If you enjoyed our Private Client Specialist Matt Love’s exploration of the rise of Grower Champagne, then perhaps you’d like to delve a little deeper into this fascinating world…
Whilst the likes of Jacques Selosse and Cedric Bouchard have gained cult status in the past few decades, there are a veritable bounty of small-scale growers creating mesmerising Champagne who are, right now, little known beyond the borders of France… but their stars are in ascent.
Chelsea Vintners are very proud to work in partnership with Sip Champagnes, who in turn work with approximately 50 of these exciting new artisans. Many are young and in their early years of production but already turning out truly astonishing wines. Sip are lucky enough to exclusively import many of them to the UK.
Following on from Matt’s brilliant recommendation, we wanted to draw your attention to a few of the newer names in the grower world and highlight a few lesser known regions that are well-worth exploring. So, we’ve partnered with Sip to help you dig even deeper into the undiscovered world of grower Champagne and the many delights it has to offer!
When it comes to growers from the Côte des Blancs first on the list is, perhaps the most famous producer of all, Jacques Selosse, closely followed by Agrapart & Fils. However, a name that you will probably not have heard is Domaine Vincey, who are situated just a short hop down the road from Avize in the village of Oger. This Maison released their first vintage in 2014 and have been astonishing ever since. Their wines are complex, fruit-forward, and oak-vinified with an almost obsessive care and attention to terroir. If you’re a fan of Côte des Blancs Chardonnay we recommend you sample either their second release La Premiere 2015 or their sensational single vineyard wine Le Grand Jardin.
Based in the southerly village of Vertus, Larmandier-Bernier is another longstanding Côte des Blancs producer. Travel south a little further still though and beyond the marshes of Saint Gond comes the Côte de Sezanne (the same chalk terroir only more southerly) offering its own distinct style of Champagne. Barrat-Masson have been producing wine since 2010 and are now fully organic. They create a range of fascinating and expressive wines such as their Nuances de Carnoie, a 60/40 Chardonnay Pinot Noir blend, 70% oak vinified with 0g/ltr.
If you’re a fan of Egly-Ouriet then we implore you to try Georges Remy. Hailing from the nearby village of Bouzy, we originally came across Georges on the basis of his sensational Coteaux Champenois, but have been blown away by his transition into Champagne. Working with predominantly Pinot Noir from small plots which he vinifies independently, Georges creates enormously powerful and expressive wines that never fail to wow. In fact, in a recent tasting at Chelsea Vintners, his Le Mont de Tauxieres was the standout bottle drawing more orders than anything else on offer – which included the likes of Agrapart & Fils and Emmanuel Brochet, alongside a clutch of Grand Maisons.
Ulysse Collin has brought fame to the Petit Morin (the very south of the Côte des Blancs) and Sip work with a sensational new producer from this region who is also very much in vogue. So much so in fact that we can’t possibly get enough stock considering his miniscule production! Maxime Oudiette works with predominantly Chardonnay in the village of Beaunay and his first release, Les Gras D’Huile, was simply astonishing.
Emmanuel Brochet might be the most famous member of the Brochet clan, but theirs is a family of vignerons each producing wines in their own inimitable style, but none more so than Gaspard Brochet. His first wine, Lion Tome I (a pure Pinot Noir from a single plot in Ecueil) was a revelation. He followed this with the equally impressive Chardonnay, a 50/50 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend and his first non-vintage cuvée, 333.a. His next lines are currently being disgorged, so if you’d like a shot at sampling one, join the waiting list for Lion Tome II and we’ll let you know when they arrive. Be warned though, they won’t hang around for long! In the meantime, if you’d like to sample something else from the family, we also work with Jules Brochet and Louis Brochet.
He might have put the tiny village of Montgueux on the map, but Lassaigne is not the only vigneron to take advantage of this southerly chalk outcrop. There are plenty more exceptional growers who both create their own incredible style of Chardonnay from this fascinating terroir. Our top choices are Beaugrand, were one of the first families to establish in the village and create a wonderfully complex and spicy style from 50 year old plantings. Try their Carte Blanche Non Dose for a lesson in just how rich and 0g/ltr can be! The second is Jean Velut who make a wine exclusively for Sip Champagnes. Lumiere et Craie Sip Edition was Bottled in 2013, as a perpetual reserve, then disgorged 8 years later in March 2021, offering a gorgeous wine full of brioche and salted caramel with a chalky edge.
Travel to the very southerly reaches of Champagne and the name of Cedric Bouchard abounds. We work with a number of spectacular winemakers in the Aube including Remi Leroy, Dosnon, Brocard Pierre and even one from the very same village, Celles Sur Ource, by the name of Julien Prelat. His Presle is a lovely example of just how good Chardonnay can be in a region where Pinot is the predominant varietal. After all, the terroir is Kimmeridgian clay and limestone just like the nearby vineyards of Chablis.
Jérôme Prévost is rightly renowned for his wonderful old vine Meunier from the village of Gueux in the north of the Montagne de Reims, but Meunier’s spiritual home is the Vallée de la Marne. We work with many exceptional producers in this region who are bringing out the best from this often overlooked noble grape. We could highlight many Meuniers from our collection but the best way to see the different expressions this grape is capable of is with our Meunier Exploration Case, featuring three different styles from three superb producers.
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