Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#51 Post by AD Northup » July 27th, 2020, 4:35 pm

No one is going to change their mind from this thread. If you find something that is a style you like, buy it.

I have found growers I like (Cedric Bouchard, Laherte, Leclapart..) and growers I don’t (Bereche comes to mind first), it’s all preference and may not be consistent over go the and cuvée.

I also keep some house champagnes around (CdC, La Grande Annee), but tend to use these as aperitifs and celebratory drinks as opposed to following them through an evening as for me they tend not to continually evolve as much. It’s however, nice to have them because you know exactly what you’re getting.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#52 Post by Jay Miller » July 27th, 2020, 5:13 pm

AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 4:35 pm
No one is going to change their mind from this thread. If you find something that is a style you like, buy it.

I have found growers I like (Cedric Bouchard, Laherte, Leclapart..) and growers I don’t (Bereche comes to mind first), it’s all preference and may not be consistent over go the and cuvée.
Whereas I like the first three but absolutely love Bereche.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#53 Post by RyanC » July 27th, 2020, 5:18 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 5:13 pm
AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 4:35 pm
No one is going to change their mind from this thread. If you find something that is a style you like, buy it.

I have found growers I like (Cedric Bouchard, Laherte, Leclapart..) and growers I don’t (Bereche comes to mind first), it’s all preference and may not be consistent over go the and cuvée.
Whereas I like the first three but absolutely love Bereche.
C. Bouchard and Bereche may well be my two favorite “growers.” And I probably enjoy young Bouchard more than any other young Champagne, grower or otherwise. They are so singular.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#54 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 27th, 2020, 5:24 pm

I’m wine to wine on Bereche. But I have to say one of the most fabulous and interesting wines I’ve had this year was his Coteaux Champenois Blanc. Suzanne, what did you think of that at Wu’s just before the lock down?

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#55 Post by William Kelley » July 27th, 2020, 5:27 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
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?
Short answer: yes, consolidation is happening everywhere. Here is a graphic representation of how profitable winemaking is in France. I assume that Burgundy is including Beaujolais, Mâconnais, Chablis, etc here, as the Côte d'Or is clearly more profitable than this would suggest.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#56 Post by AD Northup » July 27th, 2020, 6:14 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 5:13 pm
AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 4:35 pm
No one is going to change their mind from this thread. If you find something that is a style you like, buy it.

I have found growers I like (Cedric Bouchard, Laherte, Leclapart..) and growers I don’t (Bereche comes to mind first), it’s all preference and may not be consistent over go the and cuvée.
Whereas I like the first three but absolutely love Bereche.
Exactly the point! (I will also note I have definitely not tried all the Bereche cuvees)
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#57 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » July 27th, 2020, 6:51 pm

I love Bouchard and Laherte Freres, haven’t had Bereche. What is their house style like in comparison to the prior two?
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#58 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 27th, 2020, 6:53 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 5:13 pm
AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 4:35 pm
No one is going to change their mind from this thread. If you find something that is a style you like, buy it.

I have found growers I like (Cedric Bouchard, Laherte, Leclapart..) and growers I don’t (Bereche comes to mind first), it’s all preference and may not be consistent over go the and cuvée.
Whereas I like the first three but absolutely love Bereche.
Another huge Bereche fan here. I like Bouchard more than you do.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#59 Post by AD Northup » July 27th, 2020, 7:03 pm

Apparently my memory was off...given the feedback here I went and found my most recent Bereche note (2014 Reflet d’Antan), which is extremely positive and even notes beautiful balance in general, the only negative being lower acid than I typically enjoy. I guess my comment about not like Bereche is unfair, and will be popping some other cuvees (recommendations welcome)
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2015 Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Noirs La Presle (#1)
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#60 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » July 27th, 2020, 7:13 pm

AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:03 pm
Apparently my memory was off...given the feedback here I went and found my most recent Bereche note (2014 Reflet d’Antan), which is extremely positive and even notes beautiful balance in general, the only negative being lower acid than I typically enjoy. I guess my comment about not like Bereche is unfair, and will be popping some other cuvees (recommendations welcome)
That’s a champagne that’s pretty idiosyncratic, made similar to a solera system. Most people consider it be oxidized.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#61 Post by Brad Baker » July 27th, 2020, 8:05 pm

I would be careful with equating sweetness in the base wines with residual sugar/dosage in the finished product. You still have a second fermentation to go through and the residual sugar still needs to be there at that point. A lot depends on how the producer adjusts (or doesn't) for any sugar left after the first fermentation. Even with producers who push for ripeness, things haven't reached the point where they are stopping the first fermentation prior to completion in order to keep a wine 'healthy' enough for a second fermentation. Residual sugar after the first fermentation normally leads me to believe that a fermentation didn't finish and was more of an accident/lazy yeasts than done on purpose, but I have seen some strange experiments. In general, I'm much more interested in residual sugar left after the second fermentation than the first.

In terms of tasting Vins Clairs, I think most producers are pretty honest about any residual sugar left after the first fermentation and most are not aiming for it. It can screw too much with the second fermentation. I think you can get a feel for a producer's style over time and from tasting across producers, villages, plots, etc... to accurately analyze the potential of a Vin Clair. Tasting Vins Clairs is never going to let you zero in on a wine's, village's, region's, vintage's, etc... exact quality in the same way that a barrel sample of still wine just prior to bottling can, but it can be a pretty good guide as to where a wine and vintage has the potential to end up especially as you start following the wines from Vin Clairs to finished product.

