Drappier is based in the village of Urville to the east of the district and arriving in the silent village the first time, it’s hard to imagine such a significant producer’s HQ is here. François Drappier founded the house in 1808, descended from a Reims family of cloth merchants and lawyers and settled in Urville. The site in Urville is built over cellars constructed by the monks of nearby Clairvaux Abbey, although given their modest size and shallow depth (too warm) and the fact marl does not create the stone cold humidity of pure chalk, Drappier’s main cellars are in Reims, at 11 rue Goïot. In the 1930s the house grubbed up the traditional Aube Gamay and became pioneers of Pinot Noir. Drappier has been an important innovator in the Champagne making process ever since. The house is associated with Charles de Gaulle whose private residence was in nearby Colombey-les-Deux-Églises from the mid 1930′s and who retired and died there in 1970. De Gaulle declared Drappier his favourite Champagne and the house makes a vintage special cuvée Champagne Charles de Gaulle. Nowadays the house owns some 55ha outright, rents 50ha more and buys in some 30% of the grapes it uses. Overall planted fractions are 80% Pinot Noir, 12% Chardonnay, 7% Pinot Meunier and about 1% of ancient varieties such as Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbanne. Drappier is set in the north-eastern portion of the Aube called Bar-sur-Aubois which has more chalk in the marl mix and is slightly colder than the Barséquenais, giving slightly leaner, racier wines than the more full-bodied styles from warmer and richer soils there. Although the core of the estate and buy-in is Aubois, there are outlying sources of grapes which are critical to the finesse and freshness of the Drappier wines. Small fractions of blends come from as far afield as Bergères-les-Vertus, Bouzy, Ambonnay, Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ, Pierry and Cramant. Two hundred years of climatic and economic hazards have not diminished the passion which animates a Champagne family with its roots in this soil worked a thousand times over.
Complex bouquet opening on to notes of strawberry, raspberry and violets with toasted nuances. Round, supple, its rather lively spinal column tending the whole. The palate brings red fruits to mind; it is both fresh and complex. A rich Champagne with great persistence on the finish.