The village of Celles-sur-Ource lies in the south of the Champagne region between Bar-sur-Seine and Bar-sur-Aube. The area has been involved in the production of wine since the AD 4th century. During the Middle Ages wine making was its principal economic activity. In the early part of the 20th century most of the wine production was sold to the Champagne merchants in Reims, but demarcation disputes prevented the growers from selling Champagne in their own right.
In 1927, following many years of arguments, civil unrest and clashes with the authorities, the Aubois vineyards were fully integrated into the Champagne Appellation and some of the growers planned to sell under their own names. Three consecutive years of disastrous weather nearly ruined the Aubois Champagne industry and then, just as they were finding their feet once again, the Second World War broke out. Fortunately, the demand for Champagne since the end of hostilities has increased dramatically and the Champagne authorities have gone to great lengths to protect the name and international reputation of a wine which is now synonymous with success, celebration and good living!
Cheurlin-Dangin, owned by one family for 10 generations, with the 'know-how' passed down from father to son, and involved in all stages of the production of their wine, from harvest to delivery.
Celles-sur-Ource is a community of 500 inhabitants. In the south of the Champagne region, the Cellois vineyard is on south-facing hills in the Ource valley. The vines benefit from the underlying chalk, covered with chalky-clay soil, which gives the essential conditions needed for the champagne vineyards. In effect, the chalk acts as a sponge, absorbing the heavy winter rains, and providing moisture for the roots in summer, all playing an equal part as thermal regulators. These conditions all combine and make Champagne wine with a flavour and bouquet which give a unique character that is not found elsewhere.
The vines are cultivated with great care. They bear grapes four years after planting and do so for 60 years. Each year it is necessary to plough three times and add manure to aerate, clean and enrich the soil. The pruning is controlled by strict legal requirements which limit the yield to obtain the highest quality. Constant surveillance is necessary to ensure the health of the vine stock and the grapes.
The vines flower about June, then grapes form fragile and delicate, subject to the vagaries of the climate. The grape harvest is at the end of September, 100 days after flowering. The quality is ensured in several ways a limited number of vines per hectare, limited extraction of unfermented wine under pressure, a minimum degree of alcohol. After pressing, the first fermentation takes place in tanks from the day after the harvest and lasts several weeks: this produces a 'quiet' wine called le vin de base. During the winter this is extracted on several occasions and becomes perfectly clear. The following spring it is bottled and undergoes its first sparkling.
The bottles are laid down in deep, cool cellars. This second fermentation produces a deposit which must be removed. The bottles are placed on stands, the neck slightly inclined downwards. Each day for several weeks the bottles are moved an eighth of a turn towards the vertical. Then comes the extraction of the sediment-coated cork to remove the deposit; the space is filled with a quantity of 'liquer', more or less important according to the type of champagne required. Only then is the final cork inserted, held in by the sturdy wire 'muzzle' or cage.
Then comes the labeling and storing. It is necessary to have a minimum of five years between the planting and the tasting of the first wine produced. All these operations must, according to law, be carried out in the champagne wine growing area.