Another topic that really affects the final wine is dosage type - especially MCR vs. cane sugar. MCR is sweeter than cane sugar on a g/L basis so comparing dosage levels is not always apples to apples. Of course, if a wine has 2,3, 5, or 10 g/L of residual sugar prior to dosage, that can really affect things too. Quite a few grower/small producer Champagnes that claim 0-2 g/L of dosage yet taste quite fruity and slightly sweet actually have some residual sugar in them beyond the dosage. Sometimes quite a bit and sometimes even variable across batches/bottles.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#62 Post by IlkkaL » July 27th, 2020, 10:21 pm

AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:03 pm
Apparently my memory was off...given the feedback here I went and found my most recent Bereche note (2014 Reflet d’Antan), which is extremely positive and even notes beautiful balance in general, the only negative being lower acid than I typically enjoy. I guess my comment about not like Bereche is unfair, and will be popping some other cuvees (recommendations welcome)
I for one would not be surprised at all if someone was not that into Bereche. At their best the wines (Le Cran, Rive Gauche, Mont Fournois, maybe Les Beaux Regards too) can be some of the most intense Champagnes out there with massive acidity and this combined with low residual sugar is without adoubt challenging to some. I love these wines, Le Cran and Les Beaux Regards being my favorites.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#63 Post by Otto Forsberg » July 28th, 2020, 4:23 am

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm
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.
Larmandier-Bernier Longitude too light? That's a surprise, given the wine is base wine is aged in oak and the reserve wine comes from a perpetual blend containing all the vintages since 2004.

L-M style might be drier with less dosage and higher acidity than in normal Taittinger Champ, but I would never call them light, as they can be quite ripe, concentrated and weighty - at least for my palate. Maybe they are just too dry for you and you prefer your Champagnes to have a bit more sugar?

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#64 Post by William Kelley » July 28th, 2020, 7:25 am

Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:13 pm
AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:03 pm
Apparently my memory was off...given the feedback here I went and found my most recent Bereche note (2014 Reflet d’Antan), which is extremely positive and even notes beautiful balance in general, the only negative being lower acid than I typically enjoy. I guess my comment about not like Bereche is unfair, and will be popping some other cuvees (recommendations welcome)
That’s a champagne that’s pretty idiosyncratic, made similar to a solera system. Most people consider it be oxidized.
Not so much with recent disgorgements. They went through the solera and eliminated everything that was past its prime. It's much fresher now, and I think more interesting.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#65 Post by Greg K » July 28th, 2020, 7:27 am

William Kelley wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 7:25 am
Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:13 pm
AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:03 pm
Apparently my memory was off...given the feedback here I went and found my most recent Bereche note (2014 Reflet d’Antan), which is extremely positive and even notes beautiful balance in general, the only negative being lower acid than I typically enjoy. I guess my comment about not like Bereche is unfair, and will be popping some other cuvees (recommendations welcome)
That’s a champagne that’s pretty idiosyncratic, made similar to a solera system. Most people consider it be oxidized.
Not so much with recent disgorgements. They went through the solera and eliminated everything that was past its prime. It's much fresher now, and I think more interesting.
That's good to know; I've found Bereche too oxidative in the past for my taste.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#66 Post by brigcampbell » July 28th, 2020, 7:42 am

Brad Baker wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 8:05 pm

Another topic that really affects the final wine is dosage type - especially MCR vs. cane sugar. MCR is sweeter than cane sugar on a g/L basis so comparing dosage levels is not always apples to apples. Of course, if a wine has 2,3, 5, or 10 g/L of residual sugar prior to dosage, that can really affect things too. Quite a few grower/small producer Champagnes that claim 0-2 g/L of dosage yet taste quite fruity and slightly sweet actually have some residual sugar in them beyond the dosage. Sometimes quite a bit and sometimes even variable across batches/bottles.
MCR - I just learned something, thanks.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#67 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » July 28th, 2020, 8:22 am

Greg K wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 7:27 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 7:25 am
Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:13 pm

That’s a champagne that’s pretty idiosyncratic, made similar to a solera system. Most people consider it be oxidized.
Not so much with recent disgorgements. They went through the solera and eliminated everything that was past its prime. It's much fresher now, and I think more interesting.
That's good to know; I've found Bereche too oxidative in the past for my taste.
Thanks for the update, I’ve only had earlier disgorgements.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#68 Post by Jay Miller » July 28th, 2020, 8:27 am

IlkkaL wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 10:21 pm
I for one would not be surprised at all if someone was not that into Bereche. At their best the wines (Le Cran, Rive Gauche, Mont Fournois, maybe Les Beaux Regards too) can be some of the most intense Champagnes out there with massive acidity and this combined with low residual sugar is without adoubt challenging to some. I love these wines, Le Cran and Les Beaux Regards being my favorites.
For me I'd add the Remensis to that list
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 6:53 pm
Jay Miller wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 5:13 pm


Whereas I like the first three but absolutely love Bereche.
Another huge Bereche fan here. I like Bouchard more than you do.
You and Kirk. I've found Bouchard extremely variable. I've loved some wines and been meh on some others. Including ones other people love.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that people react even more strongly to stylistic differences in Champagne than in other wines. How else to explain how many people like Krug? That makes no sense to me at all [whistle.gif]
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#69 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 28th, 2020, 8:32 am

I can easily explain why I like Krug. My wife loves it!
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#70 Post by Sean S y d n e y » July 28th, 2020, 8:50 am

Even if you don't "like" Krug, the winemaking prowess and genius is so apparent upon tasting that you gotta respect it!
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#71 Post by DanielP » July 28th, 2020, 8:56 am

Jay Miller wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 8:27 am
How else to explain how many people like Krug? That makes no sense to me at all [whistle.gif]
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#72 Post by Frank Murray III » July 28th, 2020, 9:04 am

The 2008 Bereche Le Cran was outstanding. I had one bottle, I opened last year and I think I was the only one that paid attention to it (non-Champagne crowd I shared it with), but it was lights out. I would have stuck it on my WOTY list but I didn't have another to taste and I don't accord wines that kind of praise unless it is repeatable. I made sure to buy 3 bottles of the 2012 when it was offered this year. I have high hopes for the 2012.

As for the Longitude, the 2013 base has been excellent, all the bottles of it I have had (2 since last XMAS). I have found the Longitude to be one of the best values in Champagne, given the 4 or 5 bottles I have had of it (one previous bottle of base 2015 and still 2016 sitting in my cellar). Energy, balance, acidity...all the things I want in my Champagne. I recognize that Longitude is made up of a good percentage of reserve wines but I simply offer the base year for discussion purposes.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#73 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » July 28th, 2020, 10:15 am

Frank Murray III wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 9:04 am
The 2008 Bereche Le Cran was outstanding. I had one bottle, I opened last year and I think I was the only one that paid attention to it (non-Champagne crowd I shared it with), but it was lights out. I would have stuck it on my WOTY list but I didn't have another to taste and I don't accord wines that kind of praise unless it is repeatable. I made sure to buy 3 bottles of the 2012 when it was offered this year. I have high hopes for the 2012.

