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The cellars are located in Ecueil, just south of Reims. Vineyards are all Premier or Grand Cru rated, planted on south-facing hillsides in the communes of Ecueil, Villars-Allerand and Bouzy, all on the Montagne de Reims.
The classic Champagne soil is chalk-based. The "Franc de Pied" parcel supports ungrafted vines because of its high sand content.
Located in Ecueil, on the Montagne de Reims, Nicolas Maillart is a family domaine with 8.5 hectares of excellent Premier and Grand Cru vineyards, spread through the villages of Bouzy, Ecueil and Villars Allerand. Nicolas himself studied in Bordeaux and worked in South Africa before taking over from his father in 2003. He is passionate about quality, with particular focus on viticulture : organic in approach if not in certification, old vines, sélection massale, he even maintains a rare ungrafted parcel of Pinot Noir. In the cellar, fermentation in tank or wood to suit the terroir, and partial barrel-ageing of the reserve wines to produce concentrated Champagnes with impressive power and length that nevertheless remain light on their feet. These are truly exciting Champagnes that command attention without ever sacrificing elegance and drinkability
Les Francs de Pieds, produced from the grapes of the Les Coupées plot in Ecueil, is an exceptional single-vineyard champagne. After Phylloxera destroyed vines in Champagne, this plot was also replanted with vines grafted to American roots. However, Nicolas Maillart’s father Michel noticed that the vines still with their original roots were doing better, so in 1973 the plot was once again replanted – this time with original root vines. These are planted separately in rows, instead of the earlier and more prevalent en foule method, with dense planting and constant renewing. The reason why this 0.27ha vineyard has the unusual ability to resist Phylloxera probably originates from the heavily sandy soil. This south facing plot in the middle of the hillside produces an extremely concentrated and impressively individual champagne, of which the 2003 is the first vintage.
The 2005 vintage was a year of marked contrasts between seasons and regions. Following a fairly harsh winter, 2005 had a mild spring with relatively warm temperatures all year long. There was above average sunshine and a slight water deficit, as had been the case throughout the dry cycle of 2005/2004 and 2003. The heat and humidity in July produced larger grapes and bunches, rather unusually for the Champagne region, while the cooler weather in August, followed by a very sunny month of September, led to favourable ripening in spite of heavy parasite pressure. The harvest dates were “typical” of those of the decade: September 12th for Chardonnays and the following day for Pinots Noirs.