Classifying farmer fizz

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Howard Cooper
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Classifying farmer fizz

#1 Post by Howard Cooper »

This is really a learning exercise for me. I have seen proposed classifications of Loire reds and other things on this board that have been useful to me. As I try to learn more about grower Champagne and people's view of them, I thought I would see what people viewed as a kind of hierarchy of the moment. I am going to propose something based on my limited knowledge as kind of a stalking horse to get things started. Please take potshots as I consider this more of a learning exercise than anything else.

1st Growth

Seloisse

2nd Growth

Prevost
Bouchard
Vilmart
Colin
Lanson (should this be here - is it a grower or a house?)

3rd Growth

Bereche
Egly Ouriet
Chartogne-Taillet
Jacquesson

4th Growth

Suenen
Marguet
Lassaigne

5th Growth

Vergnon

I know I am leaving out a bunch of excellent producers - largely because I don't know their wines well enough or because I forgot about them.
Last edited by Howard Cooper on January 12th, 2021, 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#2 Post by Doug Schulman »

If you're talking about quality across the line rather than price, I don't think Selosse is in a class by himself. Sure, demand and pricing would say so, but the wines are quite inconsistent. Blind tastings can often yield very different opinions than tasting when looking at the label with those. I do agree that when they're on, they are amazing.

I think Vilmart is top tier and probably Pierre Peters too. Peters is based more on the vintage bottlings than the NV, so I could totally understand an argument for demotion there, but Chetillons is one of the great wines of Champagne in my opinion. Vilmart's Coeur de Cuvee is comparable in quality to the big house Tete de Cuvees, at least for the first 15 years or so, and in weaker vintages I think it surpasses those wines. Even some vintages where those wines are generally not made, like '01, and in vintages where those big name wines can tend to underperform, like '07, Coeur de Cuvee is of unbelievably high quality.

I would elevate Egly to 2nd, easily, and even call it a super second.

I'm not totally sold on Prevost the way some people are. I think the wines are nice, but that there are quite a few better grower Champagnes out there. So, not a 2nd or even 3rd for me, but many people will disagree.

This is interesting to think about.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#3 Post by Howard Cooper »

Doug Schulman wrote: December 31st, 2020, 5:10 am If you're talking about quality across the line rather than price, I don't think Selosse is in a class by himself. Sure, demand and pricing would say so, but the wines are quite inconsistent. Blind tastings can often yield very different opinions than tasting when looking at the label with those. I do agree that when they're on, they are amazing.

I think Vilmart is top tier and probably Pierre Peters too. Peters is based more on the vintage bottlings than the NV, so I could totally understand an argument for demotion there, but Chetillons is one of the great wines of Champagne in my opinion. Vilmart's Coeur de Cuvee is comparable in quality to the big house Tete de Cuvees, at least for the first 15 years or so, and in weaker vintages I think it surpasses those wines. Even some vintages where those wines are generally not made, like '01, and in vintages where those big name wines can tend to underperform, like '07, Coeur de Cuvee is of unbelievably high quality.

I would elevate Egly to 2nd, easily, and even call it a super second.

I'm not totally sold on Prevost the way some people are. I think the wines are nice, but that there are quite a few better grower Champagnes out there. So, not a 2nd or even 3rd for me, but many people will disagree.

This is interesting to think about.
Thanks. I did not include Peters because of lack of experience with the wines. Your response is exactly what I was hoping for.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#4 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Lanson a farmer fizz? They're a multi-million bottle grande marque.

