Champagne Spotlight | Franck Bonville, Avize

by Angus Barcroft

A tiny part of the wine market as a whole (as explored in Charles Lea’s blog here), grower Champagne has a disproportionate share of characterful, remarkable wines, thanks to the passionate vignerons behind the wines. We’re shining a spotlight on our portfolio of grower champagnes this year, each month highlighting a different producer – this month: Franck Bonville.

Franck Bonville harvest

On the final day of our visits surrounding the annual Printemps des Champagnes jamboree last year, we stopped in Avize to visit Champagne Franck Bonville, one the newer signings in our 17-producer-strong Grower Champagne selection, where we were welcomed warmly by Ferdinand Ruelle-Dudel, Olivier Bonville’s son-in-law.

As so often on these visits, it is the touch of the first wine on your palate which lets you know whether you are on to a winner. In this case it was the the entry-level Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru which showed the way into the house style, a combination of the breezy energy and precision of Chardonnay from the Grand Cru chalk vineyards, with generosity and autolytic complexity.

Unisson, the second wine in the line-up, is Bonville’s premium non-vintage Blanc de Blancs, again all Grand Cru Chardonnay, from the best plots and older vines. As the name suggests, this cuvée is designed to bring this combination of terroir transparency and winemaking skill to its fullest expression, an intensifying of the generosity which comes in part from full malolactic fermentation which helps to fatten the palate, and from long ageing on the lees in bottle which develops the flavours of baking and brioche. This cuvée, which they describe as emblematic of the domaine, represents a distinct step up, even after the deliciousness of the Blanc de Blancs.

Franck Bonville tasting line up


UNISSON Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru
Champagne Franck Bonville NV

France, Champagne
Chardonnay | 12.5%
Grand Cru

“Lemon pie, apple pie. But then marvellous acidity. Like a thousand tiny, tiny cuboids in the mouth. Baked apple, golden fresh apple skin, touch of papaya and papaya seed, crunchy pear. There is both complexity and charm in this full-bodied but well-defined wine, finishing on a note of floral spice.

Drinking range: 2023 – 2028
17 | Tamlyn Currin, JancisRobinson

£49.95 single bottle
£45.95 in a full or mixed case of 6
Order Here

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