Grower Champagnes

Grower Champagnes

‘The future of Champagne has already begun, but the best is yet it to come.’ – Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate

Growers produce terroir and variety-expressive Champagnes, highlighting the beauty of single-vineyard wines. While the big houses offer incredible consistency and luxurious Grandes Marques cuvées, the small, grower labels offer superb value and fascinating, contrasting styles‘The explosion of small, estate-bottled Grower Champagnes is one of the biggest reasons the region is so full of discovery,’ says Antonio Galloni from Vinous.

Our Champagne obsession led us to explore and expand the exciting category of Grower Champagnes over the past few years. The 7 small, family-run properties below farm the land and make wines from their own vineyards. We are their number one fans and would happily drink the stock ourselves!

Pascal Agrapart‘s wines are deeply mineral, chalky and chiselled. ‘He is one of the Côte des Blanc’s finest vignerons,’ writes Wine Advocate. Bérêche is firmly ‘one of Champagne’s most prominent rising stars’ according to Champagne guru, Peter Liem. We are mad about brothers Vincent and Raphaël Bérêche’s seamless, complex and concentrated wines. Meunier is the cornerstone of Dehours Champagne. ‘His style is lean, pure, precise and fresh’ and the wines ‘are first class food wines’ says Wine Advocate.

Michel Genet is a blanc de blancs specialist and we have fallen in love with this aromatic and precise Grand Cru Chouilly style. Another favourite is Hugues Godmé – one of the finest vignerons in the northern Montagne de Reims. His biodynamic Champagnes offer the same finesse and poise as fine Burgundy. You can find J.L. Vergnon in the heart of the Grand Cru village Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. According to Pieter Liem they are ‘one of the top estates in the Côte des Blancs today’Marie Copinet‘s vineyards are distributed evenly across La Sézannais, Côte des Bar and la Vallée de la Marne and were included in Wine Enthusiast’s top 15 Champagnes under a $100.

All these growers practice organic or biodynamic farming, spontaneous fermentations and no fining or filtration in order to let the terroirs shine through.

Tasting notes:

Agrapart, 7 Crus Brut NV
‘Agrapart describes this as its ‘entry-level’ wine, but it’s far from your normal non-vintage Champagne. A blend of premier and grand cru grapes from two different vintages, its super-fresh, lemony nose segues into a tight, steely palate with delicious stone-fruit ripeness. It’s light on its feet and very vital, with delightful juiciness balancing mineral inclusions. Very impressive.’ – James Button, Decanter, 93/100 (Nov 2019)

Bérêche, Brut Réserve NV
‘Disgorged in July 2020 with seven grams per liter dosage, the NV Brut Réserve (2018 base) is the latest rendition of this wine. Bursting with aromas of orange oil, crisp orchard fruit and fresh bread, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and gourmand, with tangy acids and an enveloping, pillowy profile. Drink 2020-2030.’ – William Kelley, Wine Advocate, 92/100 (Mar 2021)

Dehours, Grande Réserve Brut NV
‘Disgorged in July 2019 with 5.5 grams per liter dosage, the NV Brut Grande Réserve is based on the 2016 vintage, complemented by around one-third reserve wines from a solera started in 1998. Much like a somewhat earlier disgorgement of the same tirage that I reviewed last year, it’s showing very well, wafting from the glass with notes of pear, mandarin oil, elderflower, smoke and honeycomb. Medium to full-bodied, elegantly fleshy and precise, with a perfumed core of fruit, lively acids and a pearly mousse, it’s beautifully seamless and elegant. Drink 2020 – 2030.’ – William Kelley, Wine Advocate, 92/100 (Mar 2021)

Michel Genet, Blanc de Blancs Spirit Grand Cru NV
‘The colour is golden yellow, slightly amber. After aeration, the nose opens to toasted, roasted notes (pastries, freshly baked bread). Some tension is revealed by citrus and a spicy salinity. Citrus dominates with lemon, tangerine and grapefruit. Complex finish of cocoa and linseed oil. Pure, vivid, tonic, citrus and fine.’ – Champagne Michel Genet

Hugues Godmé, Brut Réserve 1er Cru NV
‘This lively Champagne is fresh and floral on the nose, with a well-spiced range of steeped raspberry, red apple, salted almond and blood orange granita flavors on the lacy palate. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Disgorged January 2021. Drink now.’ – Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 91/100

J.L. Vergnon, Murmure Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature 1er Cru NV
‘The NV Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Murmure 1er Cru is bright, punchy and super-expressive. A taut, linear expression of Chardonnay emerges from the glass, with plenty of citrus oil, floral and saline character. There is just a bit of angularity here, but it all works. The Murmure is a blend of fruit from Vertus and Villeneuve (all 2016), done in a combination of steel and neutral oak. Zero dosage. Disgorged: June 13, 2019. Drink 2020-2026.’ – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 92/100 (Nov 2020)

Copinet Marie, Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
‘A well-balanced Champagne, with a fine mousse, this clean-cut version offers a minerally undertow and notes of poached pear, candied lemon zest and green almond. Drink now.’ – Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 90/100 (Nov 2019)

 

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