And definitely not among 2. Cru, be it a grande marque or farmer fizz.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#5 Post by IlkkaL »

I think both Lanson and Jacquesson buy grapes even if the latter mostly farms theirs so strictly speaking they are not supposed to be here (Lanson especially so). Selosse is completely singular and many are fanatic about his/their wines but in a class of its own based on *quality*? Not sure. I would place Egly, Bereche and Chartogne quite high as all three produce wines that for me represent the pinnacle of grower Champagne.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#6 Post by Dennis Atick »

Personally, I would rank Suenen higher in the hierarchy. Personal preference, but I dig the wines. Relative values, too. And I realize there's no way to have an exhaustive and complete list, but I'd stick Margaine in there somewhere as well.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#7 Post by AD Northup »

I’d put Laherte Freres in the hierarchy somewhere as well, tons of great cuvees coming out, and Grand Crayeres was up there with most of the best bubbly I had this year.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#8 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Selosse is good, but in no way singularly great over the other top tier producers.

Bouchard, Peters (I treasure their NV, not just the vintage wines), Vilmart, Chartogne, Colin (I have not had much, but it’s very good) and Egly can all take top prize any given Sunday.

Beyond that it’s a bit of an embarrassment of riches, and more about specific wines. To do this properly we would need to determine the specific bar being used since they all make a number of wines.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#9 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

With largely grand cru Ambonnay fruit, a fine and varied lineup and stellar reputation among growers and drinkers alike, Egly-Ouriet belongs at or near the top of any such list.

Selosse does not deserve singular top billing, in my opinion. They can be great, but are also odd, inconsistent and very culty.

Diebolt-Vallois belongs on any such list, with quality at every level and a stellar top cuvee.

There are so many small and fine producers. Without some kind of objective criteria to at least weed out a few, how does it not become just everyone declaring which are their favorites? Also there are some great producers that don't get much exposure in the US.
Last edited by Sarah Kirschbaum on December 31st, 2020, 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#10 Post by Russell Faulkner »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:05 am

There are so many small and fine producers. Without some kind of objective criteria to at least weed out a few, how does it not become just everyone declaring which are their favorites? Also there are some great producers that don't get much exposure in the US.
Exactly.

But I'll declare my favourites simply by ranking in the cellar (% of total Champagne) - Cut off is 12 bottles.

Pierre Péters 20.0%
Lilbert-Fils 17.7%
Vilmart & Cie 15.3%
Diebolt-Vallois 8.6%
Jacques Selosse 4.9%
Champagne Raymond Boulard 1.7%

There are lots of newer guys too, I would mention Charles Dufour and Timothee Stroebel simply because no one else did yet.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#11 Post by Otto Forsberg »

But can we really take in any producers that have been founded after 1855? [snort.gif]

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#12 Post by JDavisRoby »

Where does J Lassalle rank? I recall their bottle stating they’re Premier Cru.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#13 Post by Max S. »

Is Tarlant worth adding in? I've only had one of their bottles and it was wonderful.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#14 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

Second diebolt vallois

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#15 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

JDavisRoby wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:23 am Where does J Lassalle rank? I recall their bottle stating they’re Premier Cru.
The Premier Cru is the ranking of the village(s) where the grapes come from. Champagne has a truly odd ranking for Grand and Premier cru. It's not a vineyard, it's the village.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#16 Post by Michae1 P0wers »

I don't know enough to put these in any order, and agree with many already listed, but would add Agrapart in there somewhere relatively high.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#17 Post by Jay Miller »

Tastes in Champagne vary so widely that I don't think you're going to get consensus. For example I'm not a fan of Egly Ouriet or Ledru (or Krug for that matter) but many people whose palates I respect adore them.

So here are mine:

1st (price allowing I buy these producers)
Benoit Lahaye
Bereche
Calsac
Marie Courtin
Selosse
Vilmart


2nd (I sometimes buy these producers and have had amazing wines from all of them)
Pierre Peters
Marguet
Prevost
Collin

3rd (all of these have some wines I love but enough others that I'm less fond of to put the in the middle tier)
Bouchard
Drappier
Agrapart
Vouette et Sorbee

