Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

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jrozes
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Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#1 Post by jrozes » July 24th, 2020, 3:56 pm

Interesting take on the future of Champagne:

https://cluboenologique.com/story/tyson ... s-is-over/
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#2 Post by Sean S y d n e y » July 24th, 2020, 4:05 pm

Jacquesson’s Jean-Hervé Chiquet argues that in the grower world there is a ‘super top ten’, and beyond that just a few dozen who are successful. “I will be generous and say there are 150 great growers, but there are more than 4,000 making wine the way the laboratory tells them to make it, and the quality is very low,” he suggests. “But Champagne is the fastest moving wine region in France. Things are changing now, and you have to adapt.”
This makes sense to me. What's happening now seems like a market correction; the market for grower's Champagne was never huge to begin with, so we're seeing a few folks who decided to jump on the bandwagon and never really make headway return to selling their grapes to large houses. There will be buyers for the top growers - Ulysse Collin, Egly-Ouriet, Selosse, etc - but the ones who try to go their own way with a lack of marketing and distribution may find themselves left out.

IMO, Champagne sales are down because Champagne is expensive. There is no cheap Champagne. With the lack of restaurants and the lack of anything to celebrate, luxury wine - and you could basically categorize all Champagne as luxury wine - is falling by the wayside, aside from the true "top" producers. Champagne is strange in that it is a luxury product desired by people who otherwise don't know a whole lot about wine itself and thus brand recognition is incredibly important. It is no surprise that grower's Champagne is not receiving the reception it deserves in the market as a whole, because the average consumer will probably spend their money on Dom Perignon, not Vilmart.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#3 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » July 24th, 2020, 4:56 pm

Light on details. I’m not sure Champagne is suffering that much more than most winemakers.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#4 Post by Matthew King » July 24th, 2020, 5:01 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 4:05 pm
Jacquesson’s Jean-Hervé Chiquet argues that in the grower world there is a ‘super top ten’, and beyond that just a few dozen who are successful. “I will be generous and say there are 150 great growers, but there are more than 4,000 making wine the way the laboratory tells them to make it, and the quality is very low,” he suggests. “But Champagne is the fastest moving wine region in France. Things are changing now, and you have to adapt.”
This makes sense to me. What's happening now seems like a market correction; the market for grower's Champagne was never huge to begin with, so we're seeing a few folks who decided to jump on the bandwagon and never really make headway return to selling their grapes to large houses. There will be buyers for the top growers - Ulysse Collin, Egly-Ouriet, Selosse, etc - but the ones who try to go their own way with a lack of marketing and distribution may find themselves left out.

IMO, Champagne sales are down because Champagne is expensive. There is no cheap Champagne. With the lack of restaurants and the lack of anything to celebrate, luxury wine - and you could basically categorize all Champagne as luxury wine - is falling by the wayside, aside from the true "top" producers. Champagne is strange in that it is a luxury product desired by people who otherwise don't know a whole lot about wine itself and thus brand recognition is incredibly important. It is no surprise that grower's Champagne is not receiving the reception it deserves in the market as a whole, because the average consumer will probably spend their money on Dom Perignon, not Vilmart.
Sean, your analysis is very astute.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#5 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » July 24th, 2020, 6:33 pm

Thoughtful post Sean, and an interesting article as well.

I drink more grower champagne than I drink any other section of the wine market, and am doing my best to support at least 10-15 producers. I might be a noticeable bump in sales at Lassaigne, Bereche, Lallement, and Doyard among others.

While everything in the article may hold true, it doesn’t seem to be much different than what I see in the Willamette Valley. Marginal climates where lower yields preclude cheap “value wines”, unless the process is solely efficiency based (or a yard sale as a producer gets desperate) always have a hierarchy among producers. Seeing the challenges that grower/producers face with competition in the Willamette Valley moving from 250 to 900 over a relatively short span of time, I can only imagine how hard it must be for a grower in Champagne to get established with most of 4000 grower producers popping up in the last 20-25 years.

I have my doubts at the benefits of a “cheap” Champagne as gateway. Everyone has heard of Champagne already, so an AtoZ type of wine has little benefit in turning people on to Champagne. I feel it would actually detract from the value grower Champagne really represents at the moment. For my palate, Great grower Champagnes is only exceeded in value by German white wines. But as much as I love Riesling, I drink considerably more Champagne.
Grower pricing has been moving up, whether due to importer or grower price increases I have no idea, and the number of bottles that sell at $40-$50 is definitely higher than the number at +$65, so whether the increases of past few years are a good idea, is perhaps something that growers should look at. That said, in a luxury region, pricing really good wines at lower prices has plenty of problems with the model as well.

I know that I will do my best to continue supporting grower producers in Champagne, and wish them success. The wines, for me, are far better than the comparable tier of wines from the big houses.
Last edited by Marcus Goodfellow on July 24th, 2020, 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#6 Post by RyanC » July 24th, 2020, 6:42 pm

Interesting topic. In all markets there is a natural coalescence around the creme-de-la-creme. And it does seem to me that the culty producers--Selosse, Prevost, C. Bouchard etc--are getting harder and harder to find. But I do suspect it's very tough for the smaller, barely known producers to survive. Prices are steep, land is expensive, and it's not like Burgundy where you can gain instant credibility from holdings in prime GCs or 1ers. It doesn't resonate in the same way if you have grapes in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ or whatever. Perhaps there will be some consolidation?
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#7 Post by Howard Cooper » July 24th, 2020, 7:32 pm

My guess is that the guys who have good vineyards, farm well and make quality wines will succeed more often that the growers who have mediocre holdings, overcrop, and are not very good winemakers. Just like in other wine regions.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#8 Post by Robert Sand » July 25th, 2020, 3:31 am

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 4:05 pm

IMO, Champagne sales are down because Champagne is expensive. There is no cheap Champagne. With the lack of restaurants and the lack of anything to celebrate, luxury wine - and you could basically categorize all Champagne as luxury wine - is falling by the wayside, aside from the true "top" producers. Champagne is strange in that it is a luxury product desired by people who otherwise don't know a whole lot about wine itself and thus brand recognition is incredibly important. It is no surprise that grower's Champagne is not receiving the reception it deserves in the market as a whole, because the average consumer will probably spend their money on Dom Perignon, not Vilmart.
At least is not true that there is no cheap Champagne (in Europe).
I can buy Champagne in Germany from 12.99 € upwards a bottle.
I don't say it's great but 4 out of 5 are drinkable with pleasure, and if you pay around 20 to 25+ € you sometimes may find a really good sparkler worth 90 points or above ... now or then ... and for up to 40 you have a fine selection at hand here ...
The good grower's sparklers in Germany are usually more than 20+ (and only rarely better).

