Grower’s Champagne is increasingly appearing on the menus of some of the world’s hippest restaurants. Here are some of the most outstanding.
Vazart-Coquart & Fils
This Chouilly-based house makes a range of noteworthy Champagnes, many of which are 100 percent Chardonnay and limited to a few thousand bottles each. Their Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut, fresh and creamy on the nose, with power and weight on the palate, earned a commendable score of 17.5 from British wine critic Jancis Robinson.
Olivier Collin’s family has grown grapes in Congy, a tiny, rural zone southwest of the Cote des Blancs, since 1812. The family had always sold their fruit, and eventually rented their 8.7 hectares to Pommery. Collin put himself through law school to find a legal way to get his family domain back, succeeding in 2005. Since then he has made Champagnes himself, taking a sustainable and terroir approach inspired by another key figure, Guillaume Selosse and his visonary father, Anselme, of house Jacques Selosse. Look out for Les Pierrieres Blanc des Blancs 2015 and the Les Roises 2013.
Maison Pierre Bertrand is in Cumieres, a stone’s throw from the abbey of Hautvillers, home of the 17th-century monk Dom Perignon, one of the most significant characters in the history of Champagne. The house’s Premier Cru Brut, non-vintage, has been given a very high 98 out of 100 points, and was lauded for its power, definition, vitality and harmony, by wine magazine Decanter.
Rated by Daniel Pires, chef sommelier at the Royal Champagne hotel in Champillon as Champagne’s next big winemaker, young Antoine, the grandson of Guy Bouvet of Maison Champagne Guy Bouvet, is turning heads with his biodynamically produced, very limited cuvees. His Extra Brut Chardonnay is made from grapes from two lieux-dits (a small geographical area bearing a traditional name) planted in the 1950s. The Champagne has great finesse and minerality.
Alexandre Penet is a fifth-generation winemaker, who, along with his wife Martine, makes delicious terroir-focused Champagnes. Their Coline & Candice Extra Brut, named after their two daughters, is made from the house’s best Grand Cru parcels of the village of Verzy. Fifty percent Pinot Noir and 50 percent Chardonnay, it was vinified and aged in Verzy oak barrels for eight months. Just 3,000 bottles are produced. It earned an impressive 95 points in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.