Felix Des Lys, the Name
Do you know Honoré de Balzac’s novel, Lily in the valley?
This is a relatively autobiographical sentimentalist work in which the author recounts the first loves of Félix de Vandenesse, a shy and elated gentleman who falls in love with a woman, Henriette de Mortsauf, but also with the valley in which their history takes place on the Indre, its nature changing with the seasons and moods.
« Despite the heat, after lunch, I went down to the meadow to go and see the Indre and its islands, the valley and its hills, of which I seemed a passionate admirer; but with that velocity of feet which defies that of the escaped horse, I found my boat, my willows and my Clochegourde. Everything was silent and quivering, as is the countryside at noon. The motionless foliage stood out clearly against the blue background of the sky; the insects that live on light, green damsels, cantharides, flew to their ash trees, their reeds; the herds ruminated in the shade, the red soils of the vines burned, and the snakes glided along the embankments. What a change in this landscape so fresh and so pretty before my sleep! »
This love of the valley, this love of the land, that’s what immediately seduce our owner Félix and inspired him this romantic name for his Champagne : Félix from lilies, Félix des Lys.
Also, did you know? Champagne was the coronation wine of the Kings of France from its invention, and the emblem of the Kings of France is ... the lily flower. Beautiful coincidence.
Lily in the valley by Edouard Toudouze
Our valley in the Champagne region
The Champagne vineyard covers 34,300 hectares spread over 4 large regions:
• Reims Mountain,
• Marne Valley,
• The Côte des Blancs
• The Côte des Bar
Out of a total of 319 municipalities, 17 benefit from the “Grand Cru” denomination and 42 from the “Premier Cru” denomination.
Félix and Dominique, owners of the Félix Des Lys Champagne house, have been winegrowers for 5 generations and have Champagne hillsides in 3 regions and 4 municipalities
Thus, our Blanc de Blancs cuvée comes from Chardonnay growing in Mesnil-sur-Oger, in the Côte des Blancs, and bears the name “Grand Cru”.
On the other hand, our Rosé de Saignée, made from Meunier, comes from Vandières in the Marne Valley region.
And if you have already tasted the Privilege cuvée, you know the particular notes that Pinot Noir gives to our Champagne; it grows on the side of La Neuville-aux-Larris which is on the Montagne de Reims..
From certain grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, we obtain wines of Champagne.
These wines will be blended according to precise criteria to obtain the perfect dosage. We will then put this mixture in a bottle and then add the liqueur de tirage. It is this that triggers the 2nd fermentation (in the bottle) of the wine, making it sparkling and foamy.
This 2nd fermentation takes time, at least three months. At Félix Des Lys, we let the fairy of bubbles work much longer since our bottles do not leave our cellars until 4 years after the first pressure.
This step judged to be complete; we proceed to riddling, which consists of slowly rotating the bottles to lead the deposit to the stopper.
Decongestion follows. The idea here is to gently open the bottles in order to get rid of the maximum amount of deposit while losing the minimum amount of wine. Nowadays, the bottleneck is frozen, turning the deposit into a block of ice that is easy to extract.
We thus obtain Brut Champagne to which we will add a touch of sugar, if we wish to soften it and obtain Semi-dry, for example..