Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

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Peter Blaha
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Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#1 Post by Peter Blaha » February 8th, 2020, 10:32 am

I am very lucky to spend a couple of days in and around Epernay in April, so I wanted to ask you guys for advise. 2 days (and saturday morning) are not much, so I am trying to find the best roundtrip and make a feasible plan. What do you think, which growers/houses do you think are a must-visit? I have to narrow it down to a handful I guess.

From Chouilly to Ludes:
Vazart-Coquart
Stephane Coquillette
Roland Champion
Paul Bara
Andre Clouet
Camille Saves
Maurice Veselle
Eric Rodez
Paul Dethune
Egly-Ouriet
Soutiran
Billiot
Mouzon-Leroux
Hugues Godme
Ployez-Jaquemart

Mardeuil - Oeuilly - Venteuil - Damery:
Charlot-Tanneux
Tarlant
Eric Taillet
Franck Pascal
Mousse & fils
Maurice Grumier
Caillez-Lemaire
AR Lenoble

To the south:
Suenen
Selosse
De Sousa
Corbon
Franck Bonville
Dhondt-Grellet
Etienne Calsac
Delamotte
Pierre Moncuit
Larmandier


Thank you!

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alan weinberg
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#2 Post by alan weinberg » February 8th, 2020, 11:43 am

I only had time for two houses in part of one day, so I arranged Dom Perignon and Ployez-Jacquemart. Enjoyed the big/small contrast and great wines at both.

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Frank Murray III
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#3 Post by Frank Murray III » February 8th, 2020, 12:54 pm

Peter, of your list, on my last trip to Champagne I did Dethune, Godme and Mousse from those you list. Also, when you say "south", I think of the Cote des Bars, although you seem to be aligning the 'south' with the Cote de Blancs (Avize and Cramant, for example). When I think south, I think the growers of Gerbais, Marie Courtin, Vouette et Sorbee, etc. These are about 90 mins south of Epernay, for what it's worth.

Blah blah.

So, I'd suggest you visit Dethune and Godme, which are very close together in the Montagne, along with Vilmart which is just west of Godme.

In terms of Mousse, that is west of Epernay, so you could do that and another one that I plan to visit this year, which is Christophe Mignon (in Festigny).

This could cover you two days and these are all growers, making terrific Champagne. Of note, these are not big houses. Think small-ish.
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM

My best wines for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut

Kindness matters.

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C Chen
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#4 Post by C Chen » February 8th, 2020, 1:02 pm

Selosse if you can swing it
CT: C Chen

Andrew M
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#5 Post by Andrew M » February 8th, 2020, 5:03 pm

I think our favorite stops a few months ago were Bara, Hebrart, Larmandier. If you’re planning on stuffing your suitcase with bottles to take home, Bara and Hebrart offer some really excellent values with their current release Special Clubs and tete de cuvees (08 Comtesse Marie, Noces de Craie, Rive Gauche Rive Droite, etc). Not sure if Larmandier has started putting out their ‘13s yet, but another poster on here mentioned they’ll be garbage anyway ;)
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#6 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » February 8th, 2020, 5:13 pm

Love the wines from Larmandier and also Pierre Moncuit. Had a good friend that loved his visit to Diebolt-Vallois, and current NV Blanc de Blanc is my choice for QPR in bubbles.

Selosse seems like a must.
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Frank Murray III
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#7 Post by Frank Murray III » February 8th, 2020, 5:17 pm

I thought of Larmandier-Bernier, as well. Really digging their stuff but I'ver never had the good fortune of visiting there so I left it off my list. I'm definitely going there in 2020 to see them.
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM

My best wines for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut

Kindness matters.

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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#8 Post by TomC » February 8th, 2020, 8:44 pm

A few I’ve enjoyed in your stated regions that you may consider:

Legraas et Haas in Chouilly
Henri Giraud in Ay

Hervé Dubois in Avize. A few min walk from Selosse.

