We might well be SA’s biggest Champagne fans. Our obsession with Champagne led us to keep exploring the exciting category of Grower Champagnes – the producers who make wines from their own vineyards. We have put together a ‘must-have’ mixed 3-pack of Wine Cellar’s favourites. From some of the most exciting independent Champagne growers and makers on the market, these wines are truly artisanal.
Hugues Godmé (RM*) is one of the finest vignerons in northern Montagne de Reims. He makes Champagnes with great lift, concentration and specificity at a comparably low price. Michel Genet (RM*), who we imported for the first time in 2019, is a blanc de blancs specialist and we have fallen in love with this aromatic and precise Chouilly style. Jacquesson (NM*) sits amongst the elite and is one of our all-time favourite producers. Their wines offer elegance and immense quality with an emphasis on minerality and complexity of fruit. The cuvées have significant gravitas, age beautifully and are great food companions. Their 700 series is consistently proving to be one of the best non-vintage bruts on the market.
For more information on our Grower Champagnes and allocations via Wine Cellar Privé, please contact Jolette.
* RM & NM EXPLAINED
Often marked on the bottom edge of the back label, you’ll find two letters that can offer up important clues about the specific producer. RM stands for récoltant-manipulant and is text-book Grower Champagne. It accounts for just under 3% of the total market and offers fantastic value. NM means négociant-manipulant and is indicative of any producer that buys in more than 5% of their fruit. Most Champagnes houses and Grandes Marques belong to this category, as does the superb Jacquesson. Apart from Salon, Jacquesson is the smallest of Champagne houses, and farms all their vineyards themselves – including the small portion of grapes that they buy in.
Michel Genet, Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2012
Beautifully aromatic, the 2012 offers up delicate notes of citrus blossom, honeysuckle, white tea, bruised apple and fresh almonds. Precise, fresh and taut, the wine opens up to lightly-salted nougat, lemon preserve, chalk and a crushed stone minerality. Layered and complex, there exists a creaminess on the palate tempered perfectly by a brightly-lit acidity and nervy minerality with earthy undertones. The finish is long and perfumed – creamy and focused to the end. – Jolette Steyn, 92/100
Hugues Godmé, Brut Réserve 1er Cru NV
This is leesy and aromatic, with floral, white cherry, pastry dough and almond skin flavors set in a lively frame. Bright and balanced, with a zesty finish. – Wine Spectator, 90/100
Jacquesson, Cuvée 742 Extra-Brut NV
The NV Extra-Brut Cuvée No. 742 (2014 base) has really opened up since I last tasted it about a year ago. The Pinot is so expressive in the No. 742, a Champagne built on texture and resonance. Dried pear, dried flowers, plum and spice fill out the wine’s frame effortlessly, but the 742 truly shines with a bit of air, which seems to accent its freshness. Readers looking for a fine grower Champagne to drink now will find much to like. The blend is 59% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ, Dizy and Hautvillers) and 41% Chardonnay (from Avize and Oiry). Disgorged January 2019. Dosage is 1.5 grams per liter. – Antonio Galloni, 94/100 (2020)