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#9 Post by Sean S y d n e y » July 25th, 2020, 6:10 am

Robert Sand wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 3:31 am

At least is not true that there is no cheap Champagne (in Europe).
I can buy Champagne in Germany from 12.99 € upwards a bottle.
I don't say it's great but 4 out of 5 are drinkable with pleasure, and if you pay around 20 to 25+ € you sometimes may find a really good sparkler worth 90 points or above ... now or then ... and for up to 40 you have a fine selection at hand here ...
The good grower's sparklers in Germany are usually more than 20+ (and only rarely better).
No doubt - but as the article said, Champagne is exporting more product than ever.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#10 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 25th, 2020, 7:03 am

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 6:33 pm
I know that I will do my best to continue supporting grower producers in Champagne, and wish them success. The wines, for me, are far better than the comparable tier of wines from the big houses.
No shock that we are completely aligned. I prefer grower Champagne to pretty much everything else. A few of the “growers” (e.g. Moussé) even buy some grapes for their calling card NV. I don’t mind that if they work with farmers who share similar principles. Drinking through a number of grower Champagnes during this quarantine has only further cemented our focus at Schloss Bueker. With the exception of Krug, Laura and I both prefer grower wines. We even have a quasi-replacement for the Krug MV.

Overall, give me a bottle of Pierre Peters, Bereche, Vilmart, Chartogne-Taillet, Eric Rodez or Cedric Bouchard (to name just a few) any day over a big house wine, including Dom, Cristal, etc..

I do worry about a producer such as Chartogne-Taillet with all the single parcel wines. I buy them, as do others here on Berserkers, but without restaurants, will those fall by the wayside, or will they drag down the grower.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#11 Post by William Kelley » July 25th, 2020, 7:20 am

I'm a little skeptical of the argument here. Taken very literally, it may be true, but the "growers" that are going to go under are not the producers that most people reading the article will be thinking of when they hear the phrase "grower Champagne".

Strictly speaking, there have been grower-bottlers in Champagne for a very long time, and their numbers really multiplied in the 1930s when wine prices fell and the only way for owner to eek out a living on their very small holdings (average was around 2ha back then) was to bottle and market the product themselves, selling grapes having become insufficiently remunerative. There are many "growers" today whom we have never heard of, and who produce their wines, as Hervé Chiquet says in the article, according to the oenologist's textbook: much of their production is sold to the domestic French market, either at the cellar door or in the supermarkets. The wines are often, frankly, not great (though if you are price conscious and simply looking for "bubbles" they may sometimes suffice I guess); and indeed it remains the case that the very worst wines in Champagne are produced by growers in this sense, rather than either Grandes Marques or cooperatives.

But when we talk about "grower Champagne", we are in reality mostly talking about the sort of artisanal revolution in viticulture and winemaking that began in the 1970s with Selosse and which today has really coalesced into what can be called a movement. For the reasons given above, talking of a "grower revolution" is not necessarily the best way to describe this movement, even though its agents are indeed for the most part growers (and even though I have used the term in print myself).

The reality is that Tyson is probably correct if he is saying that there will be fewer poor to mediocre RMs (and RCs, too) that no one participating in this forum has ever heard of. And this is a trend that has been evident for over a decade. But I am very doubtful that any growers with even a modicum of a reputation for quality are about to go out of business.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#12 Post by John A Hunt » July 25th, 2020, 8:06 am

Agree with William Kelley's thoughts, that the term "Grower Champagne" could have different meanings in different markets. A native Frenchman may have concerns about domestic and export markets, but non-natives do not.

If any producer doesn't focus on the quality of the product, both domestic and export markets will become challenging. And good riddance.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#13 Post by William Kelley » July 25th, 2020, 8:40 am

John A Hunt wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 8:06 am
Agree with William Kelley's thoughts, that the term "Grower Champagne" could have different meanings in different markets. A native Frenchman may have concerns about domestic and export markets, but non-natives do not.

If any producer doesn't focus on the quality of the product, both domestic and export markets will become challenging. And good riddance.
Right, and the content of the article is hard to argue with: I interpret all the people Tyson interviews to be saying that poor and mediocre growers dependent on the French market are a declining breed, whereas the best growers will continue to thrive. It's just the headline that's liable to be misconstrued. A better title would have been "Some Champagne producers you have never heard of are going to disappear, continuing a long-term trend".
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#14 Post by IlkkaL » July 25th, 2020, 8:42 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 7:03 am
I do worry about a producer such as Chartogne-Taillet with all the single parcel wines. I buy them, as do others here on Berserkers, but without restaurants, will those fall by the wayside, or will they drag down the grower.
Perhaps - however the few French/German retailers that I buy from that sell Chartogne seem to get tiny allocations of some of the single vineyards and the wines seem to regularly sell out very quickly. This leads me to believe that the demand is rather healthy on the retail side.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#15 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 25th, 2020, 9:05 am

