Attending producer: Adrien Dhondt
In 1986, Eric Dhondt and Edith Grellet decided to stop selling off grapes to negociants and started Dhondt-Grellet. Their focus on farming translated into honest Champagnes from great holdings across the Côte des Blancs.
Their son, Adrien, now in his 20s, has taken over the winemaking and is quickly bringing his family's wines to another level. He has slowly increased the range of Champagnes produced by isolating their holdings across the villages of Cramant and Cuis and bottling pure expressions of Chardonnay.
Adrien has parcels in two villages: Cramant (Grand Cru) and Cuis (1er Cru).
In Cramant, Adrien works with 3 Lieu-dits:
Le Bateau: On La Bute de Saran considered to be the best Terroir of Cramant. The soils are clay and limestone soils over a chalk subsoil. This vineyard is planted to the oldest vines of the domaine. The exposure is southern and because of the soil's high limestone content, the soil doesn't hold too much moisture. The vineyard was planted in 1951 by Adrien's great-grandfather.
Les Longues Verges: Also on La Bute de Saran but on the different hillside and with a western exposure. Very interesting plot because soils are clay and chalky but hold more moisture. The lieu dit itself is split between two villages, Cramant & Chouilly. The majority of the vineyard is in Chouilly but Adrien thinks of Les Longue Verges as a terroir of Cramant.
La Garenne : Located in the middle of the village of Cramant. The soils are very different from Le Bateau and Les Longues Verges, tending more towards clay.
In Cuis, Adrien has 9 plots with a large percentage of them old-vine parcels of Chardonnay:
Les Basses Vignes
Les Côtes aux Vents
Les Terres des Basses Vignes
The average age of vines in Cuis is 45 years. The Village of Cuis is geologically very similar to Cramant but the terroir of Cuis has more top soil. (Cuis is the next village over from Cramant.)
Adrien uses organic & biodynamic practices but he is not seeking certification. His philosophy is to have a living soil with a healthy balance between microbial life and the vine. He does not use herbicides or insecticides. The soils are plowed and composting is made at the domaine.