Meet the maker | Bernard Lonclas

Ben Goodman
By Ben Goodman
23 days ago
4 min read

We’ve been working with Bernard for a few years now, always proud of his pioneering work to bring Bassuet onto the international stage. His focus on chardonnay allows him to be a master of the style, making some of the most incredible Blanc de Blancs we’ve ever tasted. Here’s why.


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In the 1960s, Bernard Lonclas moved to Bassuet, a village in the Côte des Blancs on the eastern edge of the Champagne region. At the time it was simply an area of chardonnay vineyards that existed to supply the bigger houses. Bernard saw something great in the fruit of Bassuet, a specificity and quality that warranted a bold move. 

“From a very young age, I was already driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. When my schoolteacher asked me what I wanted to do later on, the answer was unequivocal: winemaker. More than a profession, this passion for the world of wine has never left me.” - Bernard Lonclas

Bernard’s winery, tasting room and cellars are on the edge of the tiny agricultural village of Bassuet, a town that pops up out of nowhere as you roll over a gentle hill in the French countryside. Based solely on his own belief and confidence, he pioneered the area as a place to make Blanc de Blancs under a producer’s own label.

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“As the son of a farmer with a solid education in viticulture and oenology, I made my first wine acquisition: “La Touaille”, a 55-acre parcel of Chardonnay that I planted myself on the south-eastern hillsides of Bassuet, laying the foundations for the House. My first cuvée, Blanc de Blancs Brut, was born in 1976.” - Bernard Lonclas

It’s a location that’s as inviting as it is extensive, utilising both modern and classic techniques to produce Champagne. As you enter the tasting room, Bernard welcomes you, shepherds you over to a small table and begins pouring wine after wine. He speaks very little English, so his daughter Mathilde acts as a translator so he can tell his story and answer your questions. Bernard oversees 12 of the almost 100 hectares that make up the appellation. While the region is 96% chardonnay, Bernard’s vineyards are 100% chardonnay and have a southeast facing aspect. 

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“I was able to observe the planting of the first vineyards in the village and throughout the Coteaux Vitryats in the 1960s. I then planted most of my own vineyards and built each of the buildings that make up our House today. It was a great opportunity to participate in the birth of this beautiful terroir.” - Bernard Lonclas

Bernard’s wines exemplify all that make Blanc de Blancs so enticing. In his own words they’re “sophisticated, delicate and fresh”, and that’s on full show in every glass. There’s a citrusy backbone, body and tension, floral notes and secondary hints such as honeycomb, green tea, cassis and spice.

“I particularly enjoy sipping a glass of Vintage Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 2015 to a jazz tune with friends to share an aperitif with champagne lovers, and then continuing the meal with a Vintage Brut. I am particularly fond of our Cuvée Prestige Extra Dry for long, festive summer evenings with friends!” - Bernard Lonclas

They’re clean and powerful wines, but always in balance with a lingering finish. The critics have taken notice as well with James Suckling recently scoring three of the wines with a 97 and two 95 point ratings. And it’s the Brut that Bernard is most proud of, due to the finesse and the incomparable aromatic elegance of the terroir that he's managed to charm into bottle.

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“I only make my vintages in the best years, from my oldest vines. After careful deliberation, I select the most representative cuvées of the year. I do not plan to create a new cuvée - I prefer to strive for perfection in current cuvées.” - Bernard Lonclas

Big changes are difficult and rare in French wine, so it’s quite exciting to be able to work with someone as bold and visionary as Bernard. Stock up on the latest arrivals whilst you can - they won’t be around for long.

Shop Bernard Lonclas here.

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Liquor Licence No. 36300937

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