Five Champagnes you’ve never heard of.
Do you want to wow your clients or wedding guests, and impress your soon to be in-laws with a beautifully packaged and utterly delicious, high quality small grower/producer Champagne?
Do you want to drink the best that your money will buy on your special day and/or go above and beyond your clients expectations?
Are you aching to try something beyond the mass produced, run of the mill and utterly boring big name commercial brands (with industrial level production) that are spruiked by the big retailers?
If the answer to these questions is a resounding YES then you are one savvy, finger on the pulse bride/wedding planner/event manager. So read on.
Here at The Local Drop we scour the globe looking for small, niche, family owned, high quality grower producers of Champagne that are totally focused on making wines that express the place where they are grown and the variety they are made from. Champagnes that for the same price as your very average bulk produced, big ‘house’ label, exude elegance, finesse and purity of fruit. Champagne that you can actually drink all night because it’s not overly sweet, palate numbing, poor quality and utterly dull.
So what is all the fuss about grower/producers, l hear you ask? Well in a nutshell; QUALITY.
The grower/producer is in complete control of the entire production of their wine, and is able to manage all aspects of the growing of their fruit. Importantly most small growers own their vineyards and want to cultivate the best quality fruit they can, rather than chasing high yields to sell to the big companies. They care about the nourishment of the soil and the microclimate in their vineyards – which are predominately managed with organic and/or biodynamic principles, without the use of systemic sprays, pesticides, herbicides or any other addition.
They nurture their vines by having control over soil and canopy management, yields and picking dates, and hand select the fruit at harvest with rigorous sorting. They control all the decisions in the winery such as the use of very slow and gentle presses to press the grapes, gravity to move the juice around the winery rather than aggressive pumps, not stripping the wine by filtering or fining it, the use of natural yeasts and what type of vessels will be used for fermentation.
Once the Champagne is bottled and goes through the secondary fermentation the grower/producer has complete autonomy to decide the length of time the wine will spend on lees aging in the bottle before its disgorgement and release to market. The extended aging in bottle imparts further complexity, nuances and individual character to the Champagne rather than it being released to quickly before it has time to evolve, which is crucial to the overall quality and uniqueness of the finished wine and the growers house style.
The Champagne appellation requires that all wines must spend at least 15 months in the bottle before release, of which 12 months maturation on lees is required for non-vintage cuvees, the minimum for vintage cuvees is three years. This extended aging is often a luxury that the big commercial brands cannot, or don’t wish to, afford to their NV cuvees, as they are under market (ie: shareholder) pressure to keep their massive production levels constant; making a wine to a ‘recipe’ or generic ‘house style’ at the expense of quality and individuality.
Here is our short list of five producers that tick all the boxes for uniqueness and quality.
Champagne Jm Seleque NV ‘Solessence’ Coteaux Sud d’Epernay Fr.
From the premier cru village of Pierry, just outside Epernay, this family estate was established in 1965 with the organically farmed 9 hectares of vines now averaging 40 years of age. The house style is one of precision, seamless harmony and elegance.
Champagne Laurent-Perrier NV ‘La Cuvee’ Tours-sur Marne Fr.
Laurent-Perrier’s style and personality are defined by its very high proportion of Chardonnay. Purity and elegant wines enhanced by a light dosage. A perfect balance between freshness and delicacy with fruity flavours very present on the finish.
Champagne J.Lassalle NV Cuvée ‘Préférence’ Brut Chigny-les Roses Fr.
Three generations of women have run this highly regarded estate which produces sophisticated, expressive and generously flavoured Champagnes with a high proportion of reserve wines that are perfectly matured.
Champagne Larmandier Bernier NV ‘Latitude’ Vertus, Cotes de Blancs Fr.
A small family owned estate run by Pierre and Sophie Larmandier, who were one of the first growers to reach the Australian market; their wines are vibrant, crystalline and remarkably refined, crackling with chalky energy, minerality and bright citrus and nectarine fruit.
Champagne Gosset NV Brut Excellence Ay Fr.
Established in 1584, Gosset rightfully claims to be the oldest wine house in Champagne. The house style of no malolactic fermentation gives wines of clean-cut structure, purity and enduring longevity. The NV Brut Excellence is a terrific effort at this level. A fragrant bouquet leads to a deeply layered core of fruit. The wine shows gorgeous complexity, nuance and a multi-dimensional personality that is simply compelling.
Contact Jag at The Local Drop to talk about the wines you adore – and to discover new wines to love.
Mob: 0431 611 474