4th

Chartogne Taillet
Diebolt Vallois


5th
Egly Ouriet
Ledru
Jacquesson
Rodez
Paillard


I still haven't tried Suenen :(
Last edited by Jay Miller on December 31st, 2020, 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#18 Post by Max S. »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:39 am
JDavisRoby wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:23 am Where does J Lassalle rank? I recall their bottle stating they’re Premier Cru.
The Premier Cru is the ranking of the village(s) where the grapes come from. Champagne has a truly odd ranking for Grand and Premier cru. It's not a vineyard, it's the village.
Is the Cru classification qt all important? Or it similar to subregions where its giving you an idea of the wine and and quality, but not much more?
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#19 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

Jay Miller wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:01 am Tastes in Champagne vary so widely that I don't think you're going to get consensus. For example I'm not a fan of Egly Ouriet or Ledru (or Krug for that matter) but many people whose palates I respect adore them.
That's exactly my point. Classification should not be about what any one taster likes. There's no universe in which someone who is trying to judge quality puts Egly near the bottom, only someone who doesn't happen to like it. Of course we won't get a consensus, but I think when trying to do a classification, we should be at least trying to put personal taste secondary to the extent possible.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#20 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

I think classifying in this way is pointless but if you’re going to do it, it should be done like the 1855 classification was which was based on price. It’s especially pointless when there are many different cuvées.
Last edited by Mich@el Ch@ng on December 31st, 2020, 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#21 Post by Brad Baker »

One question/thought I have always had when trying to do this in my head is how much of a track record is needed to qualify for a list like this. My feeling is that a family/team needs to have been tending their vines and making their wines for 15-20 years with numerous editions of the standard range released to market in order to establish enough of a resume for consideration. There are also cases where some families tended their own vines and released their own wines, but the wines were made in bulk at the local cooperative. Unitl the early 2000s, the entire village of Écueil was like this. Savart, Maillart, and Lacourte-Godbillon all currently make dynamite wines from Écueil and have a history, but it is only the most recent releases that are their own work.

Also, with so many classical 'growers' now officially 'negociants' for various reasons do you simply draw the line at smaller producers and include classical negociants like AR Lenoble and Jacquesson? What about the smaller, but more serious cooperatives like Mailly and Palmer?
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#22 Post by Brad Baker »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:17 am
That's exactly my point. Classification should not be about what any one taster likes. There's no universe in which someone who is trying to judge quality puts Egly near the bottom, only someone who doesn't happen to like it. Of course we won't get a consensus, but I think when trying to do a classification, we should be at least trying to put personal taste secondary to the extent possible.
Sarah,

Completely agree. There are many wines that I personally don't find to be my favorites, but that are undeniably top notch. To me, it isn't about liking a wine as much as it is about respecting, appreciating, and understanding. It just like people and life in general - you don't need to be buddy-buddy with everyone, but there should be proper respect and recognition. Not everyone is going to choose to drink Selosse or Egly, but you cannot deny that both belong at the upper end of any grower/small producer ranking.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#23 Post by Thomas Keim »

Doug Schulman wrote: December 31st, 2020, 5:10 am I think Vilmart is top tier and probably Pierre Peters too.
My two favorite small growers.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#24 Post by JDavisRoby »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:39 am
JDavisRoby wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:23 am Where does J Lassalle rank? I recall their bottle stating they’re Premier Cru.
The Premier Cru is the ranking of the village(s) where the grapes come from. Champagne has a truly odd ranking for Grand and Premier cru. It's not a vineyard, it's the village.
Thanks. Was a true question as a newbie to champagne. Happened to have a bottle last week and remembered it stating premier cru on the bottle.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#25 Post by Keith A k e r s »

IlkkaL wrote: December 31st, 2020, 5:39 am I think both Lanson and Jacquesson buy grapes even if the latter mostly farms theirs so strictly speaking they are not supposed to be here (Lanson especially so).

