Rémy Cointreau Unveils Telmont, Its First Champagne, Today

 TelmontPhoto Credit: Telmont

The Rémy Cointreau group is having a major moment, as today the French spirits company unveils Champagne Telmont, an ambitious project In the Name of Mother Nature; its first-everChampagne house. Founded in 1912, the Telmont Champagne House — previously known as ‘J de Telmont’ — is located in Damery, near Épernay, France. Created in the wake of the champagne riots by Henri Lhôpital, a local winegrower, the House remains familial and visionary: Bertrand Lhôpital, Cellar Master and Head of Viticulture of the Telmont House, represents the family’s fourth generation of growers. It was purchased by Rémy Cointreau in October of 2020, and renamed simply “Telmont” this year.

The House embodies a truly unique style: its champagnes are ethereal yet structured, balanced between tension and freshness. Champagne Telmont enables the terroir to express itself through its wines, employing its know-how to help reveal the various facets of nature.

To learn more about this sparkling new venture, we chatted with Ludovic Du Plessis, Chairman, Shareholder and President of the House of Telmont (the former Global Executive Director of LOUIS XIII) about Telmont’s sustainable production (it earned its first AB Certification — organic agriculture — for part of its vineyard in 2017), its aesthetic, flavor and what truly sets this game-changing Champagne house apart.

Telmont
Ludovic Du Plessis, President of the House of Telmont

Photo Credit: Telmont

How did you select House of Telmont when you were researching champagne houses?

Telmont attracted us on every level, for the following reasons.

  • A family legacy. Since 1912, four generations have contributed to building the house of Telmont. Bertrand Lhôpital is today Cellar Master and Head of Viticulture of the champagne house his great-grandfather founded. He owes his vision, passion and savoir-faire to his predecessors.
  • Its values. The House is driven by true core values : loyalty to wine making, humility in the face of nature and courage – the courage to commit to the future.
  • The wine. The wine in itself stunned me. My first tasting experience of Telmont champagne was an epiphany. The wines have a unique personality, presence, complexity and maturity, all the while preserving a remarkable ethereality. Telmont’s style is defined by its tension and its freshness. The house enables the terroir to express itself through its champagne, employing its know-how to help reveal the various facets of nature.
  • A beautiful estate, in Damery, near Epernay, spanning over 20 hectares. Within the vineyards of the estate, important steps had been taken to transition towards organic agriculture. The stars were aligned.

I identified the House of Telmont in 2019 and made the introduction to the Rémy Cointreau group, which share very similar values with Telmont. Rémy Cointreau welcomed this initiative and purchased a majority share of Telmont October 2020. The ambition is to develop the Telmont brand, particularly outside of France, while protecting its master craftsmanship and focusing on organic agriculture at a time when only 3% of champagne vineyards are certified for organic production. The house will thus remain true to its motto, ‘Nec Pluribus Impar’ – ‘Unlike any other’.

Recognizing Telmont’s unfailing commitment to the respect of its terroir, The Rémy Cointreau group identified with the values of the Telmont and decided to join forces. Much like the Rémy Cointreau Group, Telmont is a house with character, boasting a legacy of craftsmanship and a strong ambition. Together, we are poised to become the standard bearer of a new relationship with nature, having one foot rooted in tradition, one in modernity and both feet on (and in) the earth.

TelmontPhoto Credit: Telmont

What does the “In Nomine Terrae” mean for the brand?

In Nomine Terrae, means « in the name of Mother Nature ». It’s our whole reason for existing. This mantra will guide us in all our decisions and actions. It’s the project of a lifetime. Our philosophy will be realized concretely via five pillars:

    • Preservation of the land and biodiversity. 72% of the estate’s 24.5 hectares are certified in organic agriculture or are in the process of conversion. The aim is to convert 100% of the estate by 2025. Champagne Telmont’s partner winegrowers (56.5 hectares) will be supported by the House in their shift towards organic agriculture (39% of their vineyards are already certified or in conversion). This ambitious target aims to convert 100% of all cultivated areas by 2031 to organic agriculture (Telmont Estate and partner winegrowers), compared to the 49% currently certified or in conversion. Biodiversity will be encouraged across the entire estate. 2500 shrubs will be planted over the next three years to provide ‘insect hotels’ in the vineyard, preserving species diversity and promoting sustainable carbon binding.
    • The generalization of eco design: Telmont is breaking the traditional codes of Champagne – “The bottle and nothing but the bottle”: a new mantra which excludes the use or production of outer packaging and gift boxes. Only a sheet of recyclable silk paper will be made available on request The production of transparent bottles (15% of overall Telmont bottles) has been stopped in favor of only green bottles, 100% recyclable and made from 85% recycled glass. A repurpose process to reuse the bottles for other wine or cider productions is currently being reviewed.
    • Achieve 100% green energy – From 2021, Telmont’s aim is to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources and to opt for “green” energy alternatives for all its activities: adapted energy sourcing policy , development of solar energy production on site, commitment to be equipped only with electric vehicles going forward.
    • Overhaul the logistics chain to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Favor transporters with CSR commitments (i.e. using biofuel) for supplies and shippings. Zero air transport policy for supply and distribution.
    • Strengthening traceability and transparence : a new revolutionary label will allow for better traceability and transparency: each Telmont bottle will be numbered, allowing the tracking of the production itinerary. All information relating to the composition and wine making process of the champagne will be showcased on the front label.

TelmontPhoto Credit: Telmont

What are you hoping to achieve for the industry and the category with Telmont’s commitment to sustainability? Do you hope to challenge or inspire other champagne houses in adapting the same production methods?

With our ambitious project « In the name of Mother Nature », we are underlining our singularity. It takes a lot of courage to convert our House to 100% organic agriculture, to stop all use and production of gift boxes, and to explore a way to reuse empty bottles. We are at the start of a new chapter, and we are taking each step with passion and humility. We are moving forward at our own speed. Our aim is to start an open dialogue with other champagne houses and sincerely hope that in the very near future, no more gift boxes will be produced or used, and that herbicides and pesticides will be obsolete, along with chemical fertilizers, etc. We do not wish to grandstand or give anyone sermons. The winemaker’s job is a very tough one, which we respect a great deal. We just are here to explain our point of view and our sustainable vision for the future. We are proud of our unique approach and our unique House.

The packaging is an important aspect of the Telmont brand. How did you approach the design?

Telmont has ceased all use of packaging, gift boxes… In the name of Mother Nature. It is an immediate and effective response to considerably reduce our carbon footprint. We will sell Telmont Champagne without any gift box. Our mantra is ‘the bottle and nothing but the bottle,’ as we believe that what is inside the bottle is what matters. We have, however, revamped our label, which carries a very strong message. We chose to do things differently. Our label is our identity, our ID card. It should reveal everything about our wine immediately: the grape varieties, our vinification methods, dosage, the various vintages which compose our blends. They are each individually numbered to ensure traceability of our bottles. In the name of transparency. We believe this is what our client is after : total transparency.

TelmontPhoto Credit: Telmont

What do you envision for the next century of Telmont’s legacy?

One thing is certain: you will be able to still enjoy Telmont in 2121. Telmont is here to stay. Your smartphone may be outdated and long gone but our wine will still be here, and future generations will be able to celebrate and toast with our legacy. Our project, « In the Name of Mother Nature », which we are currently building, will allow Telmont to shine for years to come.

What sets the brand apart?

First and foremost, the style of our wine. Well structured, yet remarkably ethereal, balanced between tension and freshness… a perfect harmony. Secondly, Telmont is a house with character, boasting a legacy of craftsmanship and a strong ambition, poised to become the standard bearer of a new relationship with nature. We have one foot rooted in tradition and one in modernity, and both feet on (and in) the earth.

Telmont
Telmont vineyards

Photo Credit: Telmont

Why is champagne and the enjoyment of champagne such a luxury?

Time is luxury, and it takes a long time to create a Telmont champagne. Our House ages its wines for at least 3 years for our non vintages (when the Champagne AOC requires 15 months) 6 years for its vintages. Champagne is a luxury because the standards by which it is made are very high. It must be produced in the Champagne region under strict protocols, and this rigid adherence to time-honored standard and a specific region creates an allure to champagne.

How much is Telmont retailing for and when can consumers expect to see it in stores?

Telmont will be launched first in Miami, LA and NYC this summer. Our entry level retail price will start at $60 USD for our Brut Réserve.

TelmontPhoto Credit: Telmont