We are very proud of our list of characterful artisan Champagnes. Lovingly hand-crafted by small growers in one of the world's best known wine regions, these wines capture the senses of both self-belief and commercial empowerment that have seen subtle but perceptible shifts away from the domination of the larger Houses.
In the past decade there has been a real change in the region, akin to Burgundy in the 1970s and 1980s and Piedmont in Italy now, away from the supremacy of the merchant and blending across the region, to a smaller scale, village and vineyard-specific focus. This has meant a rise in artisanal Champagne houses, providing a challenge to the hegemony of the Grandes Marques, and making essentially rarer Champagnes. Quantity of production is low, but there have been concomitant increases in the quality of the liquid and the significance of its provenance.
The real appeal of Grower Champagnes – other than being exceptionally good value – is that they do not aspire to a consistent house style akin to that of the larger Champagne houses. Instead, their Champagnes are made humbly to reflect their roots in a wholly literal sense: Grower Champagnes will only use grapes from their own vineyards, unlike the large Champagne houses which may use grapes sourced from as many as 80 different vineyards across the entire region. What this means is that the wine in every bottle has been lovingly hand-crafted in one specific place and from one specific source. The result, almost paradoxically, is seldom completely consistent, especially over time, but instead, the combination of a truly individual geography, geology and climate, and the creation of a taste that holds within it a true sense of place.
Simon Field MW - Champagne Buyer
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