Bereche also purchases fruit. Such are reasons that I have disdained the term grower and have focused more on referring to such producers as Small House Champagne. There are shitty growers and amazing small producers that buy fruit and vice-versa



I think looking and treating Champagne in a Bordeaux hierarchy sense is infinitely difficult. So much has changed even in the last 5 years, nevermind 20. I know it can be daunting to look at a Champagne section and wonder what to choose. The great thing right now is that you can almost certainly grab a random bottle of small house champagne and get something really damned good. There will naturally be champagnes that don’t fit your palate, but I think a great many will in a variety of ways.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#26 Post by Kris Patten »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:05 am With largely grand cru Ambonnay fruit, a fine and varied lineup and stellar reputation among growers and drinkers alike, Egly-Ouriet belongs at or near the top of any such list.

Selosse does not deserve singular top billing, in my opinion. They can be great, but are also odd, inconsistent and very culty.

Diebolt-Vallois belongs on any such list, with quality at every level and a stellar top cuvee.

There are so many small and fine producers. Without some kind of objective criteria to at least weed out a few, how does it not become just everyone declaring which are their favorites? Also there are some great producers that don't get much exposure in the US.
Diebolt Vallois is NM last I looked, not RM, although agree they make top notch fizz.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#27 Post by IlkkaL »

Keith A k e r s wrote: December 31st, 2020, 8:16 am
IlkkaL wrote: December 31st, 2020, 5:39 am I think both Lanson and Jacquesson buy grapes even if the latter mostly farms theirs so strictly speaking they are not supposed to be here (Lanson especially so).
Bereche also purchases fruit.
Damn, you’re so right and I totally forgot. I’ve only had one of their nego wines and didn’t find it to have the same level of intensity that wines like Rive Gauche, Le Cran and Les Beaux Regards have.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#28 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

Kris Patten wrote: December 31st, 2020, 8:29 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 6:05 am With largely grand cru Ambonnay fruit, a fine and varied lineup and stellar reputation among growers and drinkers alike, Egly-Ouriet belongs at or near the top of any such list.

Selosse does not deserve singular top billing, in my opinion. They can be great, but are also odd, inconsistent and very culty.

Diebolt-Vallois belongs on any such list, with quality at every level and a stellar top cuvee.

There are so many small and fine producers. Without some kind of objective criteria to at least weed out a few, how does it not become just everyone declaring which are their favorites? Also there are some great producers that don't get much exposure in the US.
Diebolt Vallois is NM last I looked, not RM, although agree they make top notch fizz.
I thought they purchased and grew, but I could easily be wrong. Thanks.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#29 Post by Brad Baker »

Bereche has done a number of things to raise funding in order to improve facilities and grow. It wasn't just buying grapes, they actually bought finished, bottled Champagne made by others that was still on the lees from second fermentation. They then disgorged, dosed, labeled, and released the wines as the Raphael and Vincent Bereche Cru Selectionne series. For a few years, it was the only way for them to grow as they waited (and, in some cases, are still waiting) for Champagne from their newer projects (land acquisitions and purchased grapes) to be ready for release.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#30 Post by Billbell »

Filaine should be on the list, and pretty high up.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#31 Post by Brian S t o t t e r »

I think Larmandier-Bernier is worth adding to the list. At least on the 4th tier.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#32 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:17 am
Jay Miller wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:01 am Tastes in Champagne vary so widely that I don't think you're going to get consensus. For example I'm not a fan of Egly Ouriet or Ledru (or Krug for that matter) but many people whose palates I respect adore them.
That's exactly my point. Classification should not be about what any one taster likes. There's no universe in which someone who is trying to judge quality puts Egly near the bottom, only someone who doesn't happen to like it. Of course we won't get a consensus, but I think when trying to do a classification, we should be at least trying to put personal taste secondary to the extent possible.
I personally don’t think that’s possible with grower Champagne even if it may be in other categories. Everyone’s taste is so idiosyncratic, grower by grower, wine by wine. This is to the extent that personal friends like Jay and me, whose tastes align to a very high degree, can’t even agree whether certain Champagne growers are even making good or attractive wine at all. I could get into which ones we disagree on, but it’s a bit beside the point.