As for the Longitude, the 2013 base has been excellent, all the bottles of it I have had (2 since last XMAS). I have found the Longitude to be one of the best values I Champagne, given the 4 or 5 bottles I have had of it (one previous bottle of base 2015 and still 2016 sitting in my cellar). Energy, balance, acidity...all the things I want in my Champagne. I recognize that Longitude is made up of a good percentage of reserve wines but I simply offer the base year for discussion purposes.
I’m also a Bereche fan, but the L-B Longitude would be my choice if I could only buy one producers wine.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#74 Post by Al Osterheld » July 28th, 2020, 2:11 pm

As mentioned, it's all about preferences. I'm also a big fan of Bereche and Longitude, and find Taittinger Francaise to be decent but not that interesting.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#75 Post by K. Tr@n » July 28th, 2020, 2:24 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 4:23 am
K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm
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.
Larmandier-Bernier Longitude too light? That's a surprise, given the wine is base wine is aged in oak and the reserve wine comes from a perpetual blend containing all the vintages since 2004.

L-M style might be drier with less dosage and higher acidity than in normal Taittinger Champ, but I would never call them light, as they can be quite ripe, concentrated and weighty - at least for my palate. Maybe they are just too dry for you and you prefer your Champagnes to have a bit more sugar?
Hmm, I don't really know about the sugar level, but in general, I like drier champagne. I opened one to try again today and realized the acidity from LB longtitude is too high for me. Because of the high acidity it became too crisp and thus giving that light mouth feel and seems less concentrated. It is an ok champagne for me. Not exciting but not flaw in any way.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#76 Post by K. Tr@n » July 28th, 2020, 2:30 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 2:11 pm
As mentioned, it's all about preferences. I'm also a big fan of Bereche and Longitude, and find Taittinger Francaise to be decent but not that interesting.

-Al
I believe it's all about preferences as well. I'm curious if the frequency of having something will have any effect on how you perceive it to be interesting or not. If you have it all the time, do you still find it interesting?
Champagne for me is every day wine. I go through 2-3 bottles a week on average and alternate them all the time. There is a clear preference, but I cannot drink the same thing over and over again no matter how good they are.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#77 Post by Al Osterheld » July 28th, 2020, 2:41 pm

I also have Champagne essentially every day, with a lot of variety. Once in a while a bottle of sparkling wine makes it into the rotation, but mostly it's Champagne.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#78 Post by Otto Forsberg » July 28th, 2020, 3:15 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 2:24 pm
Hmm, I don't really know about the sugar level, but in general, I like drier champagne.
Doesn't seem like it. La Francaise clocks normally around 10 g/l, Longitude around 3 g/l.

It's hard to say because I don't know on which vintages the wines are based on, but most likely Larmandier-Bernier isn't that much higher in acidity. It just doesn't have the residual sugar to mask the acidity.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#79 Post by Vinod S. » July 28th, 2020, 3:20 pm

Found the initial article and the thread interesting. From an economics perspective, feels like a tug of war on whether the region looks more like Bordeaux or Burgundy in 20 yrs, and between French tax laws, Covid impact on Champagne consumption in Europe and the objective improvement in the big houses Brad alluded to, feels like its going to be more like Bordeaux with a group of 25-50 growers that export well globally with strong reputations.

Champagne is like every other wine, very personal, but I’ve always found it probably splits across three primary flavor characteristics: lemon/acid, fruit-forward, and oxidative/yeasty. Often times dosage is irrelevant unles within the context of a winemakers general approach (e.g. Bouchard La Presle is certainly in the 2nd group and not lacking sweetness in my mind despite zero dosage). As a result, where you fall in the spectrum will influence which producers you gravitate towards. I’m a huge fan of Selosse because for me his approach to winemaking and oxidative style is what I’m looking for. I can’t imagine Larmandier Bernier’s Latitude being less interesting than Taittinger, but to be honest, I’m hopelessly biased from visits to both, and it very well could be for someone with very different preferences in their Champagne.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#80 Post by Marshall Manning » July 28th, 2020, 4:42 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 2:41 pm
I also have Champagne essentially every day, with a lot of variety. Once in a while a bottle of sparkling wine makes it into the rotation, but mostly it's Champagne.

-Al
Did you win the lottery, Al champagne.gif ?
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#81 Post by Yao C » July 28th, 2020, 5:37 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 7:42 am
Brad Baker wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 8:05 pm

Another topic that really affects the final wine is dosage type - especially MCR vs. cane sugar. MCR is sweeter than cane sugar on a g/L basis so comparing dosage levels is not always apples to apples. Of course, if a wine has 2,3, 5, or 10 g/L of residual sugar prior to dosage, that can really affect things too. Quite a few grower/small producer Champagnes that claim 0-2 g/L of dosage yet taste quite fruity and slightly sweet actually have some residual sugar in them beyond the dosage. Sometimes quite a bit and sometimes even variable across batches/bottles.
MCR - I just learned something, thanks.

It's like Mega Purple for the Champagne world.
It's more specifically the high fructose corn syrup of the Champagne world - like HFCS it is fructose/glucose as opposed to the traditional sucrose...
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#82 Post by Al Osterheld » July 28th, 2020, 6:42 pm

Marshall Manning wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 4:42 pm
Al Osterheld wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 2:41 pm
I also have Champagne essentially every day, with a lot of variety. Once in a while a bottle of sparkling wine makes it into the rotation, but mostly it's Champagne.

-Al
Did you win the lottery, Al champagne.gif ?
I don't drink a whole bottle every day.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#83 Post by Craig G » July 28th, 2020, 8:53 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
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?
For what it’s worth, I don’t find Bonville very compelling, though their 2008 has turned into a very nice wine and sold way below the price of other vintage wines. In a K&L direct import my favorite is Michel Arnould Grande Cuvee. That and Chartogne Taillet Cuvee Ste. Anne are my favorites under $50.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#84 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » July 28th, 2020, 11:18 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 2:24 pm
Otto Forsberg wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 4:23 am
K. Tr@n wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm
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.
Larmandier-Bernier Longitude too light? That's a surprise, given the wine is base wine is aged in oak and the reserve wine comes from a perpetual blend containing all the vintages since 2004.

