Champagne R.H. Coutier
Country of Origin: France
Location: Montagne de Reims, Champagne
People: Coutier Family, Owners | Antoine Coutier, Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
The grand cru village of Ambonnay produces some of the greatest Champagnes in the heart of the region’s prestigious Montagne de Reims. The Coutier family has been in the village of Ambonnay since 1619, with fifth generation vigneron Antoine Coutier at the helm.
While Ambonnay is known for growing Pinot Noir, Coutier’s 9 hectares are made up of 1/3 Chardonnay. In 1948, Antoine Coutier’s grandfather was the first vigneron in Ambonnay to plant Chardonnay, a daring step at the time. Chardonnay is now as highly regarded as the Pinot Noir from this grand cru village. Chardonnay has come to define the Coutier family’s house style—a style that marries the traditional richness of Ambonnay’s Pinot Noir with the pure, racy crispness of its Chardonnay.
The vineyards consist of 40 different plots located exclusively in Ambonnay, with an average vine age of 38 years. The vineyards shift exposure, facing south and southeast, which produces a warmer microclimate for the grapes than other Champagne areas. A higher ratio of clay to the chalky limestone in the soil lends richness to the finished wines. The family farms sustainably (certified by Socofret) and in 2019 began organic conversion.
Grapes at R.H. Coutier are harvested by hand. The clusters are pressed with their stems to act as a natural filter, facilitate drainage, and to best obtain clear juice from the Pinot Noir. About two-thirds of the Coutier wines go through malolactic fermentation, as Antoine feels this balances opulence with tension in the finished wines. Barrel fermentation and/or aging are only used for the Cuvée Henri III and the single vineyard cuvée La Pierre Aux Larrons. A second single vineyard wine Le Bout Du Clos sees aging in ceramic vessels. All bottles are riddled by hand. Low dosages allow the natural character of the fruit and terroir to come through.
R. H. Coutier is one of the best domaines in Ambonnay and is a wonderful introduction to the magic of grand cru Champagne. While the family previously sold a portion of their annual harvest to negociant houses, today all fruit is estate bottled. We are thrilled to represent this historic Champagne family in Illinois.