Andrew Guard


One of the most iconic and highly respected growers in the Côte des Blancs, Jacques Diebolt has been making champagne since the late 1950's. The estate in its present form dates from 1960, when Jacques Diebolt married Nadia Vallois, bringing a portion of the Vallois family’s holdings into the Diebolt estate.

One reason for the extraordinary character and quality of Diebolt’s wines is undoubtedly the magnificent collection of vineyards located in some of the most favoured sectors of Cramant, as well as additional holdings in Chouilly, Cuis and Epernay. These vineyards include some very old vines which Diebolt uses for his top cuvées.

The Côtes des Blancs is the home of Chardonnay in Champagne. The chalk-rich soil is perfect for Chardonnay and, by natural extension, for the production of Blanc de Blancs – Champagnes made purely from white grapes, the specialty of the house at Diebolt-Vallois.

The range of Champagnes produced at Diebolt-Vallois begins with the Brut Tradition, it's very inviting, fresh and seamless with a lovely harmony. The Blanc des Blancs follows and is very racy and fine with stony acacia-like aromas and flavours and a long finish. The 'Prestige' Blanc de Blancs is 100% Cramant and is produced by blending three vintages; the oldest (22% of the blend) spending 2 years in foudre, the middle (30% of the blend) spending 1 year in foudre and the youngest (48% of the blend) all from Cuve. It's an extraordinary wine and very expressive with a very alluring chalky-lemon perfume and fabulous length and persistence. A vintage wine is produced here too from the best years and it is serious, profound and very age worthy. The range is completed by the iconic and hard to find 'Fleur de Passion' that is produced from the oldest vines on the best terroir of Cramant. It's fermented in barrel and does not undergo malolactic fermentation and is not fined or filtered. It's a captivating experience and reminds me a little of Corton Charlemagne but much finer and with an exquisite bead of bubbles.

Jacques Diebolt is a passionate and fastidious vigneron who extracts the quintessence of the Côte des Blancs best terroir. His champagne is made with an extraordinary regularity and a barely reached elegance. These are wines of precision and immense style and I cannot recommend them highly enough.


Written by Andrew Guard — June 23, 2012