Champagne Desruets / Hautvillers: Cradle of Champagne
It is called « Hautvillers » from « Haut » (meaning « high » in English). It is high in name, and high it is. Here the thick foliage of the trees crowns the area. On its many hills grows an ocean of grape-bearing vines, the juice of which will shine through coupes as radiantly as the pearls it contains. At the foot of the hills, the majestic Marne river embellishes the site.
Hautvillers: a terroir worth Discovering…
A quaint village steeped in history, Hautvillers, cradle of Champagne, is renowned for the quality of its soil and its black grapes. Take a stroll through the village and discover its many boutiques, its typical houses representative of the local architecture, and its narrow streets…
Enrolled to the UNESCO World Heritage since July 2015, the village is proud to show how valuable its hills, its wine cellars and its original architecture are. Desruets House supported this project
Origins of the village
The origins of Hautvillers date back to the 7th century when the abbey was founded on the hillsides above the valley. The legend has it that Saint-Nivard was once coming back from Epernay with his disciple, Berchaire. After crossing the river, he decided that he deserved a rest and lay his head on Berchaire’s knees. Nivard started crying, so his disciple asked what was causing his tears. He explained that he was crying over the ruins of his monastery. Berchaire then saw a dove flying in circles above the forrest, before it eventually landed on a beech tree. The bird’s flight was interpreted as a divine sign for where the old stone building should be erected.
The monk Dom Pérignon
Hautvillers is well-known thanks to a monk called Dom Pérignon, who was equally famous and mysterious, and who used to live there. Dom Pérignon’s name is associated with the exploitation of the vines and the production of wines that contributed to the wealth of the monastery in the 17th century. More than a century later, due to sketchy sources and the lack of written evidence from the man himself, a legend developped around him as the inventor of champagne. After stopping up flasks of white wine with airtight corks made of bees’ wax, the tale goes that he thus caused a second fermentation to take place due to sugar flowing out. That was how the effervescence and the bubbles that are peculiar to the wines of Champange were allegedly born. The true genius of the monk resided in his ability to assemble the best grapes from different varieties of vines. His science, which is still admired today, is what put the abbey’s wines on royal tables and built their reputation for excellence.