Grower Champagne Gems


Grower Champagne Gems

Tom Baxter |
An esteemed producer of Epernay once remarked that “Champagne should be to wine what haute couture is to fashion.” Since the 1800s when this was first uttered, the epicentre of the world’s most fashionable sparkling wine has undergone fundamental changes: commercial networks have blossomed, vinification practices refined and, most pertinently, the role of the vineyard in this complex picture re-imagined.

Grower Champagne is most succinctly defined by houses carrying the ‘RM’ (récoltant manipulant) designation, meaning producers who produce wine from fruit they have grown themselves. Whilst this has been the norm in the case of many regions, much of the indefatigable rise of the great Champagne houses was instead predicated on purchased fruit sourced from across the sub-regions of Champagne. It was against this very backdrop that a new generation of smaller-scale, uncompromising winemakers was born. Think smaller vineyards, a tightly-defined rationale on how to keep them and winemaking practice that allows the wines to sing of their terroir.

And so, as the weather continues to warm and the quest for refreshing wines becomes all the more urgent, Sotheby’s Wine has decided to showcase these artisanal producers and their offerings. Names both celebrated and under-the-radar are to be found here: Champagne Clandestin (a newer project co-managed by Bertrand Gautherot of Vouette et Sorbée), two gifted brothers of Ludes in Huré Frères and many more. Likewise, we couldn’t assemble this selection without offering to quench your insatiable thirst for Pascal Agrapart and Frédéric Savart.

Allow this selection to show you the unquestionable talent of the champenois growers and what can be achieved with the right grapes in the right hands.

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