Crémant de Bourgogne: Les Caves Bailly Lapierre

Posted on Mar 13, 2024

Burgundy wine region

Which way to Auxerre…?

In the picturesque Auxerre region of Burgundy lies a hidden marvel that beckons wine enthusiasts seeking a truly fascinating experience. Les Caves Bailly Lapierre, situated above the charming town of St-Bris-le-Vineux, crafts its exceptional sparkling wines in an extraordinary subterranean setting—an ancient quarry that imparts unique natural conditions to the winemaking process.

Established in 1972, Les Caves Bailly Lapierre is a collaborative effort of 71 dedicated winegrowers who proudly showcase their specialty, Crémant de Bourgogne, along with a selection of other wines. The heart of this winemaking haven lies deep within the stone, where the historic wine caves cradle the creation of their renown crémants.

Cremant de Bourgogne

Inside the impressive caves at Bailly LaPierre.

The roots of this winery delve into a fascinating history, as the very cellars where the Crémant de Bourgogne was born were once a bustling stone quarry. Dating back almost eight centuries, these quarries played a vital role in constructing iconic buildings throughout France. Before transforming into a celebrated wine cooperative, Les Caves Bailly Lapierre also had a previous life as a mushroom farm from 1927 to 1972.

Cremant de Bourgogne

8 million bottles.

We ventured into the depths of this subterranean labyrinth that is spread across nearly 4 hectares of galleries, and where a staggering eight million bottles patiently rest, ageing and developing before release. The extraordinary maze of Les Caves Bailly Lapierre is not just a cellar; it’s a treasure trove, and evidence of the winery’s formidable history and commitment to winemaking excellence.

We discovered the unexpected allure of this underground realm as we drove our car 60 metres beneath the surface into what felt like entering the fortress of a James Bond villain. The sheer size of the entrance and cave is astonishing and immediately promises an unforgettable encounter with both its wine and the rich heritage that defines this truly unique environment.

Of course, it stands to reason that this former stone quarry should make the ideal place for winemaking and storing with its consistently optimal temperature of 12°C, its approximately 80% humidity, and its desirably dim lighting.

Irancy Burgundy


As our guide toured us through the cave showing us the various different stages of the production of Crémant de Bourgogne, she explained that their Crémants are made in the traditional method through a strict vinification process. For Crémant de Bourgogne, Pinot Noir and Gamay are used for the black grapes, while Chardonnay and Aligoté are used for the white grapes, sourced from 16 different appellations including Saint-Bris-Le-Vineaux, Irancy, Chitry-le-Fort, and Coulanges-la-Veneuse.

Cremant de Bourgogne

An educational visit on all things Cremant.

After the completion of alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation is used to refine aromas and stabilize the wine. The winter blending session becomes the focal point, orchestrated by a committee led by their leading oenologist. As the grapes are coming in from multiple places, this phase is critical in understanding the varied terroirs and grape varieties, ensuring a seamless integration of elements that defines the distinctive profile of their Crémants.

Once the blending session is complete, the wine is racked as it awaits bottling. Hand riddling has been replaced by gyro pallets which isn’t surprising when considering their 8 million bottle production! After disgorgement, the bottle is left in the cellar to age for several months prior to release.

Cremant de Bourgogne

One of several gyro palettes at Bailly.

While made in the traditional champagne method, they are not, nor do they try to be “Champagne” quality. These are a less complex (and thus less pricey) expression of sparkling wine but that doesn’t mean they’re low quality. The goal at Bailly is to make them fresh and with enough complexity that they’re approachable both to the palate and to the pocketbook. As wine enthusiasts explore the wide variety of options available, the popularity of Crémants is rising alongside Cava, Prosecco and other new world sparkling wines as everyday alternatives to Champagne.


Cremant de Bourgogne

A fine example of Cremant de Bourgogne.

Les Caves Bailly LaPierre

3 quai de l’Yonne – Hameau de Bailly


89530 Saint-Bris-le-Vineux


T: +33 (0)3 86 53 77 77

E :



    While I have tasted and enjoyed Cremant de Bourgogne, I have never seen a behind-the-scenes look at a winery producing it! What a fascinating journey!
    So you drove into the caves? How cool is that! I love the journey from quarry to mushroom cave to Cremant!
    This is a beautiful region that I look forward to visiting!

    Post a Reply
    • It was like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Yes, drove right in and it was massive. Being an old stone quarry makes sense but 4 hectares…! And of course a naturally perfect environment to store the millions of bottles they produce.

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This