Spit Happens #55 – Have you tried Grower Champagne

In the big world of wine  there is a sub category of wine we call bubble. This includes Cava, Prosecco, Spumante , Frizzante, Champagne and other variants. The sub sub-category of Champagne is occupied by the Big Companies like Veuve Clicquot, Moet Chandon, Mumm , Taittinger and others. It’s also got another category called Grower Champagnes.

From Wikipedia  “Grower Champagnes are those Champagnes  that are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards where the grapes are grown. Récoltant-Manipulant is the term in French , and Grower Champagnes can be identified by “RM” on the wine label.”

Growers Champagnes are a subset of a subset but they deserve some love and attention. The distinction is quite significant. Big companies may or may not grow the grapes and in some cases might not even make the base wine. They have a vision of the flavor profile they want for their house brand and the art is in making a consistent product that tastes the same from bottle to bottle and year to year. Grower Champagnes are the antithesis of the big guys. They are single individuals ( can’t even have a partner or family member growing grapes at another property ) that grow the grapes, make the base wine, make it into Champagne and bottle it themselves. They are idiosyncratic with character and significant variety from year to year.

In my opinion the finest source of information on Grower Champagne is an importer named Terry Thiese. I have been reading his catalogs for years and they are fantastic . He has a manifesto that he follows for choosing winemakers to work with.

The Theise Manifesto:

  • Beauty is more important than impact.
  • Harmony is more important than intensity.
  • The whole of any wine must always be more than the sum of its parts.
  • Distinctiveness is more important than conventional prettiness.
  • Soul is more important than anything, and soul is expressed as a trinity of family, soil, and artisanality.

I couldn’t agree more. Get his catalogs here.

Grower Champagnes I would look for in British Columbia would include Pierre Peters from the BC Liquor Stores, Gaston Chiquet and Paul Bara at Marquis Wine Cellars and Champagne Egly-Ouriet private BC Liquor Outlets, get in touch with That’s Life Gourmet Wine Agency to find these products.

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers

David Lancelot

Spit Happens #54 – Oregon

Oregon is one region that the average wine consumer knows a tiny bit about but rarely gets an opportunity to taste. The wineries aren’t usually big enough to export to Canada and the retailers look to California due to regional recognition and industry marketing initiatives . If we are lucky we might find good Washington wines due to proximity. Oregon is the in between state. Here and there you will find agents who like and represent these wineries and retailers who seek out unrealized opportunities. Shanyn Ward from Cask and Barrel Liquor Store in Westbank BC and Colin Bussiere from Only Hearts Spirits Agency recently offered wine lovers in the Okanagan a taste of Oregon.

  • Raptor Ridge 2017 Tuscowallame Estate Gruner Veltliner from Chehalam , 24-48 days in stainless steel, no stems, light neutral nose,medium weight ,some clean citrus notes. Very seafood friendly. Early appeal. $39.69
  • Foris Vineyard 2016 Dry Gewurztraminer,fermented whole cluster, 30 days in stainless steel. Pungent melon, a bit herbal cilantro character with a preserved lemon nose. Slightly reminiscent of Thrills Gum. $32.89
  • Hamacher 2015 “H” Pinot Noir, cold soak 7 days and fermented with wild yeast. Lots of red fruit and wild herbs and a bit of wet leather, primarily Pommard clone and a Swiss clone $52.99
  • Hamacher 2013 Pinot Noir, cherry and strawberry rhubarb, medium weight. Most in the room thought it had lots of life left but I’m in the minority , I feel there are maybe 1-2 years of improvement left for this wine. Aged 3 years before release, 370 cases made. $95.79
  • Foris Vineyards 2016 Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Blueberry notes and a bit of currant, supportive oak but not pushy ( 16% 2nd fill barrels). Estate grown $39.39
  • Raptor Ridge 2015 Barrel Select Pinot Noir, polished tannins, nice density with a mushroomy oriental 5 spice quality. Sourced from Meredith Mitchell and Shea Vineyards, 2 vineyards with
    great pedigree. $48.99 . This is my pick of the evening.
  • Brittan Vineyards 2014 Basalt Block Pinot Noir Mcminnville . Mineral and iron, big and dense. Firm raspy tannin from this single vineyard AVA. Lots of upside potential. $91.69.

Brittan Vineyards [Andrea Johnson Photography]

 

The continuing weak Canadian dollar doesn’t help these prices but if you are looking for a fresh perspective on American wines this is the place to start.

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers.

David Lancelot

12345...1020...