Although my personal must-visit favorite is La Maison Penet (Penet-Chardonnet) in Verzy.
t o m c h e u n g

Peter Blaha
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#9 Post by Peter Blaha » February 8th, 2020, 10:55 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 11:43 am
I only had time for two houses in part of one day, so I arranged Dom Perignon and Ployez-Jacquemart. Enjoyed the big/small contrast and great wines at both.
Ployez-Jacquemart was completely under my radar until I came to this forum, seems to be a favourite for many. They also have a nice guesthouse, would like to spend one night there, but no place to have dinner in Ludes.....
Last edited by Peter Blaha on February 8th, 2020, 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#10 Post by Peter Blaha » February 8th, 2020, 11:13 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 12:54 pm
Peter, of your list, on my last trip to Champagne I did Dethune, Godme and Mousse from those you list. Also, when you say "south", I think of the Cote des Bars, although you seem to be aligning the 'south' with the Cote de Blancs (Avize and Cramant, for example). When I think south, I think the growers of Gerbais, Marie Courtin, Vouette et Sorbee, etc. These are about 90 mins south of Epernay, for what it's worth.

Blah blah.

So, I'd suggest you visit Dethune and Godme, which are very close together in the Montagne, along with Vilmart which is just west of Godme.

In terms of Mousse, that is west of Epernay, so you could do that and another one that I plan to visit this year, which is Christophe Mignon (in Festigny).

This could cover you two days and these are all growers, making terrific Champagne. Of note, these are not big houses. Think small-ish.
Yes, with south I meant from from Cramant to Avize, Troyes and further south is kind of too far from Epernay.
Dethune and Godme it is, Hughues or Sabine or both? Christophe Mignon was also on my radar, they offer tastings three times a day and I love Meunier! We plan to go to Baslieux sous Chatillon for Franck Pascal and Taillet, Mousse is very close, will stop by there. In the end it also depends on who responded to my emails, some were super friendly (Caillez-Lemaire, Soutiran, Charlot-Tanneux), some did not respond at all, which may be because of writing in english. Thanks for your tips!

Peter Blaha
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#11 Post by Peter Blaha » February 8th, 2020, 11:21 pm

Andrew M wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 5:03 pm
I think our favorite stops a few months ago were Bara, Hebrart, Larmandier. If you’re planning on stuffing your suitcase with bottles to take home, Bara and Hebrart offer some really excellent values with their current release Special Clubs and tete de cuvees (08 Comtesse Marie, Noces de Craie, Rive Gauche Rive Droite, etc). Not sure if Larmandier has started putting out their ‘13s yet, but another poster on here mentioned they’ll be garbage anyway ;)
Great! I start to think that we will spend the whole day in Ambonnay and Bouzy, many growers are in walking distance from one another. We will be driving by car and fill the trunk to the brim. I still don‘t know how we will manage driving and tasting, both is not an option, probably one day I will be the driver the other day my friend. The third is the lucky one, he has no driving license :)

Peter Blaha
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#12 Post by Peter Blaha » February 8th, 2020, 11:25 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 5:13 pm
Love the wines from Larmandier and also Pierre Moncuit. Had a good friend that loved his visit to Diebolt-Vallois, and current NV Blanc de Blanc is my choice for QPR in bubbles.

Selosse seems like a must.
Would love to visit these growers. A friend of mine went to Dibold-Vallois last year, he had a hard time convincing her to sell him a bottle of Fleur de Passion. Hope he shares that bottle with me.

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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#13 Post by Peter Blaha » February 8th, 2020, 11:34 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 5:17 pm
I thought of Larmandier-Bernier, as well. Really digging their stuff but I'ver never had the good fortune of visiting there so I left it off my list. I'm definitely going there in 2020 to see them.
Just had a look at their website, open on appointment, mornings from Monday till Saturday. Will definitely go there if we go south.

