The time has come again for us to look into the eyes of a new year. It just seemed like yesterday we were making resolutions, reflecting on how short life really is, making black eyed pea soup, and popping some obligatory Champagne. (Side note: bubbles are good all the time.)
If you’re going to make any resolutions at all this year, promise yourself you’re going to “up” your Champagne game. Contrary to what you may have heard, improving on your Champagne selections doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money. More times than not, it will be less.
The biggest “show off” offenders are Veuve Clicquot and Moet Chandon spending gazillions on marketing, packaging, and celebrity representation. All of the big Champagne houses from Dom Perignon to Cristal to Ace of Spades (which was just recently acquired by the rapper Jay Z for an undisclosed amount but sells for north of $300 a bottle), buy their grapes from local farmers around the region of Champagne. They blend the grapes in their house style, and market the hell out of it on the streets.
Grower Champagne (in contrast to what you see in every grocery store and gas station), is Champagne made by single estate families. They farm their own properties, pick their own grapes, make their own wine, and control every step along the way.
One Grower we have fallen in love with recently is Guy Charlemagne (we love to say the first name: “Gee”). The family has been making wine and growing grapes since 1892 and make an average of 10,000 cases a year total. (This number includes all of their seven different bottling’s, apposed to Veuve’s yellow label which is a million cases produced annually.) Guy Charlemagne’s Brut Classic is an amazing blend of 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and aged for 2 years in their underground cellars before release. It has a beautiful nose of yellow flowers and ripe summer fruit, with a smooth palate of pear and ripe mandarin. It finishes with a yeasty and light biscuit-y crispness.
So, if you’d like to take something different this year to your New Year’s Eve party, come see us for some Brut Classic from Guy Charlemagne. Warning though… it might grow on you.