L-M style might be drier with less dosage and higher acidity than in normal Taittinger Champ, but I would never call them light, as they can be quite ripe, concentrated and weighty - at least for my palate. Maybe they are just too dry for you and you prefer your Champagnes to have a bit more sugar?
Hmm, I don't really know about the sugar level, but in general, I like drier champagne. I opened one to try again today and realized the acidity from LB longtitude is too high for me. Because of the high acidity it became too crisp and thus giving that light mouth feel and seems less concentrated. It is an ok champagne for me. Not exciting but not flaw in any way.
I think that this post and you’re previous post are both totally fair. I love the Longitude for lots of reasons, but the acidity is in my wheelhouse. Oak regimen and blending reserve wines back to 2004 are the signs of a house that picks on acids rather than ripeness, and builds up to (perfect for me) balance.

While I like Egly-Ourier, the wines are bigger to me, and the Longitude is light beside them. And while I can’t speak to the E-O dosage, the wines don’t strike me as sweeter so much as seeing a bit more hang time before picking. And fortunately I can enjoy both, so hypothetical desert island choices don’t apply.

It seems to me that you just have different, and not lesser in any way, preferences. It would make sense that you would prefer the Tattainger La Francaise more.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#85 Post by John A Hunt » July 29th, 2020, 6:29 am

Al Osterheld wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 6:42 pm
Marshall Manning wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 4:42 pm
Al Osterheld wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 2:41 pm
I also have Champagne essentially every day, with a lot of variety. Once in a while a bottle of sparkling wine makes it into the rotation, but mostly it's Champagne.

-Al
Did you win the lottery, Al champagne.gif ?
I don't drink a whole bottle every day.

-Al


Marshall and I are prepared to provide help with finishing the whole bottle.

What time is good for us to arrive essentially every day?.......

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#86 Post by William Kelley » July 29th, 2020, 6:48 am

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 11:18 pm
Oak regimen and blending reserve wines back to 2004 are the signs of a house that picks on acids rather than ripeness, and builds up to (perfect for me) balance.
That's not the case! Pierre Larmandier is a late picker, one of the latest in Vertus. They started moving towards vinification in wood in the 1990s, not so much for texture but because they found that, after going organic, their wines were getting too reductive in stainless steel. They use lots of foudres, however, whereas Egly uses more 228-liter barrels; and of course Egly is working with fruit from Ambonnay and a preponderance of Pinot Noir, which is a different beast from CdB Chardonnay.

I'm tempted to send samples to a lab when I get back to Beaune, but I feel confident that the Larmandier would actually be lower acid (certainly less malic) than the Taittinger, and higher in both alcohol and dry extract.

But this discussion is certainly a reminder how complex tasting Champagne is compared to still table wines... among the regions I cover, the only one that requires more mental effort is Madeira (and that's more because of the entirely different aromatic register and the palate-fatiguing high alcohol and RS rather than an abundance of technical variables).
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#87 Post by Al Osterheld » July 29th, 2020, 8:26 am

John A Hunt wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 6:29 am
Al Osterheld wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 6:42 pm
Marshall Manning wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 4:42 pm


Did you win the lottery, Al champagne.gif ?
I don't drink a whole bottle every day.

-Al


Marshall and I are prepared to provide help with finishing the whole bottle.

What time is good for us to arrive essentially every day?.......
Shortly before cooking dinner, while skimming various news sites. It's part of the transition between work and personal time, although work sometimes returns in the evening. I think it's important to cultivate good habits.

-Al

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#88 Post by Brad Baker » July 29th, 2020, 9:26 am

The Taittinger NV Brut vs. Larmandier-Bernier Longitude argument is an interesting one. I prefer the Longitude, but the Taittinger NV Brut is a solid wine as well. The two are made completely differently in many regards, but there are some similarities. First off, the Tattinger is majority Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with grapes sourced from all over Champagne so it is going to be very, very different from the Longitude which is all Chardonnay from top Cote des Blancs villages. If you like some Pinot in your wine, you might even prefer the Taittinger NV Brut over Comtes. Taittinger NV Brut is all steel, Longitude is mostly Stockinger oak barrels/vessels of various sizes/ages. The Longtiude uses more reserve wine and it is a perpetual blend going back to 2004; Taittinger is normally in the 20-25% reserve range and it is a more traditional blend of reserves kept separately and most of it is from the two years prior to the base vintage. Both usually go through malolactic. Both see around the same amount of time on the lees though I have had some Longitude that has seen close to five years of aging pre-disgorgement. Dosage-wise, the Taittinger is going to be up around 9 g/L and Larmandier-Bernier at about 3 g/L.

In terms of picking, Taittinger buys in quite a bit of its grapes for the NV, so I would expect, the wines would come in with higher acid content and less potential alcohol, but chapitilisation can get the potential alcohol up to 10.5 - 11 percent which is probably not be that far off from where the Longitude comes in. With both doing malolactic, the acidity levels are probably more similar than what you experience in tasting the wine. Longitude uses more and older reserves, wood fermentation and aging. It also ferments with native yeasts vs. Taittinger's more commercial selection. All of these matter, but at the end of the day, a pure Chardonnay from top villages with a low dosage is much, much different from a Pinot heavy blend sourced from all over Champagne with a much higher dosage.

The end result is going to be two very, very different wines. Each will have its fans. Be happy that your favorite Champagne is not everyone elses. If it was, you probably would have trouble getting it and pricing would be ridiculous.

