Grower Champagne: Vouette & Sorbée Brut Nature Fidèle NV

Champagne Vouette et Sorbée is one of the star growers in the Aube, in the south of the Champagne region. Bernard Gautherot was persuaded to begin making his own wines by Selosse back in 2001, and the first release was in 2004. Based in Buxières-sur-Arce, he has 5.5 hectares in the Côte des Bar, which [...]

Grower Champagne: Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru NV

Back in the day, when I was just getting into wine, the first ‘grower’ Champagne I encountered was Egly-Ouriet. This was in the mid-1990s, when grower Champagne wasn’t much of a thing, and the wines were stocked by Liz and Mike Berry of the fabulous La Vigneronne in South Kensington (which is now the equally [...]

In Champagne, day 3 (part 2): De Sousa and Pierre Paillard

De Sousa is a small Champagne house with a Portuguese name. It’s run by Erick and Michelle Se Sousa, and was established by Erick’s father and mother in the 1950s. Erick’s dad was a Portuguese musician who fell in love with a French girl (her family name was Bonneville), and they decided to establish their [...]

In Champagne, day 3 (part 1): Pierre Peters and Ulysse Collin

Day three began with a brilliant visit with the engaging, smart Rodolphe Péters (above) of Champagne Pierre Peters. He explained that there are three critical elements for him in making his Champagnes: terroir, pressing and reserve wines.

He begins with terroir. He’s not organic or biodynamic, largely because he has 20 hectares spread across 72 parcels, [...]

Grower Champagne focus: the remarkable Gimonnet Oenophile 2005

I’m quite a Gimonnet fan, so I was delighted to find this in a wine shop in Reims at a sensible price. It’s just beautiful. 2005 isn’t the best ever Champagne vintage (it was actually quite tricky), but this wine has developed really nicely and is now at something approaching peak drinking I reckon, although [...]

Grower Champagne focus: Gimonnet Cuvée Fleuron 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs 2006

Had this at lunch on Thursday at the excellent Prospect restaurant in San Francisco, where sommelier Josh Thomas has put together a stunning and well priced list of fizz. I’m a big fan of the Gimonnet Cuis 1er Cru, but this is a real step up. Concentrated and lovely.

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Cuvée Fleuron 1er Cru [...]

Christmas Grower Champagne: Legras Presidence 2007, Savart L'Ouverture and Selosse Initial

Three Christmas grower Champagnes. Quite lovely.

Champagne R&L Legras Présidence Vieilles Vignes Brut Grand Cru Chouilly 2007 France
Low dosage of 5 g/l, Blanc de Blancs. Very stylish, fresh, lemony and creamy with subtle toast. Very fine and linear with a bit of depth but also lovely purity and complexity. Fabulous stuff. 94/100 (Lea & Sandeman stock [...]

Champagne Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Cuis 1er Cru NV

I love this Champagne. It’s one I’ve enjoyed before, and so it was nice that it was the first one to be shown on this trip, in a small tasting at the CIVC‘s head offices in Epernay. It’s also stunning value for money. Interestingly, it has ‘Chardonnay’ on the front label. I wasn’t aware that [...]

Champagne Michel Arnould Grand Cru Brut Réserve NV France

Continuing my exploration of well priced and delicious grower Champagnes, here’s another, from Michel Arnould. They have 12 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards in Verzenay. It’s Pinot Noir: although I’m at heart a Blanc de Blancs fan, there are times when some Pinot character is welcome.

Champagne Michel Arnould Grand Cru Brut Réserve NV France
From Verzenay, [...]

Ulysse Collin Les Maillons Blanc de Noirs - a sensational Champagne

I was blown away by this rich, distinctive Blanc de Noirs from Ulysse Collin. It’s sensational, and it has a good back story.

Olivier Collin’s family had been farming vineyards from their base in Congy since 1812, but were renting out their 8.7 hectares of vineyards to a negociant. But Olivier wanted these vineyards back: he [...]