The name Champagne Charles Ellner was officially registered as a wine merchant and wine maker in 1972, but founder Charles Emile Ellner was a professional Riddler (not like the super villain on Batman, but a Champagne riddler) who started buying vineyards and making Champagne over 100 years ago. Now on its 4th generation, this is a family run business located in Epernay and producing approximately 1 million bottles of Champagne a year, most exported to European countries. They are not well known as of this writing in the USA, although the wines are now available from several sources.
They have over 54 hectares of vines, more than half planted with Chardonnay, and also purchase slightly less than 30% of their grapes (so they are not categorized a Grower Producer). The reserve wines, and in general the vintage wines, are vinified in oak, however most vinification is in stainless steel. None of the wines undergo malolactic fermentation, and they spend spend an extended time, 4 years, on their lees.
I've only tried their vintage wines to date, and they are powerful wines. Lots of apple, apple cider, and apple peel. Some tasting notes I've found mention Apple Pie and I can certainly see that. These are not wines for long term aging, at least based on the bottles I've tried - for example the 1999 in early 2013 is a drink now and enjoy wine. I have had some reports of significant bottle variation bottles in the USA, with some much fresher than others.
Non Vintage Wines include their zero dosage Brut Integral, a Cuvee du Reserve which seems to be their basic NV, a Blanc de Blancs, Demi-sec, and Rose (half Pinot Noir and half Chardonnay) among others. Most of their wines do not have any Pinot Meunier, the Demi-sec being an exception at 50% Meunier.
They make two vintage wines, a Prestige and Seduction, 100% vinified in oak and it shows. Tasting notes below. At about US$50 these are quite a deal if you enjoy the style.
They also make a Ratafia and some brandys.
Tasting Note: Charles Ellner Seduction Millesime 1999 - February 2013 - rated A-
A rich golden color
The nose is apples, spicy minerals, almost a tinge of cider, lots of chalk, and a touch of oxidation but not unpleasant.
On the palate, clear and crisp with apples and a tinge of cider. This is showing some age in a pleasant way, although quite advanced for a 99.
It's not going to be everyone's style, but I like it a lot. Very tasty and complete wine/ The apple flavor is wonderful and very rich.
A passing resemblance at least to Krug.
Tasting Note: Charles Ellner Prestige Millesime 2000 Brut - February 2013 - rated B+
A medium rich yellow color
The nose is apple cider and spicy minerals, Quite toasty.
The palate is immediately rich with ripe apples, nicely sweet, and long. Apple peel. Creaminess and lemon curd as it warms and breathes. A rich and large flavored wine.
This needs to warm - refrigerator temp is way too cold for this to show well!
Nice, but too much apple and not enough complexity to rate higher. It's quite good though.