Editor's Pick Gourmet Discoveries

Champagne Gallimard: A Tale of Tradition and Innovation

Champagne Gallimard, a distinguished name in the world of sparkling wines, boasts a remarkable history that intertwines six generations of passion, tradition, and expertise. Located in Les Riceys, a unique terroir within the Champagne region, this family-owned maison exemplifies the pinnacle of artisanal excellence and innovation in champagne making. The Gallimard family has skillfully blended time-honored methods with contemporary techniques to create champagnes of extraordinary character and complexity.

As we embark on a journey through the rich tapestry of their legacy, we are privileged to present an exclusive interview with Arnaud Gallimard from Champagne Gallimard. Through this candid conversation, we gain insights into the family’s winemaking philosophies, the evolution of their vineyard and production methods, and the exceptional experiences they curate for visitors. The interview unveils the nuances of managing a renowned champagne house, the impact of embracing organic practices, and the creative process behind their celebrated cuvées.

Join us as we unveil the story behind Champagne Gallimard’s enduring legacy, exploring how each generation has contributed to shaping a brand that is revered by connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike. This unique opportunity allows us to understand the intricate world of champagne making from a family that has not only witnessed but also influenced the evolution of this prestigious industry.

History and Legacy of Champagne Gallimard

  • Can you share how Champagne Gallimard was established in Les Riceys and its evolution across generations?

Our family has been involved in vineyard and winemaking in Les Riceys for six generations, officially dating back to 1930, but our roots here extend even further. The legacy began with Pierre & Ernest Gallimard, who started producing our first Champagne bottles. Each generation has contributed significantly to our winery, from our 17th-century old cellar to our modern one, which is just two years old. Similarly, our vineyard has grown to 13 hectares, all independently managed, keeping us apart from large Champagne groups.

Arnaud Gallimard, Didier Gallimard

Significant Changes Under Didier and Arnaud’s Leadership

  • What are the most significant changes seen in the vineyard under you and your father Didier?

The shift towards organic practices has been paramount. We’ve reintroduced ploughing the soil, moving away from chemicals. Our winemaking and vineyard stories are closely intertwined. We’ve embraced diverse winemaking philosophies and recently started aging some of our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in terracotta amphorae, a process blending tradition and innovation. This technique, used in our Amphoressence cuvée, represents our commitment to evolving and expanding our winemaking horizons. My father also innovated 20-25 years ago by reintroducing oak barrels for aging, resulting in our Quintessence cuvée.

Terroir and Champagne Making

  • How does the unique terroir of the Côte des Bar region reflect in your champagnes?

Our terroir, marked by Kimmeridgian soil, deeply influences our wines. The clay contributes intensity, while the limestone adds a distinct saltiness, minerality, and freshness. The similarity of our soils to those in Burgundy is notable. A special mention must go to Rosé Des Riceys, a unique Champagne appellation made exclusively from Pinot Noir in Les Riceys. It’s a wine with a deep sherry note and a remarkable flavor profile, best appreciated when tasted.

  • How does being a family-run business shape your operations and decision-making?

Being a family business is crucial to our identity. The blend of my youthful energy and modern perspective with my father’s knowledge, experience, and maturity creates a harmonious approach. This synergy is reflective of the blending process in Champagne making, which is central to our craft.

Experiences for Visitors

  • What can visitors expect at the Gallimard estate? Do you offer unique experiences or tours?

We don’t offer structured tours. Instead, we welcome guests to experience our estate as it is, providing a genuine insight into our world without the typical tourist format.

  • What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the wine industry, and what are your aspirations for the future of Champagne Gallimard?

Adapting to environmental changes has been a consistent challenge, especially with climate change. We’re focused on adapting our vineyard practices to cope with increasingly dry and hot summers. Looking forward, our goal is to continue evolving in terms of sustainability, production techniques, and global presence.

  • Do you have a personal favorite among your champagnes? For someone new to Gallimard champagnes, which bottle would you recommend starting with?

It’s hard to choose just one favorite, as each bottle is crafted for different moments and moods. However, for newcomers, I’d recommend ‘Les Meurgers’, a blanc de noir 100% Pinot Noir with an extra-brut style. It’s a perfect introduction to our terroir and our winemaking philosophy, embodying the intensity and complexity of our wines, along with a refreshing minerality.

Les Meurgers by Champagne Gallimard


Champagne Gallimard’s journey, under the stewardship of Didier and Arnaud, epitomizes a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. Embracing sustainable practices and pioneering winemaking techniques, such as using terracotta vessels for aging, they continue to elevate the champagne experience. Their commitment to crafting distinct and characterful champagnes that reflect their unique terroir is not just a testament to their skill but also to their dedication to preserving and enhancing their family legacy.

As we reflect on this insightful interview, it becomes clear that Champagne Gallimard is not just about producing fine champagne; it’s about creating a legacy that intertwines the past, present, and future, ensuring that each bottle tells a story of passion, dedication, and exceptional craftsmanship. Whether you’re a seasoned champagne enthusiast or new to the world of sparkling wines, a visit to the Gallimard estate promises a journey through the heart of champagne’s rich heritage and its vibrant future.

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