One exception maybe I’ve seen: Vilmart. And really Roederer is basically grower Champagne at a very high level.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#33 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Brad Baker wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:38 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:17 am
That's exactly my point. Classification should not be about what any one taster likes. There's no universe in which someone who is trying to judge quality puts Egly near the bottom, only someone who doesn't happen to like it. Of course we won't get a consensus, but I think when trying to do a classification, we should be at least trying to put personal taste secondary to the extent possible.
Sarah,

Completely agree. There are many wines that I personally don't find to be my favorites, but that are undeniably top notch. To me, it isn't about liking a wine as much as it is about respecting, appreciating, and understanding. It just like people and life in general - you don't need to be buddy-buddy with everyone, but there should be proper respect and recognition. Not everyone is going to choose to drink Selosse or Egly, but you cannot deny that both belong at the upper end of any grower/small producer ranking.
Per my response to Sarah, I just can’t agree on this point for grower Champagne. It does not jive with my experience, and I’d like to think of myself as open minded and appreciative by nature.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#34 Post by Keith A k e r s »

IlkkaL wrote: December 31st, 2020, 8:59 am
Keith A k e r s wrote: December 31st, 2020, 8:16 am
IlkkaL wrote: December 31st, 2020, 5:39 am I think both Lanson and Jacquesson buy grapes even if the latter mostly farms theirs so strictly speaking they are not supposed to be here (Lanson especially so).
Bereche also purchases fruit.
Damn, you’re so right and I totally forgot. I’ve only had one of their nego wines and didn’t find it to have the same level of intensity that wines like Rive Gauche, Le Cran and Les Beaux Regards have.
and Ployez-Jacquemart also purchases fruit and they make some delicious champagne. More my point was to highlight some smaller producers that plenty of people love for their quality do purchase fruit and is why I don't like to look at it through just the lens of RM=good and NM=just okay. It also makes putting together a Bordeaux-styled growth system nearly impossible.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#35 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

Jayson Cohen wrote: December 31st, 2020, 10:27 am
Brad Baker wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:38 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:17 am
That's exactly my point. Classification should not be about what any one taster likes. There's no universe in which someone who is trying to judge quality puts Egly near the bottom, only someone who doesn't happen to like it. Of course we won't get a consensus, but I think when trying to do a classification, we should be at least trying to put personal taste secondary to the extent possible.
Sarah,

Completely agree. There are many wines that I personally don't find to be my favorites, but that are undeniably top notch. To me, it isn't about liking a wine as much as it is about respecting, appreciating, and understanding. It just like people and life in general - you don't need to be buddy-buddy with everyone, but there should be proper respect and recognition. Not everyone is going to choose to drink Selosse or Egly, but you cannot deny that both belong at the upper end of any grower/small producer ranking.
Per my response to Sarah, I just can’t agree on this point for grower Champagne. It does not jive with my experience, and I’d like to think of myself as open minded and appreciative by nature.
It sounds as if you are arguing that objective standards of quality can exist for some categories of things, but not for other categories. Or that some categories are too diverse or complex for any objective standards. I can't agree. Objective standards of quality exist, even if they are sometimes difficult to parse.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#36 Post by Stan Y. »

Jay Miller wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:01 am ...For example I'm not a fan of Egly Ouriet or Ledru (or Krug for that matter) but many people whose palates I respect adore them.
This is a tangent but since I'm only an occasional Champagne drinker, the comment about Egly made me think of a question I have, and there's a bunch of Champagne devotees reading this thread who might have an answer.

I had some really wonderful bottles of Egly, probably around 1995-2005, back when Berkeley Wine Co imported it. (It was also pretty cheap, like a lot of good wine back then.) Everything I tried from them was open for business with great complexity, really good stuff. They dropped off my radar for a while, then a local distributor brought them in here a for a few years recently, and everything I've tried has been pretty closed and inscrutable...high quality for sure but not something I've enjoyed drinking.