IlkkaL wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 8:42 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 7:03 am
I do worry about a producer such as Chartogne-Taillet with all the single parcel wines. I buy them, as do others here on Berserkers, but without restaurants, will those fall by the wayside, or will they drag down the grower.
Perhaps - however the few French/German retailers that I buy from that sell Chartogne seem to get tiny allocations of some of the single vineyards and the wines seem to regularly sell out very quickly. This leads me to believe that the demand is rather healthy on the retail side.
I am sure it is. The question is what % of the wines were sold on premise. I bet it was 60-70%, at least in the US.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#16 Post by Frank Murray III » July 25th, 2020, 9:26 am

My universe revolves mostly around Champagne now. It's more than 1/2 my wine budget now, and of a few people I run with, most notably my wife's business partner, the same is true for his spending I would assert, too. Then there are folks in this thread, notably David, who I agree with in his comments. Of my entire Champagne inventory, which is growing quarter over quarter, I own just Cristal as my big house name. Everything else is grower. I love the high-touch, the farming commitment to get away from the chemical BS and the personal touch I felt when I visited many of these people in 2018. They treated me like someone that mattered, they took time with me, and none of them prior to my visit had ever met me. That told me something, cementing for me the passion and heart that these growers invest into their craft.

I can't drink enough grower Champagne these days, and I love sharing it with others to bring more people into the circle. If you need evidence, look at my top wines for 2020 below--only one is not Gower Champagne.

I may be just one dude, one voice, and not a big fish in the pond of spenders but I will continue to make every effort I care to support the grower community. 100%.
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2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM
2015 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Pierrières
2014 Laherte Frères Champagne BdB EB Les Grands Crayeres

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#17 Post by Brad Baker » July 25th, 2020, 10:21 am

I don't disagree with Tyson's article, but I think some of the comments in it are exaggerated a bit. Consolidation could and would certainly be a good thing for Champagne. In a free market economy and crowded market, if you don't make a quality product, you eventually go out of business or you change your business model. The producers whose labels/brands are going to disappear from the market are producers 99.999% of the world has never heard of - and for good reason, the end produt is not good.

Most grower Champagne is not very good and most of it does not leave the Champagne 'area' let alone France. High quality producers of all sizes are going to continue to do well. Champagne is certainly going through some challenging times and who knows what is going to be declared as the yield for the 2020 harvest. This is likely to lead to some consolidation or 'closure' of some grower producers based on economic conditions and overall desire to be in the Champagne production and/or farming business. If you can make a better living selling your grapes or leasing your land rather than making Champagne and you don't have the passion to want to make Champagne or be a farmer then there is nothing wrong with selling your grapes or leasing your land. A lot of growers are proud to sell their grapes to Krug, Clicquot, Bollinger, etc... A lot of folks are also happy to lease their land to a quality negociant and let them manage the vineyards and handle all the work. Nothing wrong with that. In many cases, the end product is better than what the grower/land owner could have made.

It is a sad fact, but most folks who own land in Champagne just want an abundant yield and they want it harvested as soon as possible so that they can get the maximum amount of money as quickly as they can. People talk a lot about the big houses or large volume producers and how they don't care about their vines and just want to pump out bottle after bottle without regard to anything. For the most part, that is absolutely not true anymore. The 'grower movement' of the 90s and early 00s really made the larger producers re-evaluate things. Most of the top houses have completely revamped their approach to farming and with their stature and voice are now helping to lead the region's movement towards more sustainable viticulture. The problem is that most growers still don't care. Yes, the large houses are paying more for top quality grapes, organic grapes, naturally farmed grapes, etc... and some have actually started turning down grapes, but there always seems to be someone around to buy the grapes and this is what has prevented Champagne from really making a change.

There are still new growers popping up and there always will be. Hard work and quality will survive. A number of classical growers have become negociants for various reasons. Sometimes it is to allow the company to survive generation after generation, sometimes it is to grow and thrive as a business, and sometimes it is both. I would much rather have a quality producer like Bereche buy in quality grapes and/or manage someone's land than have someone make bad Champagne from the land or have Bereche face financial difficulties or be unable to invest to improve quality. Also, remember that a lot of growers who make their own wine also sell grapes and/or juice to the negociants. They need that balance to get through the more difficult times and keep quality at the level they aim for. In the end, the larger and smaller producers both need each other and each helps to push the other to achieve better things.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#18 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » July 26th, 2020, 10:00 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 7:03 am
Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 6:33 pm
I know that I will do my best to continue supporting grower producers in Champagne, and wish them success. The wines, for me, are far better than the comparable tier of wines from the big houses.
No shock that we are completely aligned. I prefer grower Champagne to pretty much everything else. A few of the “growers” (e.g. Moussé) even buy some grapes for their calling card NV. I don’t mind that if they work with farmers who share similar principles. Drinking through a number of grower Champagnes during this quarantine has only further cemented our focus at Schloss Bueker. With the exception of Krug, Laura and I both prefer grower wines. We even have a quasi-replacement for the Krug MV.

Overall, give me a bottle of Pierre Peters, Bereche, Vilmart, Chartogne-Taillet, Eric Rodez or Cedric Bouchard (to name just a few) any day over a big house wine, including Dom, Cristal, etc..

I do worry about a producer such as Chartogne-Taillet with all the single parcel wines. I buy them, as do others here on Berserkers, but without restaurants, will those fall by the wayside, or will they drag down the grower.
No shock at all. I still really enjoy vintage wines from the bigger houses, and have a high regard for Bollinger, Gosset, Pol Roger, etc. in general. But generally just find the small producer wines more intriguing, and, as noted, much better at the basic NV level.

I generally don’t sweat smaller producers buying grapes. They have time(and often passion), so they can have a connection to purchased fruit that is meaningful far beyond the dollar signs. Both Walter Scott and Goodfellow purchase 100% of our fruit, but we also have close relationships with our growers and put a huge priority on the site, and on ensuring the success of the growers we work with.

