wines. They never allow the wines to go through malolactic, and the youngest wine in this offering was kept for over six years on the lees. Luckily they have more than two kilometers of cellars to store all of the bottles! As a group, the wines have wonderful toasty flavors, richness, and the kind of depth and complexity that can only come from age. The wines are very age worthy if you decide to keep them longer

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