In 2015 the United Nations gave the Champagne region of France World Heritage Status, verifying what fans have known all along-Champagne is indeed unique. However, it is not just the delicate bubbles in each bottle that make Champagne so unique and authentic, there is also a deep history that runs through the land and sets the precedent to each village, champagne house and bottle produced. With over 350 years of history the Champagne Region in France is brimming with places to explore and stories to hear.
I hope that the following photos and story help tell part of the story of Champagne Guy Méa and give you a glimpse of some of their family history and unique Champagnes.
The Guy Méa Champagne vineyard stretches from the hillsides of Bouzy and Louvois (Grand Cru villages) to the village of Montbré and Ludes (Premier Cru villages) also located in the Montagne de Reims.
Long before the expanse of vineyards, which spread as far as the eye can see from the French Champagne region village Louvois, there were rich dense forests and the countryside was filled with woodcutters and hungry wolves. The original spelling of Louvois is Loupvoie, which roughly translates to ‘The Way of the Wolves’. Appropriately named as it designated the route that the wolves would take, moving in packs coming down the forest of Saint-Basle and through the village. So, what is the connection to the Way of the Wolves and the Champagne House of Guy Méa?
Written on the walls of the Winery are the Lyrics from the song “People Of the North”
Les gens du Nord Ont dans le cœur le soleil Qu’ils n’ont pas dehors
Northerners have the sun in their hearts they don’t have outside
Back in the early 1900’s a family of woodcutters, the Milesi family of Champagne Guy Méa, moved from Bergamo in the Brembana Valley to Louvois searching for good fortune. After the inflect of modern fuels replaced wood, making money as a woodcutter was no longer a way to support a family. Embracing the change that was sweeping the landscape, the Milesi family soon changed directions and converted into small Vignerons, also known as a cooperative winery. This new path began as contributors of the great Maison, then as their own Champagne producers in the mid 1990’s.
During my visit last year I had the opportunity to visit Champagne Guy Méa on a busy harvest day and a 4th Birthday celebration of the winemaker, Sophie Milesi’s oldest son Léonard.
There is always an air of excitement in the air during Harvest and driving through the hilly region of Champagne to visit Champagne Guy Méa the roads were bustling with tractors and truck and various fields were speckled with grape pickers. For this reason, being able to visit a Champagne house on a busy harvest day was truly a memorable experience.
Pinots Noir and Chardonnays, are the base of Champagne Guy Méa vintages, and the grapes come exclusively from their 9.5 ha of vines, in Grand Cru and Premier Cru.
Everyone at Champagne Guy Méa was incredibly busy but very happy to share with us the process of pressing the grapes.
At Champagne Guy Méa new and old generation go hand in hand working together to produce beautiful champagnes.
It was from the 1950s, with Grandfather Guy at the helm that the estate took off along with the Maison de Champagne commercial boom and the purchase of many surrounding plots. At 88, Guy is never far away and is there to share his knowledge with his Granddaughter or suggesting that they open a good bottle for a tasting.
Father, Jean-Louis continues taking care of the work in the vineyards and estates.
“Wine fills the heart with courage.” -Plato
To be a winemaker in the traditional Champagne Valley is exclusive to begin with. Then if you add being a woman who runs a champagne house to it, well it becomes much more of a rarity.
Sophie Milesi took over the management of the family vineyard and the future of the house of Guy Méa about 9 years ago after completing her education and wine studies. During these years she has developed a new identity to the family business, putting her mark on the wines as the generations before her did. Sophie has an enthusiastic smile which matches the enthusiasm for the task she has undertaking. But, wine of course isn’t everything, Sophie is also building her family with her husband, Franck Moussié, who came from the Bordeaux wine world, and their two young sons, Léonard and Valentin.
Sophie Milesi is also an ambassador for champagnes, with other female winemakers, within Les Fa’Bulleuses de Champagne, an association of “women of the heart”, created in 2014. Sharing their passion for winemaking, for their families and helping each other is a common bond that formed this group and daring and determination keeps them going.
Although not certified organic, Sophie strives to work without any treatment. Maintaining that Viticulture is about common sense and that she will not treat the vines if it is not necessary. Sophie is also a strong voice in the immediate ban on glyphosate and the implementation of aid so that winegrowers can weed mechanically.
Sophie strives for Champagne that is easy, with elegant balance and beautiful bubbles using their raw tradition with the essential base of all their cuvèe, Pinot Noir.
As a child Sophie, “kept repeating with a smile to the ears and the mischievous look “when I grow up, I’ll be” Champagneuse “!! Do not look for this word in the dictionary, it just leaves the head of a child raised to the rhythm of the seasons and harvest, which could recognize a thousand places, the smell of wines that begin to work in the cellar.” from the Champagne Guy Méa website.
The tasting bar at Champagne Guy Méa was a perfect intimate setting to enjoy the Champagnes by house Guy Méa while viewing all of the business of harvest that takes place. The walls are covered with family photos and records of harvests past.
One of the walls has a record of all harvests and other information dating back to 1994.
The Pinot Noir character and strength of the Montagne de Reims can be found in this Tradition cuvée.
The Brut Tradition Premier Cru is a combination of Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%) of the Guy Méa clay-limestone soil vineyards between Louvois and Tauxiéres-Mutry in Montagne de Reims. Incorporating about 40% of Reserve Wines, this Champagne is aged on latte in bottle for a minimum of 18 months.
A lovely example of the Champagne Guy Méa style, made without added sugars to bring out the crystalline class of the old family vineyards. This was such a unique sip of Champagne with its bold freshness, classic elegance and earthy mineral notes. An exceptional Vintage.
Rosé blended mainly with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir based on the Cuvée Prestige. Bouzy Rouge comes from “Chaudette et la Perthe”, plots over 65 years old located in the heart of the Bouzy vineyard. For this Le Bouzy Rouge the grapes are sorted manually and destemmed. The berries collected fall directly into the tank or slowly and naturally the stage of alcoholic fermentation will begin. Taken from the Champagne Guy Méa website.
Champagne Guy Méa Cuvée Rosa Délice is a lively and fruity champagne that has wonderful balance and is brimming with lovely youthful Rosé characteristics.
This was my first experience sipping freshly pressed Pinot Noir grape juice and it really was delicious.
I could have spent all day at Champagne Guy Méa, with its fantastic views, welcoming hospitality and delicious Champagnes it was such a memorable wine tasting experience.
There is a big difference between enjoying a glass of Champagne at home and drinking it after touring the house in which it was produced, bottled and stored. Luckily, tasting memories like this can be remember each time you pop the cork on a bottle of Champagne no matter where you are.
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