And just a thought from my own experience regarding the more elite small parcel wines. For Goodfellow, the Heritage and Block bottlings are a lifeline to our continued viability under the current conditions. While my winery was roughly 50% restaurant prior to Covid, a wine sold to a restaurant would see the typical restaurant mark up. So it was often our Willamette Valley or possibly a single vineyard bottle on the list. But as people reach out to us at the winery, they are able to drink the Block bottlings for the same price as the WV in a restaurant and the Heritage for the same cost as a vineyard designate. And that’s generally what people are focused on(or they are like Sean Smith and Brian Stotter and buy both top tier and cellar defenders from us).

I am hopeful that Charton-Taillet is seeing the same situation occurring.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#19 Post by lleichtman » July 26th, 2020, 4:13 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 24th, 2020, 4:05 pm
Jacquesson’s Jean-Hervé Chiquet argues that in the grower world there is a ‘super top ten’, and beyond that just a few dozen who are successful. “I will be generous and say there are 150 great growers, but there are more than 4,000 making wine the way the laboratory tells them to make it, and the quality is very low,” he suggests. “But Champagne is the fastest moving wine region in France. Things are changing now, and you have to adapt.”
This makes sense to me. What's happening now seems like a market correction; the market for grower's Champagne was never huge to begin with, so we're seeing a few folks who decided to jump on the bandwagon and never really make headway return to selling their grapes to large houses. There will be buyers for the top growers - Ulysse Collin, Egly-Ouriet, Selosse, etc - but the ones who try to go their own way with a lack of marketing and distribution may find themselves left out.

IMO, Champagne sales are down because Champagne is expensive. There is no cheap Champagne. With the lack of restaurants and the lack of anything to celebrate, luxury wine - and you could basically categorize all Champagne as luxury wine - is falling by the wayside, aside from the true "top" producers. Champagne is strange in that it is a luxury product desired by people who otherwise don't know a whole lot about wine itself and thus brand recognition is incredibly important. It is no surprise that grower's Champagne is not receiving the reception it deserves in the market as a whole, because the average consumer will probably spend their money on Dom Perignon, not Vilmart.
Agree, with COVID, the demand for luxury items (champagne falls in that category) has dropped precipitously. That being said, there is plenty of champagne at reasonable prices that I'm not sure I agree that it is really a luxury item. Just has that perception. I drink a lot of champagne and keep plenty on hand so not a luxury to me at all.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#20 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 26th, 2020, 5:02 pm

If it’s perceived as a luxury item, then it will be treated as a luxury item.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#21 Post by Jan Janas » July 26th, 2020, 5:03 pm

Whenever I hear that something is "over" right when I first discover it I'm always skeptical. Grower Champagne might be an older phenomenon technically speaking, but in practical terms it seems to be still reaching its height, with many participants on this forum joining the circle just this year, me included. On a collective consciousness sort of level, grower is still penetrating the average consumer's market; and an advantage that growers have on marquee houses is that their product is less tied to Champagne's luxury image, and more to artisanal farming and winemaking. As such, drinking a grower on a Wednesday is easier to normalise, as opposed to drinking label Champagne that is more often gifted and reserved for special occasions.

Another word has to be said on the practice of using macro quantitative data to explain micro socio-cultural phenomena, such as a 'movement' we are speaking of, as many have already pointed out: the difference between the subset of exceptional growers, and the mass of unknown growers, is unquantifiable, and accounting the failure of the second as a means to derive a trend for the first doesn't make sense. One would have to isolate the top 100 growers or so to maybe make a more sensible statement on the category, or, as William puts it bluntly, we are just talking about "some Champagne producers you have never heard of [,who] are going to disappear, continuing a long-term trend."

That said, all this thread has done is remind me that I need to drink more grower Champagne, and go out to find more. It is one of the most dynamic and interesting categories in wine at the moment.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#22 Post by Brad Baker » July 26th, 2020, 5:34 pm

The problem is that it really shouldn't be grower vs. house. Of course, people should drink whatever they want for whatever reason they have and search/explore to try new things, but you miss out on things if you limit what you go after. I have always felt it is good quality vs. poor quality with a few tangents for those who are after specific vineyard practices, size of estate, 'sense' of place, etc... You can get all of these things from producers of all types and sizes.

A number of producers that folks call 'growers' are now negociants in both the technical sense (business reasons) and in practice (they purchase grapes). It really should be small producers and large producers, folks who farm their grapes and folks that don't, and folks that source grapes from quality farmers and those that don't. Believe it or not, but Dom Perignon is very close to and sometimes a pure grower (estate owned vineyards) Champagne and it is made at over 5M bottles a year. Cristal and all Roederer Vintage wines would be a grower Champagne. Comtes is pretty much a grower Champagne. Clos des Goisses is a grower Champagne. So is Clos du Mesnil and Clos d'Ambonnay. Salon, which is much more revered, is not.

Producers of all sizes are making exciting wines right now. Some growers are disappearing and new ones appearing. There are new, quality focused negociants appearing too. A number of co-operatives are also quite exciting. Producers of all types and sizes are introducing new wines and improving wines that have been around for years. Champagne has never been better or more interesting than it is right now. There is nothing wrong with going down a specific path, but you should never close yourself off from a producer or wine. You never know what you might be missing... and blind tasting is extremely education in helping with label bias (which runs high in Champagne).

Most importantly, support Champagne, and regardless of what it is, buy a bottle or magnum or jeroboam and enjoy it.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#23 Post by K. Tr@n » July 26th, 2020, 5:46 pm

I have more miss than hit with grower champagnes for a few years in a row. I used the Taittinger La Francaise as benchmark and 75% did not even perform nearly as well, and almost all are more expensive.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#24 Post by Frank Murray III » July 26th, 2020, 5:53 pm

Khong, which growers are you comparing to Taittinger La Francaise that are not measuring up?
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM
2015 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Pierrières
2014 Laherte Frères Champagne BdB EB Les Grands Crayeres

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#25 Post by Nick Christie » July 26th, 2020, 5:59 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 7:20 am
I'm a little skeptical of the argument here. Taken very literally, it may be true, but the "growers" that are going to go under are not the producers that most people reading the article will be thinking of when they hear the phrase "grower Champagne".

