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Champagne Malard Tasting in Washington, DC


Charles Malard pouring champagne. The champagne house is looking for distributors in the United States.

Champagne Malard was founded by Jean-Louis Malard in 1996 in Aÿ, Champagne. Jean-Louis Malard was born in Épernay and spent much of his life in the “world of bubbles.” The champagne house sources it grapes from Premier Cru and Grand Cru Vineyards.

I tasted several of the champagnes during the APVSA tasting in Washington DC in January of 2019. Charles Malard presented the champagnes and we were able to interview him. Charles represents Champagne Malard in the Paris restaurant industry and is helping to bring the brand to the export market. While in the United States, he hope to find distributors.

Interview with Charles Malard

Wine Trail Traveler: Tell us about Champagne Malard.

Charles Malard: Malard champagne was created in 1996 by my father Jean-Louis Malard. Today we create champagne mainly from vineyards in premiers and grands crus. We mainly use Pinot Noir grapes and a bit of Chardonnay to give freshness to our wines and also in the creation of our Champagne Malard EXCELLENCE Blanc de blancs. Our domain is based in the village of AY in the heart of the mountain of Reims known for its Pinot Noirs Grand Cru which is why we mainly use this grape variety.

Wine Trail Traveler: What is unique about the terroir where your grapes grow?

Charles Malard: The terroir of Ay: The orientation of our vineyard faces south, which allows the harvest to limit the humidity on the grapes and the development of diseases (rot – Mushrooms …).

The soil: Our sandy clay soil is perfect for the supply of nutrients of Pinot Noir. This terroir gives fruity characters with all roundness, with acidity provided by the chalk in depth. The vineyards are at least 20 years old and the roots will take their resources in depth to express the character of our terroir.

We seek to develop champagnes fresh, accessible, easy to drink. For us, champagne is a festive product that must provide freshness and great length in the mouth. This is why we do not add sugar and have very low dosages (max 8g /L) to let the wine express itself simply. We also develop a vintage champagne that will be more complex that can be enjoyed while eating.

What is interesting in champagne is to be able to blend different wines from different terroirs in order to find the aromas that suit us the best, and also to add reserve wines that can add complexity to our champagnes. We can also offer a wine from oak barrels to give an evolutionary character (brioche notes) on our cuvées.

Wine Trail Traveler: How would you describe the difference in your champagnes compared to other champagne producers?

Charles Malard: I do not like comparing myself to other houses, each one choosing the character of its champagnes. For me I choose to elaborate fresh champagnes for my classic cuvées, and my goal is to preserve the identity of the terroir where my grapes come from.

Wine Trail Traveler: What is the most enjoyable aspect of producing champagne? 

Charles Malard: I do not try to make champagne with prolonged aging, or winemaking in 100% oak. I do not want to make wines too heavy and difficult to drink. I am looking for simplicity and friendliness.

Champagne Malard’s Les Historiques Cramant

The Champagnes

I started the tasting with Brut Excellence. This champagne is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It had 7 g/L of residual sugar and presented a light yellow color. There were multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a total surface mousse. The aroma and taste reminded me of apples, citrus and red berries. The mouthfeel was lively. The finish was crisp making this champagne great as an aperitif. 

The next two wines tasted were from the Les Historiques line of champagnes. The cuvées from this line come from vineyards with Grand Cru status. Only Grand Cru grapes from the villages of Ay, Avize, Bouzy, Cramant and Verzenay are vinified. I tasted the champagnes from Cramant and Ay.

The Les Historiques Cramant had 3 g/L of residual sugar. Half of the 100% Chardonnay wine spent time in oak while the other half was in stainless steel. The champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles creating a mousse in the center and along the circumference of the surface. The yellow colored champagne offered apple notes and had a lively mouthfeel. There was a hint of mineral and salt on the crispy finish.

The Les Historiques Aÿ was crafted with 100% Pinot Noir. It too was vinified with 50% in French oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel. The champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center and circumference mousse. The wine had a very lively and creamy mouthfeel. I noticed red berry fruits, citrus and freshly baked bread. The crisp finish had a touch of mineral.

Champagne Malard will showcase their champagnes on the APVSA tour of North America during January.


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