“Egly was among the first producers to emerge in the grower Champagne movement. Make no mistake about it…these wines are at the very top of the pecking order in Champagne today.”
–Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
“If there are any Champagnes that fit the often-used description of ‘Burgundy with bubbles,’ Egly-Ouriet’s would be the leading candidates.”
– Peter Liem, Champagneguide.net
Francis is the fourth generation of the Egly family to make wines from their exceptionally located, old vine vineyards in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay – home to some of the greatest Pinot Noir that can be found in all of France. Francis took over from his father Michel in 1980, with the intent and commitment to take these already revered Pinot Noir dominant Champagnes to the absolute apex of quality. His first step in the process was to farm his vineyards using organic practices, at a time when such a decision was nowhere close to being in fashion. Yields were reduced, and regular ploughing was employed. Walking through these old vine, south-facing vineyards in Champagne’s homeland for great Pinot Noir, the question quickly changes from “how are these wines so good?” to “how could they not be that good?”
All the fastidious and meticulous work in the vineyards would be for naught without equal attention being paid in the cellar. For anyone who has tried these wines, it comes as no surprise that Francis’s thoughtfulness naturally extends into his gorgeous winery in the heart of Ambonnay. Once the grapes enter his cellar, Francis makes sure to only allow for the gentlest possible extraction, of which he only keeps the purest first pressing. With the marvelous fruit that he harvests, it’s no wonder he would spare no expense in making sure every step from harvest to bottle allows for the purest expression of his hallowed terroir.
Qualitatively, these wines are not for the faint of heart. Whether you use the word powerful, intense, concentrated, or bonkers good, they are undoubtedly in a category of their own. This is of course no accident, for Francis believes deeply that complexity and structure comes not only from perfect fruit, but also from extended lees aging. This belief is felt throughout his lineup, with most of his wines undergoing a minimum of 48 months on the lees with some cuvees being aged for 100+ months! As Francis puts it, this is critical for expressing the terroir of his wines, lending the wines that much sought after vinous quality.