Strictly speaking, there have been grower-bottlers in Champagne for a very long time, and their numbers really multiplied in the 1930s when wine prices fell and the only way for owner to eek out a living on their very small holdings (average was around 2ha back then) was to bottle and market the product themselves, selling grapes having become insufficiently remunerative. There are many "growers" today whom we have never heard of, and who produce their wines, as Hervé Chiquet says in the article, according to the oenologist's textbook: much of their production is sold to the domestic French market, either at the cellar door or in the supermarkets. The wines are often, frankly, not great (though if you are price conscious and simply looking for "bubbles" they may sometimes suffice I guess); and indeed it remains the case that the very worst wines in Champagne are produced by growers in this sense, rather than either Grandes Marques or cooperatives.

But when we talk about "grower Champagne", we are in reality mostly talking about the sort of artisanal revolution in viticulture and winemaking that began in the 1970s with Selosse and which today has really coalesced into what can be called a movement. For the reasons given above, talking of a "grower revolution" is not necessarily the best way to describe this movement, even though its agents are indeed for the most part growers (and even though I have used the term in print myself).

The reality is that Tyson is probably correct if he is saying that there will be fewer poor to mediocre RMs (and RCs, too) that no one participating in this forum has ever heard of. And this is a trend that has been evident for over a decade. But I am very doubtful that any growers with even a modicum of a reputation for quality are about to go out of business.
Once again, this guy completely nails it. How does he keep effing nailing it? And so concisely? Ridiculous.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#26 Post by K. Tr@n » July 26th, 2020, 6:35 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 5:53 pm
Khong, which growers are you comparing to Taittinger La Francaise that are not measuring up?
Franck Bonville is one of the top of my head. There are too many who even remember these names?
Why don't you try tasting them blind and see how they perform?
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#27 Post by Frank Murray III » July 26th, 2020, 6:50 pm

Taste what blind, Khong? Not sure I understand but actually in my wine group we taste nearly everything blind, as we did yesterday with the Bereche Campania Remensis and the Vilmart CdC.

I just find it interesting that you will compare producers to Taittinger, and yet you can't remember them in support of your point. I'm not trying to rattle you up here, but simply speak in behalf of a segment off Champagne that I am passionate about, whose made some of the best wines I have tasted from anywhere in the world.
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2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#28 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 26th, 2020, 6:55 pm

Maybe he just likes the Taittinger, and so it sets a standard for him. It’s not a bad wine. It’s not very exciting, and I would gladly have 1 bottle of Pierre Peters versus 2 La Francaise, but that’s my preference.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#29 Post by Frank Murray III » July 26th, 2020, 7:00 pm

David, it's not for me to judge, and while I try not to, instead I am just trying to understand.
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM
2015 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Pierrières
2014 Laherte Frères Champagne BdB EB Les Grands Crayeres

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#30 Post by Jay Miller » July 27th, 2020, 5:55 am

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I have more miss than hit with grower champagnes for a few years in a row. I used the Taittinger La Francaise as benchmark and 75% did not even perform nearly as well, and almost all are more expensive.
I think there's also an issue that stylistic differences can be more pronounced with some growers so it's more likely that a given person might not like (or might love) a given producer's line. I know that some friends of mine are head over heels in love with Laval who I find meh. On the other hand I am head over heels in love with Marguet which other friends of mine find meh.

It's one reason I find (found? [cry.gif] ) La Fete du Champagne so valuable as it offers the chance to taste a wide range of different producers and pinpoint where I'll spend my money. Hopefully things will have opened up more by that time next year as I double very much it will be held this year.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#31 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 27th, 2020, 6:01 am

Jay Miller wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 5:55 am
K. Tr@n wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I have more miss than hit with grower champagnes for a few years in a row. I used the Taittinger La Francaise as benchmark and 75% did not even perform nearly as well, and almost all are more expensive.
I think there's also an issue that stylistic differences can be more pronounced with some growers so it's more likely that a given person might not like (or might love) a given producer's line. I know that some friends of mine are head over heels in love with Laval who I find meh. On the other hand I am head over heels in love with Marguet which other friends of mine find meh.

It's one reason I find (found? [cry.gif] ) La Fete du Champagne so valuable as it offers the chance to taste a wide range of different producers and pinpoint where I'll spend my money. Hopefully things will have opened up more by that time next year as I double very much it will be held this year.
Good to know that I am not the only hold out on Laval.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#32 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 27th, 2020, 6:49 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 6:01 am
Jay Miller wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 5:55 am
K. Tr@n wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I have more miss than hit with grower champagnes for a few years in a row. I used the Taittinger La Francaise as benchmark and 75% did not even perform nearly as well, and almost all are more expensive.
I think there's also an issue that stylistic differences can be more pronounced with some growers so it's more likely that a given person might not like (or might love) a given producer's line. I know that some friends of mine are head over heels in love with Laval who I find meh. On the other hand I am head over heels in love with Marguet which other friends of mine find meh.

It's one reason I find (found? [cry.gif] ) La Fete du Champagne so valuable as it offers the chance to taste a wide range of different producers and pinpoint where I'll spend my money. Hopefully things will have opened up more by that time next year as I double very much it will be held this year.
Good to know that I am not the only hold out on Laval.
I am in Jay’s meh camp on both Marguet and Laval so far. Vouette too. And Suenen I’m on the fence. More than anywhere, I have found tastes in Champagne to be very personal and somewhat unpredictable among friends with whom my palate normally aligns strongly.

(I do like to keep an open mind when I like what a grower stands for in principle.)
Last edited by Jayson Cohen on July 27th, 2020, 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#33 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 27th, 2020, 6:55 am

Brad Baker wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 5:34 pm
The problem is that it really shouldn't be grower vs. house. Of course, people should drink whatever they want for whatever reason they have and search/explore to try new things, but you miss out on things if you limit what you go after. I have always felt it is good quality vs. poor quality with a few tangents for those who are after specific vineyard practices, size of estate, 'sense' of place, etc... You can get all of these things from producers of all types and sizes.

