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.