At Champagne + Fromage one can experience a unique kind of champagne. Grower champagnes have been on the rise the past few years and are a fixture at Champagne + Fromage. To truly appreciate their unique character one must understand how they are created.
Whether you know them as “farmer fizz” or grower champagne this special type of champagne is sweeping the UK as well as the US. Grower champagnes are sparkling wines that are made in the Champagne region of France. They are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards from which the grapes come. This is what separates them from the competition.
The traditional big Champagne houses depend on growers and mostly buy their grapes from many individual vineyards instead of having their own grapes. This is what gives the big houses their consistent “house style” that can be made year after year. Meanwhile grower champagnes have been described as “artisanal winemaking” with “terroir” being at the forefront for each wine. The goal of grower champagnes is to make a better wine every year rather than sticking with one “house style” every year.
With grower champagnes gaining more and more attention in not only the United Kingdom, but also the United States there has been plenty of feedback to this new phenomenon. Those that are supporters of this like it for a few different reasons. Grower champagnes are produced in smaller quantities, which make it more special when you can get a taste of the champagne. There is a greater expression of terroir and vintage variation. Finally the drinkers feel a closer connection to what they are drinking. Probably because they know exactly where the grapes that have been put into the champagne comes from, one source, not multiple.
Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s phenotype, unique environment contexts and farming practices, when the crop is grown in a specific habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character. (from Wikipedia, need to reword)
Vintage in winemaking, is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product. A vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all, or primarily, grown and harvested in a single specified year. In certain wines, it can denote quality, as in Port wine, where Port houses make and declare vintage Port in their best years. From this tradition, a common, though incorrect, usage applies the term to any wine that is perceived to be particularly old or of a particularly high quality.
Grower Champagnes are identified by the RM initials on the bottles, which stand for Récoltant-Manipulant.
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