The existing family farm which is now managed by Olivier Langlais, dates back to 1822, starting with an old Champagne family under Olivier Langlais’ great-great-great grandfather Nicolas Bailly.
At this time, the family was living on small surfaces and trading small amount of grapes.
Nicolas’ son, Ernest Bailly, took over the vine culture in 1852 with his spouse also coming from a growers’ family. The exploitation got bigger. Their son Emile (Olivier’s great-grandfather) succeeds to his father with his spouse Lucie, and manage vineyards as well as fields to feed the horses. They are touched by the Champagne crisis in 1911 with the riots of the wine growers.
This is from this period that the General Syndicate of Winegrowers was born (1919) and the first Champagne Cooperative as well, the COGEVI (1921)
Emile is wounded during the First World War and died in 1927 from his wounds. Olivier’s grand-father Gabriel Bailly who was born in 1921, took over the farm a little time before the Second World War, but he was made prisoner in 1942 and was sent to Germany work camp until 1944.
Back to France at the end of the war, he will develop the farm and participate to the expansion of cooperatives in Champagne. The farm will be shared among their tree daugthers, among whom Marie-Chantal (Olivier’s mother).
Marie-Chantal got married to Etienne Langlais in 1967, who iscoming from a family of growers in Villers-Aux-Noeuds.In 1965, the Champagne AOC get spanned and Olivier’s parents obtained a new parcel of cereals of 2 ha classified in Champagne AOC. It will be planted with vines between 1965 and 1967.
In 1971, they purchased 1 ha 42 ares in Vallée de l’Ardre, 25 km away. In the 70’s, they adhered to the Cooperative of Villedommange. Olivier LANGLAIS will take over the farm step by step between 2001 and 2006.
In 2009 the farm turned into an EARL (Agriculture Enterprise Limited) and invested in a cellar, creating the brand Solemme. In 2010 the company sold its first bottles under Champagne Solemme.
In January 2010, they made a request for « Certification Biologique » on the Chardonnay grape, which was accepted and completed later on by the same certification in 2015 on grapes Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir premier Cru.
Currently, Champagne Solemme counts 6 ha 11 ares spread on 6 villages: 4 ha 70 in Premier Crus and 1 ha 41 in other crus.
They cultivate 3 ha 85 of Pinot Meunier, 0 ha 46 ares of Pinot noir and 1 ha 80 of Chardonnay.
The soils are various. 2 ha are on calcareous soils combined with chalk on the plain and suitable for Chardonnay but also for Pinot Meunier for its resistance to spring frosts.
1 ha 65 is planted on argilo-calcareous soils with some sandy parts.
0 ha 90 is planted on limon-calcareous soils offering vigour to the vine.
And 1 ha 40 located 25 km away is planted on argilo-calcareous soils with a strong presence of limestone.
The harvest is divided in 2 parts: 30% is sold to wine merchants, 70% is carefully selected for the brand Solemme
The « cow-horn manure » is used from spring to autumn and is applied to the soil. The goal is to stimulate the life of the soil and enhance the exchange between the roots of the vines and the fertilising elements of the soil. The plant must be able to take the elements that she needs instead of being fed excessively. The cow-horn manure will help the vine to develop harmoniously.
“Horn silica” (ground silica made into a paste and put into cow horns) is used at the plant stage of development, during spring, when the vine has 5-6 leaves. It helps the leaf development, the flower balance as well as the necessary energy for a regular growth. It will also balance the strong power put in the soil through the cow-horn manure.
These two products are dynamised by a “Dynamiser Machine”, a cylindrical copper container with a stirring device that whirls pure water for one hour in order to eliminate oxygen tension.
To sum-up, the idea is to create a favourable environment to the development of the vine and to ensure its protection against the diseases.
Bio-dynamics techniques will bring balance and a nice acidity to the wines, with a lot of floral aromas and a nice structure giving complex length in the mouth.
In complement to biodynamics, DomaineSolemme is using the technique of “Oxygenated Compost Tea”. The goal here is to bring a complexity of elements living in the soils and enhance the interactions between the roots and the soil. The more the living mass is important, the more the vine will be able to extract the elements she needs so as to obtain complex, aromatic and balance wines.
In order to complete the two previous techniques, they are combined with dehydrated lucerne. Spread on the soil, the lucerne will feed the living mass in the soil so as to reinforce the synergy between the soil and the roots.
THERE IS NOT NEED TO INTENT MASTERING EVERYTHING, BUT THE NEED IS TO ACCOMPANY THE NATURE SO THAT SHE WILL DO THE THINGS ON HER OWN.