My wife actually prefers NV Veuve Clicquot to Krug Grande Cuvee. She enjoys both, but always finds Krug a bit too rich or as she says 'dark tasting' for her palate. She also tends to prefer her Champagne with less than five years of post-disgorgement age on it. Nothing wrong with this and she can pretty much instantly tell what I am going to love, dislike, and just kind of find average. Her palate is great and she can calibrate it with mine, but it is different and nothing wrong with that.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#89 Post by Brad Baker » July 29th, 2020, 10:22 am

William Kelley wrote:
July 28th, 2020, 7:25 am
Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:13 pm
AD Northup wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 7:03 pm
Apparently my memory was off...given the feedback here I went and found my most recent Bereche note (2014 Reflet d’Antan), which is extremely positive and even notes beautiful balance in general, the only negative being lower acid than I typically enjoy. I guess my comment about not like Bereche is unfair, and will be popping some other cuvees (recommendations welcome)
That’s a champagne that’s pretty idiosyncratic, made similar to a solera system. Most people consider it be oxidized.
Not so much with recent disgorgements. They went through the solera and eliminated everything that was past its prime. It's much fresher now, and I think more interesting.
I still remember the first time I tasted Bereche's Reflet d'Antan. I was floored as there ws nothing else like it out there. I viewed it as kind of a punk rocker on steriods version of Krug Grande Cuvee or, as I also have described it, 'taking the best of Jacques Selosse's Substance, Henri Billiot's Cuvee Julie, Henri Giraud's Fut de Chene, and Vilmart's Coeur de Cuvee with the stamp of the Bereche house style'. Such a crazy, fun wine. This would have been in the 2008-2009 timeframe. Dosage on the wine back then was normally 8-10 g/L and it was rich, fruity, layered, biscuity, buttery, gingerbread filled, nutty, and with the perfect balance of fresh structure and creamy, warming maturity without coming across as oxidized. Some found it outlandish and overdone, but still well made, interesting, and not a bad wine.

Things started to change in 2010-2011 as Bereche lowered the dosage to 7 and then 6 then 4 and then even did some small batches at 2 and 0 g/L. Demand also rose quite a bit in this timeframe and even as they increased production by 50%, the wines did not see as much pre-disgorgement age as they once did (the drop was anywhere from 12-36 months less age prior to disgorgement). The wine became much too dry to me and not as complex. Bereche then started pushing the dosage back up to 6 g/L and slowed down the release of supply for a couple years to push the pre-disgorgement aging out at least another 12 months and get back to around four years of aging before disgorgement. This helped, but then the perpetual blend started to go volatile and slightly too mature. Not enough to necessarily offend most people (heck, some liked it), but enough to make it a worry. It is being cleaned up now, is better, and the end result is still a top wine but I doubt it will ever be what it once was and I wish I would have saved more bottles from its golden era. That is the problem with a perpetual blend. You really, really have to keep an eye on it to make sure it is consistent from year to year and try to keep separate batches/vessels. One bad move or wine reaction and you can lose it all or spend many years trying to correct it. Billiot's Laetitia cuvee is another example of this. Laetitia Billiot is still trying to get the wine back up to what it once was before her father pushed things a bit too far and let the volatility get out of control.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#90 Post by K. Tr@n » July 29th, 2020, 5:26 pm

Brad Baker wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 9:26 am
The Taittinger NV Brut vs. Larmandier-Bernier Longitude argument is an interesting one. I prefer the Longitude, but the Taittinger NV Brut is a solid wine as well. The two are made completely differently in many regards, but there are some similarities. First off, the Tattinger is majority Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with grapes sourced from all over Champagne so it is going to be very, very different from the Longitude which is all Chardonnay from top Cote des Blancs villages. If you like some Pinot in your wine, you might even prefer the Taittinger NV Brut over Comtes. Taittinger NV Brut is all steel, Longitude is mostly Stockinger oak barrels/vessels of various sizes/ages. The Longtiude uses more reserve wine and it is a perpetual blend going back to 2004; Taittinger is normally in the 20-25% reserve range and it is a more traditional blend of reserves kept separately and most of it is from the two years prior to the base vintage. Both usually go through malolactic. Both see around the same amount of time on the lees though I have had some Longitude that has seen close to five years of aging pre-disgorgement. Dosage-wise, the Taittinger is going to be up around 9 g/L and Larmandier-Bernier at about 3 g/L.

In terms of picking, Taittinger buys in quite a bit of its grapes for the NV, so I would expect, the wines would come in with higher acid content and less potential alcohol, but chapitilisation can get the potential alcohol up to 10.5 - 11 percent which is probably not be that far off from where the Longitude comes in. With both doing malolactic, the acidity levels are probably more similar than what you experience in tasting the wine. Longitude uses more and older reserves, wood fermentation and aging. It also ferments with native yeasts vs. Taittinger's more commercial selection. All of these matter, but at the end of the day, a pure Chardonnay from top villages with a low dosage is much, much different from a Pinot heavy blend sourced from all over Champagne with a much higher dosage.

The end result is going to be two very, very different wines. Each will have its fans. Be happy that your favorite Champagne is not everyone elses. If it was, you probably would have trouble getting it and pricing would be ridiculous.

My wife actually prefers NV Veuve Clicquot to Krug Grande Cuvee. She enjoys both, but always finds Krug a bit too rich or as she says 'dark tasting' for her palate. She also tends to prefer her Champagne with less than five years of post-disgorgement age on it. Nothing wrong with this and she can pretty much instantly tell what I am going to love, dislike, and just kind of find average. Her palate is great and she can calibrate it with mine, but it is different and nothing wrong with that.
Thanks, this is a lot of good information. I tried the LBL against the Fhilippe Fourrier blanc de noirs and preferred the blanc de noirs. Maybe I like Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier based champagne more. That is until you bring up Comtes. It is probably my favorite of all time. I cannot afford to drink it all the time, but every time I have it, I feel really happy. I know someone said earlier it was just an aperitif kind of wine, but for me, it ticks every box.

There are some NV champagnes that I like more than La Francaise, but they are a lot more expensive. Like Billecart, Charles Heidsieck, or Ruinart. Then there are vintage champagnes that can be better than CdC, but they are also a lot more expensive. I'm always coming from the best QPR for me angle.

