Edmond Barnaut was one of the first pioneers in Champagne to create his own brand outside of the controlling centers of power of Epernay and Reims. In 1874 he set up shop in Bouzy, where he owned vines and where he married Appoline Godmé-Barancourt, heiress to additional vineyards in the village. Cellars were dug as deep as 15 meters underground, and the first cuvée made of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay was launched. And it’s still made today, under the Grande Réserve label, with its reserve wine coming from a perpetual cuvée begun by Edmond himself and maintained through five generations of Barnaut descendants. Philippe Secondé is the current descendant and arguably one of the more important ones. He took over in 1985 and soon made a name for himself with his vinous Blanc de Noirs and Brut Rosé. Today Champagne Barnaut farms 11.27 hectares (28 acres) divided among 32 parcels in the grand cru vineyards of Bouzy, Ambonnay and Louvois. The latter two communes are adjacent to Bouzy and Barnaut’s holdings in them represent 5% of the domain’s grand cru totals. In addition, the domain farms 4.6 hectares (11 acres) in the Marne Valley and sells those grapes to the cooperative that makes the Nicolas Feuillatte brand, while saving some Chardonnay to make a Blanc de Blancs.
Pinot Noir makes up a solid 80% of Barnaut’s production, with Chardonnay making up the rest. All fruit is selected on a sorting table. All the cuvées of wine undergo malolactic fermentation in stainless steel, and fifty percent of each year’s crop is saved as reserve wine.