Champagne drinkers all over the world know about big producers (aka Champagne houses) i.e G.H. Mumm, Pol Roger, Veuve Cliquot, Lanson, Perrier et Jouet, just to name a few.
These are well established Champagne houses that own some vineyards, but mainly buy grapes from farmers, and occasionally, even still wines for their blends. All spend substantial amounts to send their sales people to important markets to make presentations, on public relations assignments, and market effectively to maintain a presence in world markets.
They know what style of champagne their customers like, blend accordingly, and make a range of wines at different quality levels and price points.
There are thousands of growers and small producers in Champagne, some of whom sell their produce to big houses, others use a portion of their fruit (generally the ripest and from best blocks of their vineyards) to make their own, and sell to Parisians who visit their cellars. (Paris is approximately 140 kms from Champagne and can be easily reached on autoroute).
Recently, Toronto wine writers were treated to a delightful tasting of small champagne producers, which proved to be a revelation with regard to theri quality and reasonable prices.
Here are the brands:
Blanc de Blancs, Cote de Blanc, Champagne Laherte
Pale straw colour with very small bubbles (a sign of quality). Fruity, acid-driven, and lively mouth feel. An invigorating champagne that can be enjoyed as an aperitif, or with- fleshed fish specialties especially with cream sauces.
Jaquesson Cuvee 736, Champagne Jaquesson
Although there is no decleration of vintage on the label the wine was produced entirely from 2008 vintage fruit. The blend of 53 peer cent chardonnay, 29 pinot noir, and 18 pinot meunier is the 736 blend of the house which was founded in the 18th century.
The bubbles a re very small and numerous. The wine has a floral smell with hints of honey, is dry, ad refined with a rich mouth feel an excellent food wine.
Terroir Blanc de Blanc Extra Brut, Champagne Pascal Agrapat
Golden colour with extremely fine perlage. Exudes aromas of white flowers and elegant apples and pears.
A robust wine with an excellent mouth feel and depth.
Resonance Blanc de Noir, Champagne Marie Courtin
Delightful aromas of flowers and white-fleshed fruits with honey undertones. Elegant and refined mouth feel with layers of flavours.
Excellent balance and long finish
Clouet, 2002, Champagne Andre Clouet
Pale strww colour with a lot of medium-sized bubbles from 100 per cent pinot noir in the town of Bouzy which is also known for its rare, still pinot noir wines.
Only 3000 bottles were produced.
An almost full -bodied champagne which is rare in the region. Ripe, white fruit aromas greet the nose, with honey undertones.
Pleasant mouth feel with a long finish. A food wine especially with sauteed shrimps, dill and cream sauce, breaded Dover sole fillets with sauce remoulade, ceviche.
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