In general, most grower champagnes will not perform as well as these house champagne. This statement should not be that controversial. People throw out 3 or 4 of their favorite grower champagnes as counter example, but that is not the point.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#91 Post by AD Northup » July 29th, 2020, 5:43 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 5:26 pm
Brad Baker wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 9:26 am
The Taittinger NV Brut vs. Larmandier-Bernier Longitude argument is an interesting one. I prefer the Longitude, but the Taittinger NV Brut is a solid wine as well. The two are made completely differently in many regards, but there are some similarities. First off, the Tattinger is majority Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with grapes sourced from all over Champagne so it is going to be very, very different from the Longitude which is all Chardonnay from top Cote des Blancs villages. If you like some Pinot in your wine, you might even prefer the Taittinger NV Brut over Comtes. Taittinger NV Brut is all steel, Longitude is mostly Stockinger oak barrels/vessels of various sizes/ages. The Longtiude uses more reserve wine and it is a perpetual blend going back to 2004; Taittinger is normally in the 20-25% reserve range and it is a more traditional blend of reserves kept separately and most of it is from the two years prior to the base vintage. Both usually go through malolactic. Both see around the same amount of time on the lees though I have had some Longitude that has seen close to five years of aging pre-disgorgement. Dosage-wise, the Taittinger is going to be up around 9 g/L and Larmandier-Bernier at about 3 g/L.

In terms of picking, Taittinger buys in quite a bit of its grapes for the NV, so I would expect, the wines would come in with higher acid content and less potential alcohol, but chapitilisation can get the potential alcohol up to 10.5 - 11 percent which is probably not be that far off from where the Longitude comes in. With both doing malolactic, the acidity levels are probably more similar than what you experience in tasting the wine. Longitude uses more and older reserves, wood fermentation and aging. It also ferments with native yeasts vs. Taittinger's more commercial selection. All of these matter, but at the end of the day, a pure Chardonnay from top villages with a low dosage is much, much different from a Pinot heavy blend sourced from all over Champagne with a much higher dosage.

The end result is going to be two very, very different wines. Each will have its fans. Be happy that your favorite Champagne is not everyone elses. If it was, you probably would have trouble getting it and pricing would be ridiculous.

My wife actually prefers NV Veuve Clicquot to Krug Grande Cuvee. She enjoys both, but always finds Krug a bit too rich or as she says 'dark tasting' for her palate. She also tends to prefer her Champagne with less than five years of post-disgorgement age on it. Nothing wrong with this and she can pretty much instantly tell what I am going to love, dislike, and just kind of find average. Her palate is great and she can calibrate it with mine, but it is different and nothing wrong with that.
Thanks, this is a lot of good information. I tried the LBL against the Fhilippe Fourrier blanc de noirs and preferred the blanc de noirs. Maybe I like Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier based champagne more. That is until you bring up Comtes. It is probably my favorite of all time. I cannot afford to drink it all the time, but every time I have it, I feel really happy. I know someone said earlier it was just an aperitif kind of wine, but for me, it ticks every box.

There are some NV champagnes that I like more than La Francaise, but they are a lot more expensive. Like Billecart, Charles Heidsieck, or Ruinart. Then there are vintage champagnes that can be better than CdC, but they are also a lot more expensive. I'm always coming from the best QPR for me angle.

In general, most grower champagnes will not perform as well a s these house champagne. This statement should not be that controversial. People throw out 3 or 4 of their favorite grower champagnes as counter example, but that is not the point.
Unless you’re referring to (1) for your tastes only or (2) the hundreds/thousands of growers out there beverages a few houses (as opposed to the more well known and widely drank growers), this statement is absurd.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#92 Post by Dan Kravitz » July 29th, 2020, 5:52 pm

I represent two growers. Having skimmed the thread, I am pretty sure that neither has been mentioned, despite a lot of commentary on the 'elite' growers who will not be among the casualties.

William Kelley wrote "artisanal revolution in viticulture and winemaking that began in the 1970s with Selosse". One of the two growers I represent has been Estate Bottling since the 1950s. In fact, last year's 'old and rare' offering from this grower went back to 1973; not sure if he'll still offer '73 this year but am quite certain that at least '75 will be on the list.

I had an order for hundreds of cases of NV Brut for my other grower. They respectfully turned it down. They could have come up with the quantity without sacrificing quality, but preferred not to sell their wine through an internet retailer, even one with an impeccable reputation. This indicates to me that they are in it for the long haul and are sanguine about the future of the Champagne business.

Of course Champagne sales are in the tank. These are not celebratory times. If in 12 months we have vaccines, and plague stories are below the fold, sales will rebound strongly. If COVID is front page news in 2022, our world will not be recognizable and Champagne sales will be irrelevant.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#93 Post by Brad Baker » July 29th, 2020, 6:22 pm

Dan,

Good point. Growers have been around for a long while and there have been various big points of inflection. Selosse gets a lot of credit for the 'grower revolution', but history has a way of rewriting itself. He was of course very important, but I see the first big, modern grower movement to be the establishment of the Special Club or Club Tresors de Champagne. Anselme's father Jacques was a part of that early group and Anselme continued on for a while in the first half of the 80s until they kind of told him to make his wines more traditionally or leave; of course, he left. Selosse always had good vineyards and the wines were always considered very good even before Ansleme. Anselme certainly changed them and made the wines what they are today, but his father wasn't too bad a vinegrower and winemaker either. Also, the first grower to really get 'big' attention was Jacques Diebolt. He was the star for a few years before Selosse took the pole position over and Diebolt has kind of faded recently as Jacques Diebolt has aged. Anselme is a bit younger than Jacques, has more energy IMO, made more distinctive cuvees, tried new things more often, and was always looking to help others learn; he was always taking in young winemakers for a stay/internship. This helped spread the word of what he did and has established him as the revolution starter. He has had the biggest impact, but he didn't start things and he will happily tell you this as well.

