It is 1860 in rural France. The son of a family of barrel makers marries the daughter of a family of winegrowers. As this is in Ludes, on the Montagne de Reims overlooking the Marne Valley, they share a passion for champagne.
In 1868 they set up their own vineyard.
By the end of that century, their son had struck up a relationship with the Czar of Russia who enjoyed his wines so much he allowed the young House to adopt the Royal Crest of Russia – the double-headed eagle. It has been on every bottle ever since. Also you’ll see the sword, which slashes across this crest. It is said to have come from the House’s association with Napoleon’s Ecole Polytechnique. As well it links with practice of ‘sabrage’ – the spectacular removal with a sabre of the cork in its wire cage with a ring of severed glass from the neck.
Today, unlike most of the great Houses of champagne, they are out of the town centres of Reims and Epernay and are still headquartered up the hill in Ludes. This area of the Montagne is more suited to pinot noir than chardonnay and the red grape plays a larger part in their wines, especially their single vintage years.
For 20 years the House has been working towards sustainability in its beautiful parklands and has recently released, behind a rich green label, a champagne called Authentic Green made entirely from organically grown grapes.
Oh we forgot the most significant part of this story. The names of the lovers from 1860 who founded the house that now so successfully entwines nature and nobility were Victor Canard and Léonie Duchêne.