Bonnaire, in Grand Cru Cramant on the Côte des Blancs, is one of the leading domaine producers of the village with a solid reputation as single estate champagne. The wines are well-known and appreciated, at least amongst enthusiasts for single estate champagne, especially in the USA, the low countries and Scandanavia.
This producer is no tiddler. With 22ha of land planted almost completely to Chardonnay, over half in Cramant itself, they are one of the biggest single estate domaines in the whole of Champagne and almost certainly the biggest domaine producer in Cramant. And of course, unlike the houses, they use only grapes they have grown themselves under their own control. Some 220,000 bottles annually are made, with 50% exported, mainly to the USA, Japan, Sweden, Italy and Finland. The offices and cellar are a modern splash of utilitarian architecture set down below the main village of Cramant, in the vineyards. The welcome is warm and so is the impression of a humming outfit on a bigger scale than the average single estate. The owner is married into the Champagne Paul Clouet family in Bouzy and all the Clouet wines are vinified and cellared in Cramant too. The affair was founded in 1932 by present owner Jean-Louis Bonnaire’s maternal grandfather and Jean-Louis runs the business with his sons Jean-Etienne and Jean-Emmanuel now taking more and responsibility in the affair.
The Bonnaire wines are very well made. The Cramant dominated cuvées are authentic mainstream examples of the Cöte des Blancs if you are seeking out wines that show the mineral terroir of this district. But they are not extreme wines and most show a flesh and breadth that is very balanced and appealing. The creamy forcefulness of Cramant is very evident balanced by plenty of lively freshness too.