Also, Jean Laurent is a lost super star. His family really should get the credit for putting Celles-sur-Ource on the map. A producer who does great things, yet gets far too little respect and attention.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#94 Post by William Kelley » July 29th, 2020, 6:50 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 5:52 pm

William Kelley wrote "artisanal revolution in viticulture and winemaking that began in the 1970s with Selosse". One of the two growers I represent has been Estate Bottling since the 1950s. In fact, last year's 'old and rare' offering from this grower went back to 1973; not sure if he'll still offer '73 this year but am quite certain that at least '75 will be on the list.
Dan, if you read the post I'm quite clear about the fact that there have been grower-bottlers in Champagne since the 19th-century, and that they are very numerous. My point was that when we talk about things such as a "grower revolution"—which Tyson's article that spawned this thread seemed to advert to—we are really talking about a more recent phenomenon, and one which really began with Selosse in the 1970s, even if other producers who have been important don't necessarily get the credit they deserve. If the grower you represent was abandoning herbicides and cultivating his soils, barrel fermenting, and eschewing chaptalization in the 1970s, then perhaps he is an unsung hero who should be talked about in the same terms as Selosse? But if that is not the case, then he is another one of the many growers that have been around in Champagne for a long time, and whose abundance I very clearly drew attention to in the comment that you quote.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#95 Post by William Kelley » July 29th, 2020, 6:59 pm

Brad Baker wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 6:22 pm
I see the first big, modern grower movement to be the establishment of the Special Club or Club Tresors de Champagne
It's certainly a grower movement, and one of some importance, but it was (to some extent, is) clearly different in kind and in aspiration from a grower movement of the kind represented by the likes of Selosse, Egly-Ouriet and Larmandier-Barnier, emphasizing a different approach to viticulture and winemaking.
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#96 Post by Brad Baker » July 29th, 2020, 8:04 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 6:59 pm
Brad Baker wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 6:22 pm
I see the first big, modern grower movement to be the establishment of the Special Club or Club Tresors de Champagne
It's certainly a grower movement, and one of some importance, but it was (to some extent, is) clearly different in kind and in aspiration from a grower movement of the kind represented by the likes of Selosse, Egly-Ouriet and Larmandier-Barnier, emphasizing a different approach to viticulture and winemaking.
William,

To me, this is kind of like talking about whether Run-D.M.C. is new school, old school, older school, or oldest school. I still see Run-D.M.C. as part of the first big shift in hip-hop/rap and the first, modern hip-hop/rap act to be groundbreaking (no disrepect to The Treacherous Three, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, The Sugarhill Gang, etc... who I consider the true old school). Run-D.M.C. is the first or historic new school to me. Sure there have been other waves since then, but they really are the ones who knocked that door down.

At one point, the Club de Tresors was the place to be. You wanted to be a part of it if you were a top grower. That is where you went to showcase your hard work. That was how you got exposure and were able to show that you had a prestige wine like DP, Comtes, Cristal, Belle Epoque, Grande Siecle, etc... This was the first real grower mark in the modern era. I can understand others saying that the Club de Tresors is old school and not modern, but a lot of the big names of today were there in the early days of the Club and pushed their agenda forward while in it - Peters, Selosse, Mandois, Philippe Gonet, Larmandier-Bernier, Margaine, Gimonnet, Guy Charlemagne, Goutorbe, Jose Michel, Paul Bara, etc.. Obviously things have changed over time and so has the approach many of these producers have taken, but from the mid-70s through the 80s, there wasn't any place else most growers wanted to be.

Anselme Selosse, Francis Egly, and Pierre Larmandier are all part of the great growers of today. Selosse and Larmandier-Bernier were also both part of the Club Tresors de Champagne. Their greatness was first showcased on a wide scale there and they left when they felt their greatness was being contained by the rigid confines of the club. That was a mistake that the Club really didn't remedy until the last few years. The 'new school' Club became 'old school' and didn't want to change or support different opinions. A lot of the good guys left.

The approaches of Selosse, Egly, and Larmanider-Bernier are all different, but similar in dedication, passion, and following their heart. Same goes for lots of other producers. I have no problem with love for these folks especially Anselme, but the Club is still my 'new school' and the first 'newer school' was Jacques Diebolt at the start of the 90s. He was really the first producer to get mad love for what he was doing in the vineyards and winery.

We are probably disagreeing over minor details and you can make a case we both have valid points. I just don't see the modern grower movement having its roots at the same place you do; I think it goes back a bit farther in time. Just depends on your perspective.
Brad Baker
The Champagne Warrior

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Jan Janas
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#97 Post by Jan Janas » July 29th, 2020, 9:42 pm

William, Brad,

please keep discussing; I feel like an oenology student who just signed up for a class called "The Grower Champagne Movement: an historical deconstruction" and is for the first time understanding what we are talking about. Heck, this is a history of wine trends account as I have very very rarely seen before. Hats off. Now I'll grab pen and paper and let you guys go on undisturbed... [bye.gif]

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#98 Post by Otto Forsberg » July 29th, 2020, 11:39 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 5:26 pm
In general, most grower champagnes will not perform as well as these house champagne. This statement should not be that controversial.
At this point I bursted out laughing.

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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#99 Post by Jeremy Holmes » July 29th, 2020, 11:43 pm

I don't know much about Run-D.M.C Brad, but I do like those RUN DRC T-shirts that have a silhouette of Aubert de Villaine's head on them
ITB

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William Kelley
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Re: Article: The era of grower Champagnes is over

#100 Post by William Kelley » July 30th, 2020, 7:47 am

Brad Baker wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 8:04 pm
William Kelley wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 6:59 pm
Brad Baker wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 6:22 pm
I see the first big, modern grower movement to be the establishment of the Special Club or Club Tresors de Champagne
It's certainly a grower movement, and one of some importance, but it was (to some extent, is) clearly different in kind and in aspiration from a grower movement of the kind represented by the likes of Selosse, Egly-Ouriet and Larmandier-Barnier, emphasizing a different approach to viticulture and winemaking.
William,

To me, this is kind of like talking about whether Run-D.M.C. is new school, old school, older school, or oldest school. I still see Run-D.M.C. as part of the first big shift in hip-hop/rap and the first, modern hip-hop/rap act to be groundbreaking (no disrepect to The Treacherous Three, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, The Sugarhill Gang, etc... who I consider the true old school). Run-D.M.C. is the first or historic new school to me. Sure there have been other waves since then, but they really are the ones who knocked that door down.

