About 45km due south from the city of Reims lies the majestic village of Chigny-les-Roses. This village in the Montagne de Reims, surrounded by familiar names such as Ludes, Mailly and Sillery, is the place that the Dumagin family has been making wine for 5 generations. The Dumangin family has been growing grapes in the region since the 1650’s and their first wine was crafted by Hippolyte Dumangin in 1884.
Three generations later, during the 4th generation Jacky Dumangin’s winemaking tenure, the focus was on premier cru cuvées. Already these cuvées had the house’s signature of elegant fruit and precision winemaking. Current cellar master and winemaker, Gilles Dumangin, took over the family estate in 2000 and has slowly evolved the vineyard management and winemaking creating his signature style.
Gilles has added many Grand Cru plantings to the vineyards total holdings that now are approximately 13 acres, spread over 29 individual plot averaging a quarter to a third of an acre each. Gilles farms his vineyards using organic practices and principles though he doesn’t claim to be fully organic. He is a true free spirit and is constantly making adjustments to all parts of his methods. Officially he claims to farm “lutte raisonnée” which is a pragmatic approach to farming.
Gilles is fanatical about his process and leaves nothing to chance. He treats each step of the winemaking process like it is the single most important step. No detail too small to fuss over, and the results are some of the best champagnes in the region. the cellar all bottles are hand riddled, in-house digorgement and dosage allow for each step to be done the utmost care. The wines used for dosage are aged in new oak and each bottle is dosed to order. This allow for each bottle to get the exact right balance of sugar and acidity before leaving the house. 95% of all Dumangin wines are exported out of France and have a robust reputation across the world.
In 2002, Gilles added to his already formidable line up a Ratafia Champenois. To achieve his distinct style he uses Fine Champenoise PGI rectified with a very high alcohol content. They are then aged in second hand oak barrels from The northern Rhône valley where they rest for a minimum of 6to 9 years with some cuvées spending up to 14 years in oak. To say that the Ratafia from Dumangin is anything less than spectacular would be an understatement. Gilles is also working on a yet to be released line of Whisky, aged in the barrels used to age the Ratafia.