Grower Champagne Monday
If I could only drink one type of wine for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Champagne. I love Nebbiolo and Riesling and the incredible complexity and diversity they both offer, but for me, Champagne trumps them both. Especially Grower Champagne…
Grower-Producer, or Récoltant-Manipulant, is a term used to describe those who bottle wine exclusively from the vineyards they farm themselves. This practice may not seem like a radical idea, but it is far from the norm in Champagne. In many ways, these wines are the antithesis of most Champagne on the market.
The tradition in Champagne is to blend Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier (and a few other obscure varietals) together. Often the grapes are sourced from different farmers spread across many villages in the Champagne region, and the final blend is composed of wine from multiple vintages. The most well-known Champagne houses are famous for creating a blend that tastes very similar from year to year. Blending allows them to make a more consistent, if maybe less exciting wine.
Growers tend to be much smaller than the large houses, so instead of blending, many producers source grapes from one village or even a single vineyard. Sometimes their wines are made with only one grape varietal or come from only one vintage. This allows them to demonstrate a pure expression of the land they farm that is rarely achieved by the larger houses.
So is Grower Champagne inherently better than big house Champagne? Of course not. But when I drink Grower Champagne, I often find the experience more compelling. The wines are of course delicious, but they are also incredibly interesting. We all praise the best of Burgundy for being site-specific expressions of a single varietal from a single harvest, yet we rarely think of Champagne this way. Drinking Chardonnay from the Cote de Blancs and tasting the difference between grapes sourced from Avize and Le Mesnil is truly fascinating. Add to that vintage variance, time on the lees, dosage, and all the other geeky details that make Champagne so complicated, and my love for wine is completely reinvigorated.
Finally, and maybe most importantly for many of us, Grower Champagne often offers tremendous value. At 1760, we always have at least ten Champagnes on the list that are under $100, and to help encourage you to drink more bubbles, we offer 20% off all bottles of Champagne every Monday night. Occasionally we will feature some of our favorite producers or explore themed flights, but above all, every Monday we will drink more Grower Champagne. Come raise a glass with us!