A number of producers that folks call 'growers' are now negociants in both the technical sense (business reasons) and in practice (they purchase grapes). It really should be small producers and large producers, folks who farm their grapes and folks that don't, and folks that source grapes from quality farmers and those that don't. Believe it or not, but Dom Perignon is very close to and sometimes a pure grower (estate owned vineyards) Champagne and it is made at over 5M bottles a year. Cristal and all Roederer Vintage wines would be a grower Champagne. Comtes is pretty much a grower Champagne. Clos des Goisses is a grower Champagne. So is Clos du Mesnil and Clos d'Ambonnay. Salon, which is much more revered, is not.

Producers of all sizes are making exciting wines right now. Some growers are disappearing and new ones appearing. There are new, quality focused negociants appearing too. A number of co-operatives are also quite exciting. Producers of all types and sizes are introducing new wines and improving wines that have been around for years. Champagne has never been better or more interesting than it is right now. There is nothing wrong with going down a specific path, but you should never close yourself off from a producer or wine. You never know what you might be missing... and blind tasting is extremely education in helping with label bias (which runs high in Champagne).

Most importantly, support Champagne, and regardless of what it is, buy a bottle or magnum or jeroboam and enjoy it.
What Brad said. :)

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#34 Post by K. Tr@n » July 27th, 2020, 3:04 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 7:00 pm
David, it's not for me to judge, and while I try not to, instead I am just trying to understand.
I buy cases of Taittinger, I buy one or two bottles of the grower champagne. How do you expect me to remember the names?
How about this one, I just bought and tried recently, larmandier bernier longitude. This one is 50% more expensive than Taittinger, but to my palate, it is too thin, not nearly as complex, doesn't give me much. Even at the same price point, it's not nearly as good. If it's 50% more expensive, the QPR is just not there.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#35 Post by William Kelley » July 27th, 2020, 3:16 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:04 pm
Frank Murray III wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 7:00 pm
David, it's not for me to judge, and while I try not to, instead I am just trying to understand.
I buy cases of Taittinger, I buy one or two bottles of the grower champagne. How do you expect me to remember the names?
How about this one, I just bought and tried recently, larmandier bernier longitude. This one is 50% more expensive than Taittinger, but to my palate, it is too thin, not nearly as complex, doesn't give me much. Even at the same price point, it's not nearly as good. If it's 50% more expensive, the QPR is just not there.
That's certainly surprising. For me, the Longitude is reliably quite a bit more concentrated than the La Française. In fact, I'd single it out as one of the best values in non-vintage grower Champagne, and along with Egly-Ouriet's V.P. it's one of my two "house" Champagnes. Of course, the dosage is more like 3 g/l vs the 9 or so g/l in La Française, but despite that I find the Longitude is more vinous and textural, with a fleshier core of fruit.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#36 Post by DanielP » July 27th, 2020, 3:25 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:04 pm
I buy cases of Taittinger, I buy one or two bottles of the grower champagne. How do you expect me to remember the names?
But no one else is going to know what you drank [shrug.gif]
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#37 Post by Greg K » July 27th, 2020, 3:26 pm

Jayson Cohen wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 6:49 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 6:01 am
Jay Miller wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 5:55 am


I think there's also an issue that stylistic differences can be more pronounced with some growers so it's more likely that a given person might not like (or might love) a given producer's line. I know that some friends of mine are head over heels in love with Laval who I find meh. On the other hand I am head over heels in love with Marguet which other friends of mine find meh.

It's one reason I find (found? [cry.gif] ) La Fete du Champagne so valuable as it offers the chance to taste a wide range of different producers and pinpoint where I'll spend my money. Hopefully things will have opened up more by that time next year as I double very much it will be held this year.
Good to know that I am not the only hold out on Laval.
I am in Jay’s meh camp on both Marguet and Laval so far. Vouette too. And Suenen I’m on the fence. More than anywhere, I have found tastes in Champagne to be very personal and somewhat unpredictable among friends with whom my palate normally aligns strongly.

(I do like to keep an open mind when I like what a grower stands for in principle.)
I think Vouette is really cuvée specific for me. I quite like the Blanc d’Argile, but am not a fan of the Fidele, for example.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#38 Post by Sean S y d n e y » July 27th, 2020, 3:33 pm

My only quibble with a lot of grower wines is that they generally trend towards low-or-no-dosage and even as someone who really enjoys acidity I find a few examples a bit joyless and find myself wanting a bit more generosity and unctuousness to balance the sharp, linear character of the fruit. I'd be curious to learn which growers use a more classic dosage level (thank you, Vilmart!) and just generally hope that the pendulum swings back a little over the coming years.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#39 Post by brigcampbell » July 27th, 2020, 3:40 pm

Epic quote of the year regarding FMIII tasting grower champagne. "Why don't you try tasting them blind and see how they perform?"

