The Moutard-Diligent family can trace their history of viticulture as far back as 1642, but it was not until the 1920s that they began producing champagne under their own name. Today, under the stewardship of François, Veronique, and Agnes Moutard, the estate consists of 22.5 hectares of vines in the Côte des Bar region of southern Champagne.
The origins of the vineyard go back to Gallo-Roman times. Along with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, the family is one of the few to still nurture the permitted Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc grapes, instilling these almost forgotten varieties with a new lease of life. Moutard produce a full range of champagnes, including the unique Cuvée des 6 Cépages, made from six different varieties, the only one of its kind. The non-vintage wines are all aged for at least three years, the vintage and prestige champagnes for ten to fifteen.
Both Moutard's rosé and Grande Cuvée non-vintage bottlings are produced from 100% Pinot Noir, with additional complexity achieved through the use of older reserve stocks. The Grande Cuvée is a stand-out wine, its seductive bouquet of peaches and pears underpinned by touches of almond and brioche. Wonderfully fresh, with creamy textures and an elegant sign-off, it's an ideal aperitif, but has the weight for food as well. Soaked on its skins, the rosé is a benchmark of the genre, the nose complex, the rich and creamy flavours of strawberry and blackcurrant overlaid with a superb smoky, textural quality.
Their méthode traditionnelle is a fantastic sub-$20 French sparkler, produced under the label of Famille Moutard and made just outside the Champagne region from 100% Chardonnay fruit. While Moutard may lack the fame of some of the other marques, their softly-textured wines are nonetheless very impressive, and flying, as they do, somewhat under the radar, they offer exceptional value.