Another question for a visit to a bigger house in Ay: Bollinger OR Billecart Salmon? Bollinger‘s tasting and cellar tour ist just so crazy expensive.

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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#14 Post by Peter Blaha » February 8th, 2020, 11:56 pm

TomC wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 8:44 pm
A few I’ve enjoyed in your stated regions that you may consider:

Legraas et Haas in Chouilly
Henri Giraud in Ay

Hervé Dubois in Avize. A few min walk from Selosse.

Although my personal must-visit favorite is La Maison Penet (Penet-Chardonnet) in Verzy.
Interesting, in Ay we will also go to Geoffroy, there would be time for Giraud or Gatinois. Or Ayala. After all your recommendations we will be definitely visit Penet, it is not easy to get a bottle here in Austria (even online).

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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#15 Post by Scott Brunson » February 9th, 2020, 3:44 am

Peter Blaha wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 11:56 pm
TomC wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 8:44 pm
A few I’ve enjoyed in your stated regions that you may consider:

Legraas et Haas in Chouilly
Henri Giraud in Ay

Hervé Dubois in Avize. A few min walk from Selosse.

Although my personal must-visit favorite is La Maison Penet (Penet-Chardonnet) in Verzy.
Interesting, in Ay we will also go to Geoffroy, there would be time for Giraud or Gatinois. Or Ayala. After all your recommendations we will be definitely visit Penet, it is not easy to get a bottle here in Austria (even online).
Goutorbe is also a nice visit in Ay
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#16 Post by Andrew M » February 9th, 2020, 5:18 am

Peter Blaha wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 11:34 pm
Frank Murray III wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 5:17 pm
I thought of Larmandier-Bernier, as well. Really digging their stuff but I'ver never had the good fortune of visiting there so I left it off my list. I'm definitely going there in 2020 to see them.
Just had a look at their website, open on appointment, mornings from Monday till Saturday. Will definitely go there if we go south.

Another question for a visit to a bigger house in Ay: Bollinger OR Billecart Salmon? Bollinger‘s tasting and cellar tour ist just so crazy expensive.
We did the tour at Billecart Salmon. It was fine, the caves are neat and the wines fine, but honestly I wish I had that time back to visit another grower like Marguet or Godme... It is a full 3 hours out of your day. We personally enjoyed those smaller and more intimate visits quite a bit more. YMMV
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Frank Murray III
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#17 Post by Frank Murray III » February 9th, 2020, 11:52 am

Peter Blaha wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 11:13 pm
Frank Murray III wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 12:54 pm
Peter, of your list, on my last trip to Champagne I did Dethune, Godme and Mousse from those you list. Also, when you say "south", I think of the Cote des Bars, although you seem to be aligning the 'south' with the Cote de Blancs (Avize and Cramant, for example). When I think south, I think the growers of Gerbais, Marie Courtin, Vouette et Sorbee, etc. These are about 90 mins south of Epernay, for what it's worth.

Blah blah.

So, I'd suggest you visit Dethune and Godme, which are very close together in the Montagne, along with Vilmart which is just west of Godme.

In terms of Mousse, that is west of Epernay, so you could do that and another one that I plan to visit this year, which is Christophe Mignon (in Festigny).

This could cover you two days and these are all growers, making terrific Champagne. Of note, these are not big houses. Think small-ish.
Yes, with south I meant from from Cramant to Avize, Troyes and further south is kind of too far from Epernay.
Dethune and Godme it is, Hughues or Sabine or both? Christophe Mignon was also on my radar, they offer tastings three times a day and I love Meunier! We plan to go to Baslieux sous Chatillon for Franck Pascal and Taillet, Mousse is very close, will stop by there. In the end it also depends on who responded to my emails, some were super friendly (Caillez-Lemaire, Soutiran, Charlot-Tanneux), some did not respond at all, which may be because of writing in english. Thanks for your tips!
Peter, I do my communications to the wineries using French via Google Translate, then using English if I learn they are comfortable using it. So, if you start with what is comfortable for the winery, that may open you to other opportunities.