I can't stop laughing and people at work are beginning to stare. It's uncomfortable.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#40 Post by K. Tr@n » July 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:16 pm
K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:04 pm
Frank Murray III wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 7:00 pm
David, it's not for me to judge, and while I try not to, instead I am just trying to understand.
I buy cases of Taittinger, I buy one or two bottles of the grower champagne. How do you expect me to remember the names?
How about this one, I just bought and tried recently, larmandier bernier longitude. This one is 50% more expensive than Taittinger, but to my palate, it is too thin, not nearly as complex, doesn't give me much. Even at the same price point, it's not nearly as good. If it's 50% more expensive, the QPR is just not there.
That's certainly surprising. For me, the Longitude is reliably quite a bit more concentrated than the La Française. In fact, I'd single it out as one of the best values in non-vintage grower Champagne, and along with Egly-Ouriet's V.P. it's one of my two "house" Champagnes. Of course, the dosage is more like 3 g/l vs the 9 or so g/l in La Française, but despite that I find the Longitude is more vinous and textural, with a fleshier core of fruit.
I think it's the stylistic differences. I like champagne that has a little more weight, more brioche toast, yiesty. The Larmandier Bernier longtitude is too light, too refreshing style for me. It is not a bad champagne, I would buy again if the price is under 30. I just don't think it is worth 50.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#41 Post by William Kelley » July 27th, 2020, 3:44 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:33 pm
My only quibble with a lot of grower wines is that they generally trend towards low-or-no-dosage and even as someone who really enjoys acidity I find a few examples a bit joyless and find myself wanting a bit more generosity and unctuousness to balance the sharp, linear character of the fruit. I'd be curious to learn which growers use a more classic dosage level (thank you, Vilmart!) and just generally hope that the pendulum swings back a little over the coming years.
It's a tiresome point to make, but I do think it's important to remember that this is about balance rather than the numbers. To take the examples cited above, the La Française with 3g/l instead of nine would likely be wincingly tart; whereas the Longitude with 9g/l would surely be cloyingly sweet. Cédric Bouchard's wines are perfectly balanced without any dosage at all, and Olivier Collin's are vinous and rich with between 1 and 2 grams per liter. While there certainly are, to my taste, some tart, excessively austere Champagnes being produced, let's not reduce this, as some commentators tend to, to "add more sugar"!

It is also worth adding that "dosage" can be deceiving, as some vins clairs can retain appreciable levels of residual sugar (which is another factor among several that make tasting vins clairs especially challenging). For example, a base wine with 3 g/l RS that sees 5 grams dosage has higher sugar levels than a totally dry base wine that gets 6.5 grams per liter dosage.
Last edited by William Kelley on July 27th, 2020, 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#42 Post by K. Tr@n » July 27th, 2020, 3:46 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:40 pm
Epic quote of the year regarding FMIII tasting grower champagne. "Why don't you try tasting them blind and see how they perform?"

I can't stop laughing and people at work are beginning to stare. It's uncomfortable.
Stop reading wine forum during work hour. champagne.gif
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#43 Post by William Kelley » July 27th, 2020, 3:47 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm
William Kelley wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:16 pm
K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:04 pm


I buy cases of Taittinger, I buy one or two bottles of the grower champagne. How do you expect me to remember the names?
How about this one, I just bought and tried recently, larmandier bernier longitude. This one is 50% more expensive than Taittinger, but to my palate, it is too thin, not nearly as complex, doesn't give me much. Even at the same price point, it's not nearly as good. If it's 50% more expensive, the QPR is just not there.
That's certainly surprising. For me, the Longitude is reliably quite a bit more concentrated than the La Française. In fact, I'd single it out as one of the best values in non-vintage grower Champagne, and along with Egly-Ouriet's V.P. it's one of my two "house" Champagnes. Of course, the dosage is more like 3 g/l vs the 9 or so g/l in La Française, but despite that I find the Longitude is more vinous and textural, with a fleshier core of fruit.
I think it's the stylistic differences. I like champagne that has a little more weight, more brioche toast, yiesty. The Larmandier Bernier longtitude is too light, too refreshing style for me. It is not a bad champagne, I would buy again if the price is under 30. I just don't think it is worth 50.
Well, I guess it depends on how you define "weight". For me, the Larmandier has more weight: yields per hectoliter are lower, the fruit is riper, and I'd bet money that if you sent it to the lab you'd find it had appreciably higher levels of dry extract. The Taittinger contains more sugar and has more of the Maillard-derived toasty, yeasty qualities that come with with that, and which is sounds like you prioritize—perfectly reasonably. This is not to disparage the Taittinger, but to me it's an apéritif whereas the Larmandier one could drink with food.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#44 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » July 27th, 2020, 3:52 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:33 pm
My only quibble with a lot of grower wines is that they generally trend towards low-or-no-dosage and even as someone who really enjoys acidity I find a few examples a bit joyless and find myself wanting a bit more generosity and unctuousness to balance the sharp, linear character of the fruit. I'd be curious to learn which growers use a more classic dosage level (thank you, Vilmart!) and just generally hope that the pendulum swings back a little over the coming years.
This.

Peter Liem harps on this a lot. Have had many more low/no dosage Champagnes that are ordinary, “meh”, or indistinguishable from one another than truly excellent.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#45 Post by Greg K » July 27th, 2020, 3:54 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:44 pm
Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:33 pm
My only quibble with a lot of grower wines is that they generally trend towards low-or-no-dosage and even as someone who really enjoys acidity I find a few examples a bit joyless and find myself wanting a bit more generosity and unctuousness to balance the sharp, linear character of the fruit. I'd be curious to learn which growers use a more classic dosage level (thank you, Vilmart!) and just generally hope that the pendulum swings back a little over the coming years.
It's a tiresome point to make, but I do think it's important to remember that this is about balance rather than the numbers. To take the examples cited above, the La Française with 3g/l instead of nine would likely be wincingly tart; whereas the Longitude with 9g/l would surely be cloyingly sweet. Cédric Bouchard's wines are perfectly balanced without any dosage at all, and Olivier Collin's are vinous and rich with between 1 and 2 grams per liter. While there certainly are, to my taste, some tart, excessively austere Champagnes being produced, let's not reduce this, as some commentators tend to, to "add more sugar"!