Has there been a stylistic or generational change there? Or maybe my preferences and taste have changed.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#37 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 11:06 am
Jayson Cohen wrote: December 31st, 2020, 10:27 am
Brad Baker wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:38 am

Sarah,

Completely agree. There are many wines that I personally don't find to be my favorites, but that are undeniably top notch. To me, it isn't about liking a wine as much as it is about respecting, appreciating, and understanding. It just like people and life in general - you don't need to be buddy-buddy with everyone, but there should be proper respect and recognition. Not everyone is going to choose to drink Selosse or Egly, but you cannot deny that both belong at the upper end of any grower/small producer ranking.
Per my response to Sarah, I just can’t agree on this point for grower Champagne. It does not jive with my experience, and I’d like to think of myself as open minded and appreciative by nature.
It sounds as if you are arguing that objective standards of quality can exist for some categories of things, but not for other categories. Or that some categories are too diverse or complex for any objective standards. I can't agree. Objective standards of quality exist, even if they are sometimes difficult to parse.
Agree to disagree then. I don’t believe that objective standards of quality are in any sense universal or must exist to the extent that members of a category like this can always be systematically ranked or tiered in a principled way.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#38 Post by Josh Grossman »

Jay Miller wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:01 am Tastes in Champagne vary so widely that I don't think you're going to get consensus. For example I'm not a fan of Egly Ouriet or Ledru (or Krug for that matter) but many people whose palates I respect adore them.

So here are mine:

1st (price allowing I buy these producers)
Benoit Lahaye
Bereche
Calsac
Marie Courtin
Selosse
Vilmart


2nd (I sometimes buy these producers and have had amazing wines from all of them)
Pierre Peters
Marguet
Prevost
Collin

3rd (all of these have some wines I love but enough others that I'm less fond of to put the in the middle tier)
Bouchard
Drappier
Agrapart
Vouette et Sorbee

4th

Chartogne Taillet
Diebolt Vallois


5th
Egly Ouriet
Ledru
Jacquesson
Rodez
Paillard


I still haven't tried Suenen :(
Pretty close to mine--but I'd add in Mousse Fils and Laherte Freres.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#39 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Josh Grossman wrote: December 31st, 2020, 11:20 am Pretty close to mine--but I'd add in Mousse Fils and Laherte Freres.
FYI, Cedric Mousse is buying grapes for one wine.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#40 Post by Josh Grossman »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: December 31st, 2020, 11:25 am
Josh Grossman wrote: December 31st, 2020, 11:20 am Pretty close to mine--but I'd add in Mousse Fils and Laherte Freres.
FYI, Cedric Mousse is buying grapes for one wine.
That *sshole. A few days after the election (when the results were sure) I opened a 2015 Cédric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Les Ursules, NV Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Grande Réserve, and a 2012 Mousse Fils Champagne Terre d'illite Blanc de Noirs. The Mousse Fils blew me away and was, by far, the WOTN. Granted the Bouchard probably needs much more time and Vilmart Grand Reserve doesn't compare with their other bottlings. More that particular Cedric Mousse bottling, I'd put in the upper echelon of great Champagne.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#41 Post by Russell Faulkner »

Whilst I still don’t really agree with the merit of ranking in this way. It might make more sense to rank wines not houses.

After all that’s somewhat more like the Bordeaux classification works.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#42 Post by J. Rock »

But where does Vincent Couche fit into all of this?
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#43 Post by Eric Ifune »

Fan of big, burly Paul Bara.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#44 Post by Jan Janas »

This is a very interesting question but, as many others have highlighted already, Champagne is such a highly individual, fragmented region, with so many distinctive terroirs and styles that such a classification on a large scale seems too reductive. It would be akin to classifying the whole of Bordeaux, reds, and whites, from all subregions.

