• Pierre Cheval-Gatinois, of Champagne Gatinois in Aÿ

    I was surprised and saddened by the news today that Pierre Cheval has passed away at the age of 66. Proprietor of Champagne Gatinois in Aÿ, he was also the primary personality behind Champagne’s inscription last year on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

    Cheval originally had a career in the French interior ministry, before taking over the Gatinois estate in 1980 with his wife Marie-Paule Gatinois. At their 7.2-hectare estate, whose vineyards are entirely in the grand cru village of Aÿ, he made champagnes of bold flavor and ample body, with personalities as expansive and effusive as his own. When I first met him about fifteen years ago in Aÿ, I asked him to describe his wi
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