It is also worth adding that "dosage" can be deceiving, as some vins clairs can retain appreciable levels of residual sugar (which is another factor among several that make tasting vins clairs especially challenging). For example, a base wine with 3 g/l RS that sees 5 grams dosage has higher sugar levels than a totally dry base wine that gets 6.5 grams per liter dosage.
I just had Vouette's Blanc d'Argile on Saturday and it came across as very well balanced, but possibly on the more dosage side to people; it was my blind, so I knew it was extra Brut!
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#46 Post by Oliver McCrum » July 27th, 2020, 3:55 pm

Stelzer seems to be saying that there are too many grower Champagnes, and only the best are worth buying, which is sort of true of everything. I prefer his writing on closures.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#47 Post by brigcampbell » July 27th, 2020, 4:03 pm

William, I don't think it's tiresome because many don't know. Maybe repeating it has become! [cheers.gif]

A grower picking ripe fruit with zero dosage could be the same has a big house picking green peas with 9g/l

there's a lot of wiggle room in champagne for engineering
William Kelley wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:44 pm
Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:33 pm
My only quibble with a lot of grower wines is that they generally trend towards low-or-no-dosage and even as someone who really enjoys acidity I find a few examples a bit joyless and find myself wanting a bit more generosity and unctuousness to balance the sharp, linear character of the fruit. I'd be curious to learn which growers use a more classic dosage level (thank you, Vilmart!) and just generally hope that the pendulum swings back a little over the coming years.
It's a tiresome point to make, but I do think it's important to remember that this is about balance rather than the numbers. To take the examples cited above, the La Française with 3g/l instead of nine would likely be wincingly tart; whereas the Longitude with 9g/l would surely be cloyingly sweet. Cédric Bouchard's wines are perfectly balanced without any dosage at all, and Olivier Collin's are vinous and rich with between 1 and 2 grams per liter. While there certainly are, to my taste, some tart, excessively austere Champagnes being produced, let's not reduce this, as some commentators tend to, to "add more sugar"!

It is also worth adding that "dosage" can be deceiving, as some vins clairs can retain appreciable levels of residual sugar (which is another factor among several that make tasting vins clairs especially challenging). For example, a base wine with 3 g/l RS that sees 5 grams dosage has higher sugar levels than a totally dry base wine that gets 6.5 grams per liter dosage.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#48 Post by Sean S y d n e y » July 27th, 2020, 4:25 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:44 pm
Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:33 pm
My only quibble with a lot of grower wines is that they generally trend towards low-or-no-dosage and even as someone who really enjoys acidity I find a few examples a bit joyless and find myself wanting a bit more generosity and unctuousness to balance the sharp, linear character of the fruit. I'd be curious to learn which growers use a more classic dosage level (thank you, Vilmart!) and just generally hope that the pendulum swings back a little over the coming years.
It's a tiresome point to make, but I do think it's important to remember that this is about balance rather than the numbers. To take the examples cited above, the La Française with 3g/l instead of nine would likely be wincingly tart; whereas the Longitude with 9g/l would surely be cloyingly sweet. Cédric Bouchard's wines are perfectly balanced without any dosage at all, and Olivier Collin's are vinous and rich with between 1 and 2 grams per liter. While there certainly are, to my taste, some tart, excessively austere Champagnes being produced, let's not reduce this, as some commentators tend to, to "add more sugar"!

It is also worth adding that "dosage" can be deceiving, as some vins clairs can retain appreciable levels of residual sugar (which is another factor among several that make tasting vins clairs especially challenging). For example, a base wine with 3 g/l RS that sees 5 grams dosage has higher sugar levels than a totally dry base wine that gets 6.5 grams per liter dosage.
I don't think it's tiresome, because it's the fundamental truth. That said, I think a lot of growers' champagne can trend towards lack of balance and err on the side of austerity because they are philosophically oriented to making those types of wines, and rarely do I feel the opposite is true.

That is very interesting about the vins clair, though - I'd be interested to see an A/B with a vin clair at different levels of sugar fermented out and a dosage added to each to "equal" them out to the same final sugar content to see what effect it has on the finished wine.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#49 Post by Howard Cooper » July 27th, 2020, 4:28 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 8:40 am
John A Hunt wrote:
July 25th, 2020, 8:06 am
Agree with William Kelley's thoughts, that the term "Grower Champagne" could have different meanings in different markets. A native Frenchman may have concerns about domestic and export markets, but non-natives do not.

If any producer doesn't focus on the quality of the product, both domestic and export markets will become challenging. And good riddance.
Right, and the content of the article is hard to argue with: I interpret all the people Tyson interviews to be saying that poor and mediocre growers dependent on the French market are a declining breed, whereas the best growers will continue to thrive. It's just the headline that's liable to be misconstrued. A better title would have been "Some Champagne producers you have never heard of are going to disappear, continuing a long-term trend".
Isn't this also happening in Bordeaux and other wine regions in France and elsewhere?
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#50 Post by Howard Cooper » July 27th, 2020, 4:34 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
July 26th, 2020, 6:50 pm
Taste what blind, Khong? Not sure I understand but actually in my wine group we taste nearly everything blind, as we did yesterday with the Bereche Campania Remensis and the Vilmart CdC.

I just find it interesting that you will compare producers to Taittinger, and yet you can't remember them in support of your point. I'm not trying to rattle you up here, but simply speak in behalf of a segment off Champagne that I am passionate about, whose made some of the best wines I have tasted from anywhere in the world.
I don't find it that surprising. I have been to the Fete de Champagne and can remember a lot of the producers I tasted there because the wines were for the most part excellent. I have been to a couple big walk-around Champagne tastings at local stores over the years and remember virtually none of the wines I tasted there because they were, for the most part, forgettable. [The stores in question have annual Champagne tastings before holiday season. After one visit to each, I stopped going. This was about a decade ago, further contributing to the fact that I don't remember what I tasted.] Just like with other wine regions, the vast bulk of the wine made in Champagne is pretty mediocre. Of course, these are NOT the wines people on this board buy, pay attention to and discuss. Even if Taittinger La Francaise is the worse Champagne discussed on this board this week (including those mentioned on this thread), it still probably is better than 75% of the grower Champagne made in Champagne.

Frank, in case you were wondering, I very much like Bereche and Vilmart and I have found La Francaise enjoyable but a bit simple.
Last edited by Howard Cooper on July 27th, 2020, 4:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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