Perhaps dividing Champagne into its five subregions and identifying the best growers for each one could be more useful? Saying that Larmandier-Bernier should be in the list somewhere around "4th" sounds crazy considering they are arguably one of the best blanc de blancs specialists. Or Laherte Freres, who for me is at the top of the game for Valle de la Marne and Pinot Meunier. I would love to see the individual endeavours of such growers measured against who shares at least some kind of similarity - starting with the inclusion of terroir could be an effort to include a more Burgundian POV into the debate?

Obviously, the Montaigne de Reims is the biggest terroir and the one who sees more variety within itself, but no classification is perfect, and it would be helpful for those who haven't yet delved deeper into the region to start recognising different soils, climates, main grapes planted and draw some conclusions on how their palate align to each of these elements.

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#45 Post by Frank Murray III »

For me, this topic reminds me similarly of Échelle des Crus. Fortunately, that system is dead. Broadening out to Howard's thought above, you end up with some 5 tiered gradation, which feels similarly subjective to Échelle des Crus. Example...I love Marie Courtin, Larmandier-Bernier, Vilmart, Mousse, Collin, etc, but someone else may think those producers are sub-par to someone like a Lanson or Diebolt Vallois.

The best way in my mind to solve for this is to support who you like with your wallet, and your time (assuming you want to visit the producer).
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: Classifying farmer fizz

#46 Post by Tom G l a s g o w »

Frank Murray III wrote: December 31st, 2020, 4:39 pm For me, this topic reminds me similarly of Échelle des Crus. Fortunately, that system is dead. Broadening out to Howard's thought above, you end up with some 5 tiered gradation, which feels similarly subjective to Échelle des Crus. Example...I love Marie Courtin, Larmandier-Bernier, Vilmart, Mousse, Collin, etc, but someone else may think those producers are sub-par to someone like a Lanson or Diebolt Vallois.

The best way in my mind to solve for this is to support who you like with your wallet, and your time (assuming you want to visit the producer).
Where have you been? It took you 12 hours to weigh in?
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#47 Post by Howard Cooper »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:17 am
Jay Miller wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:01 am Tastes in Champagne vary so widely that I don't think you're going to get consensus. For example I'm not a fan of Egly Ouriet or Ledru (or Krug for that matter) but many people whose palates I respect adore them.
That's exactly my point. Classification should not be about what any one taster likes. There's no universe in which someone who is trying to judge quality puts Egly near the bottom, only someone who doesn't happen to like it. Of course we won't get a consensus, but I think when trying to do a classification, we should be at least trying to put personal taste secondary to the extent possible.
I doubt I could get a consensus on this board that today is Friday. A consensus is not really important. Learning from each other is what is important. For example, I would rather see someone say a producer I did not name qualifies in a specific category rather than up there somewhere because then I have an idea how much the poster likes that producer's wines.

For example, I am very interested in the comments from people who would downgrade Selosse. I mostly put Selosse in its own category because of price (well, that is how the Bordeaux classification was originally done) and am not sure myself how much I like the wines. I wanted to see the reactions of others and am glad to be getting them.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#48 Post by Howard Cooper »

Brad Baker wrote: December 31st, 2020, 7:32 am One question/thought I have always had when trying to do this in my head is how much of a track record is needed to qualify for a list like this. My feeling is that a family/team needs to have been tending their vines and making their wines for 15-20 years with numerous editions of the standard range released to market in order to establish enough of a resume for consideration.
Consistent with your comments, I put Suenen where I did in part because they are newer to me and I have not yet seen how the wines age.
Howard

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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#49 Post by Howard Cooper »

Billbell wrote: December 31st, 2020, 9:56 am Filaine should be on the list, and pretty high up.
This is one name I have not even heard of. Please discuss in more detail.
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Re: Classifying farmer fizz

#50 Post by Howard Cooper »

J. Rock wrote: December 31st, 2020, 2:31 pm But where does Vincent Couche fit into all of this?
You tell us
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