At one point, the Club de Tresors was the place to be. You wanted to be a part of it if you were a top grower. That is where you went to showcase your hard work. That was how you got exposure and were able to show that you had a prestige wine like DP, Comtes, Cristal, Belle Epoque, Grande Siecle, etc... This was the first real grower mark in the modern era. I can understand others saying that the Club de Tresors is old school and not modern, but a lot of the big names of today were there in the early days of the Club and pushed their agenda forward while in it - Peters, Selosse, Mandois, Philippe Gonet, Larmandier-Bernier, Margaine, Gimonnet, Guy Charlemagne, Goutorbe, Jose Michel, Paul Bara, etc.. Obviously things have changed over time and so has the approach many of these producers have taken, but from the mid-70s through the 80s, there wasn't any place else most growers wanted to be.

Anselme Selosse, Francis Egly, and Pierre Larmandier are all part of the great growers of today. Selosse and Larmandier-Bernier were also both part of the Club Tresors de Champagne. Their greatness was first showcased on a wide scale there and they left when they felt their greatness was being contained by the rigid confines of the club. That was a mistake that the Club really didn't remedy until the last few years. The 'new school' Club became 'old school' and didn't want to change or support different opinions. A lot of the good guys left.

The approaches of Selosse, Egly, and Larmanider-Bernier are all different, but similar in dedication, passion, and following their heart. Same goes for lots of other producers. I have no problem with love for these folks especially Anselme, but the Club is still my 'new school' and the first 'newer school' was Jacques Diebolt at the start of the 90s. He was really the first producer to get mad love for what he was doing in the vineyards and winery.

We are probably disagreeing over minor details and you can make a case we both have valid points. I just don't see the modern grower movement having its roots at the same place you do; I think it goes back a bit farther in time. Just depends on your perspective.

In fact, I don't think we are really disagreeing very much at all. If you refer back to post #11, my argument was that Tyson's article was likely to mislead the average reader, in so far as what "grower Champagne" means to the vast majority of consumers is not RMs as a whole, but rather a small, quality-minded subset of RMs. Saying "the era of grower Champagne is over" is going to make folks worry that e.g. Chartogne-Taillet is about to go out of business; whereas nothing could be further from the truth.

Beyond that, whether the small, quality-minded subset of RMs that most consumers think of when we talk about "grower Champagne" is the Special Club; or rather, what I have taken to calling Champagne's "artisanal revolution", beginning with Selosse—well, that is simply a question of perception, and it will depend on the generational and experiential context of the particular consumer. And I accept your well-made point that when some consumers hear "grower Champagne", they are likely thinking "Gimonnet" and "Gaston Chiquet" rather than "Selosse" or "Egly-Ouriet". My perception of this is here limited by my own context: growing up in the UK, that first wave of mainly Club member growers made less of an impression in the market than I think it did on especially the East Coast of the USA; and today, living and working in Burgundy, it is naturally the more Burgundy-inspired growers that are the most talked about.

Even if we seem to differ in our reading of the term "grower revolution", in fact, I don't think there are any fundamental disagreements. You'll note that in post #11, I propose substituting the term "artisanal revolution" for the commonly-used phrase "grower revolution" for precisely the reason that there has been a grower movement in Champagne long before. However—and this is where we may disagree—I do see what I call this "artisanal revolution" beginning with Selosse in the 1970s as something distinctly different from what the Club had done.

The Club was producing high quality wines and "prestige cuvées", the aspiration being to show that growers could do what the Grandes Marques could do, and just as well. What began with Selosse was inspired not my the Grandes Marques but rather by Burgundy (and, in Selosse's case, the Iberian peninsula), and the wines emerging from this "movement" have not sought to emulate the prestige cuvées of the Grandes Marques but rather do something entirely different. That was the case in the vineyards, with the rejection of herbicides, the pursuit of lower yields, planting massale selections, picking much riper grapes, eschewing chaptalization and acidulation; and it was the case in the cellar, with a rejection of enzymes, centrifuges, cultured yeasts, and an embrace of barrel fermentation, longer sur lie élevage of vins clairs, a longer prise de mousse, and lower dosage at disgorgement. To me, these departures from what I would call "conventional" rather than "traditional" practice are the true revolution, not producing a préstige cuvée. Imagine, moreover, the parlous state Champagne would be in today if it hadn't happened!

Of course, for the first decade-plus, the producers that today I would identify as the most important didn't know that much about what the others were doing: Francis Egly did what he did in the 1980s entirely independently of Selosse, and his influences in Burgundy were different (both direct, and mediated by Michel Bettane); he did not take any interest in Spain. Pierre Larmandier's route towards artisanal winemaking began via organic viticulture, with changes in the cellar only coming later; when he travelled to Spain with Anselme Selosse, and watched Selosse tasting the "flor" in Jerez, he didn't feel the same pull towards biological aging. It also took time for all these producers and others to arrive at their mature styles. So it is only retrospectively that what Selosse started doing in the 1970s seems like the beginning of a movement; but it is of the nature of "origins", as historians know, that they are identifiable only in retrospect.

From my perspective, if one looks at the most interesting producers to emerge in Champagne since the millennium, they are much more shaped by what I am calling this artisanal movement than by anything emanating from the Club. Some such as Adrien Dhondt and Alexandre Chartogne are quite directly and obviously influenced by Selosse; others, such as Olivier Collin, have spent time in Avize, been touched by Anselme's influence, and then gone on to forge very distinctive styles of their own (I would say that Olivier is in a sense more inspired by Francis Egly than Selosse these days). And others, such as Cédric Bouchard, without being anyone's disciple or part of any group, demonstrate an independence of spirit—in terms of viticulture, bottling with lower atmospheric pressure, and doing this all in what was historically a backwater and even with, for some cuvées, a less prestigious cépage—that is entirely of a piece with what Selosse and Egly were doing in the 1980s, which is to say challenging conventional wisdom about what Champagne can be. Cédric Bouchard, it's clear, would never make the kind of wines he makes, even today, within the parameters of the Club. Now of course, I think we probably differ on a few counts about which are the most interesting producers in Champagne today; but that is perfectly natural, and as I say, this last paragraph is very much just my perspective.
The Wine Advocate

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