When we do the 'south', we do lodge in Troyes. That gives us a good home base for the wineries down that way, FWIW.

When I say Godme, I mean Hugues Godme. His wife speaks pretty good English, not so much for Hugues based on our last visit. His farming and environmental practices are what attracted me to him and why I buy his wines.

For Dethune, see if you can connect with Sophie Dethune. She runs the show there, as he husband I believe does all the vineyard work. She saw us last time we were there and she is terrific, and well versed in English too.
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM

My best wines for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut

Kindness matters.

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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#18 Post by Warren Taranow » February 9th, 2020, 12:45 pm

Frank is probably too modest to include this link to a Champagne travelogue he posted here. I plan to use it as a guide when we visit the region in September.

Cheers,
Warren
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Frank Murray III
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Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#19 Post by Frank Murray III » February 9th, 2020, 2:43 pm

Warren, I am glad the blog helps. Coincidentally, I am contacting people today about our 2020 trip, trying to lock up some appointments. May repeat a few from the 2018 blog but also some new ones, too. If my wife will put up with me again writing the blog as we do the 2020 trip, I'll have another one complete before you head out in September. [highfive.gif]
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM

My best wines for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut

Kindness matters.

Peter Blaha
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Joined: February 8th, 2020, 1:29 am

Re: Which houses/growers to visit in the Champagne region

#20 Post by Peter Blaha » February 11th, 2020, 12:52 am

Frank Murray III wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 11:52 am
Peter Blaha wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 11:13 pm
Frank Murray III wrote:
February 8th, 2020, 12:54 pm
Peter, of your list, on my last trip to Champagne I did Dethune, Godme and Mousse from those you list. Also, when you say "south", I think of the Cote des Bars, although you seem to be aligning the 'south' with the Cote de Blancs (Avize and Cramant, for example). When I think south, I think the growers of Gerbais, Marie Courtin, Vouette et Sorbee, etc. These are about 90 mins south of Epernay, for what it's worth.

Blah blah.

So, I'd suggest you visit Dethune and Godme, which are very close together in the Montagne, along with Vilmart which is just west of Godme.

In terms of Mousse, that is west of Epernay, so you could do that and another one that I plan to visit this year, which is Christophe Mignon (in Festigny).

This could cover you two days and these are all growers, making terrific Champagne. Of note, these are not big houses. Think small-ish.
Yes, with south I meant from from Cramant to Avize, Troyes and further south is kind of too far from Epernay.
Dethune and Godme it is, Hughues or Sabine or both? Christophe Mignon was also on my radar, they offer tastings three times a day and I love Meunier! We plan to go to Baslieux sous Chatillon for Franck Pascal and Taillet, Mousse is very close, will stop by there. In the end it also depends on who responded to my emails, some were super friendly (Caillez-Lemaire, Soutiran, Charlot-Tanneux), some did not respond at all, which may be because of writing in english. Thanks for your tips!
Peter, I do my communications to the wineries using French via Google Translate, then using English if I learn they are comfortable using it. So, if you start with what is comfortable for the winery, that may open you to other opportunities.

When we do the 'south', we do lodge in Troyes. That gives us a good home base for the wineries down that way, FWIW.

When I say Godme, I mean Hugues Godme. His wife speaks pretty good English, not so much for Hugues based on our last visit. His farming and environmental practices are what attracted me to him and why I buy his wines.

For Dethune, see if you can connect with Sophie Dethune. She runs the show there, as he husband I believe does all the vineyard work. She saw us last time we were there and she is terrific, and well versed in English too.
Frank, thanks so much, just read your travel blog with a big smile. I switched to writing emails in french, definitely higher success rate. How did you do it with the driving and tasting? I read in another blog that they are very serious with the 0.5 blood level.

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