Vilmart makes some excellent Champagne. I’ve included them as a grower even though technically they aren’t because they source some grapes as well as relying on their own production, but for all intents and purposes, they fit with ‘grower Champagne’ best.
Champagne Vilmart et Cie Grande Reserve Premier Cru NV France
12.5% alcohol. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% [...]
Tried these three yesterday. They are all really good, and all quite different. The Comtes was the star; the Dom P accessible yet serious; the Krug still tight and youthful, but with latent richness and depth. We drank them, too.
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006 France
12.5% alcohol. Tight, fresh, complex and detailed with subtle toast, white [...]
Based in Verzenay, Champagne Janisson made the transition from grower to Champagne house in 2014, when they also built their futuristic new winery. This NV Grand Cru really impresses: Jansson’s own holdings are supplemented with some bought in grapes. It’s a lovely wine, and it’s also beautifully packaged.
Champagne Janisson & Fils Grand Cru NV
12% alcohol. [...]
Tried these lovely, distinctive Champagnes yesterday at the Red Squirrel (UK importer) tasting. They are from a small grower from Cuchery in the Marne, Champagne A. Levasseur, which since 2003 has been run by David Levasseur (pictured above). This is Pinot Meunier country, and his main cuvée is largely based on Meunier.
Since David took over he’s grown [...]
This is the new Vintage cuvée from Veuve Clicquot, and it’s really good. It’s a fresh, quite complex wine with lovely focus.
This is the first vintage made by current chef de caves Dominique Demarville, and the combination of his skill and the good raw material he’s working with has resulted in a really lovely wine. [...]
I had these lovely grower Champagnes in a wine bar in Reims (the excellent Au Bon Manger, 7 Rue Courmeaux). Anyone who thinks of Champagne merely in terms of the Grand Marques needs to think again. Anyone who doesn’t think Champagne is a terroir wine needs to think again. I need to go back, soon.
I really liked this Champagne. Selosse’s Initial. Thrilling.
Champagne Jacques Selosse Initial Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV France
This is the March 2013 disgorgement. It’s a thrillingly rich and complex Champagne with lovely toast, ripe apple and bright lemon fruit. Lovely complex spiciness here with concentration and depth and attractive grapefruit, pear and melon notes. Crystalline. [...]
Lunch at Daniel Primack’s on a perfect June day. We sat outside, listened to music, ate salt marsh lamb and talked. And drank some lovely wines.
Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Oenophile Extra Brut 2008 France
This is just such a pure expression of Chardonnay. It’s direct and quite taut with precise lemony fruit, [...]
Champagne isn’t a region known for innovation. When you have a product that’s so delicious and so commercially successful, then why would you mess with it?
But marketing is critical for Champagne. Its value isn’t so much in its intrinsic sensory qualities, as much as its perceived worth. Many normal people drink Champagne and enjoy it [...]
Oh, I know I shouldn’t say this. But Asda’s £10 Louvel Fontaine Champagne is actually quite nice. I’s so much safer to slate cheap fizz, but I can tell you what I experience, honestly and bravely. Well, maybe that’s overstating things. I tasted this at the Asda press tasting, and then wen’t back and bought [...]