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Grower Champagne


wmsmurray
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As much as I love Champagne and sparkling wines, I know nothing about the smaller grower champagnes. I would like to hear everyone's suggestions, notes, etc. on their favorites and maybe some places in the DC Metro area to find some of these wines.

"See these? American donuts. Glazed, powered, and raspberry-filled. Now, how's that for freedom of choice."

-Homer Simpson

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i simply hunt for 'em using the "RM" registration mark on the label -- indicating it's from a recoltant-manipulant (grower who makes his own wine). totally varies by region as to what you'll find, and since i'm in the other Washington, i'm not much help.

Pierre Peters and Serveaux are two notable finds that come to mind, both NV blanc de blancs. but it's really a bit of a duck hunt.

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Becky Wasserman also represents some great small producers of Champage.

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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Here's the long Champagne thread that we had about 2 years back. It eventually dovetailed into RMs, as well as other types of good sparklers.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=10340

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I haven't had time to read through the thread yet but will hopefully get to it over Christmas.

Here's the long Champagne thread that we had about 2 years back. It eventually dovetailed into RMs, as well as other types of good sparklers.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=10340

"See these? American donuts. Glazed, powered, and raspberry-filled. Now, how's that for freedom of choice."

-Homer Simpson

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  • 5 weeks later...
J. Sellose? Still from Bobby Kacher? If so it should be found in the DC area...

There's a rumor going around that Jacques Selosse got p-oed at some distributors/retailers that were hoarding the wines. I can't remember all the details, and it was told me in the "I heard..." fashion from someone else. But supposedly Selosse has stopped exporting.

As far as grower-produced wines go (I can't believe I missed this post, but computer crashing will do that), there are plenty of good ones coming into the U.S. lately. And they aren't all being brought in by Terry any longer. A few comments to be made here...

1. Production levels aren't as high as you get with the negociants. Even so, there isn't that large of a price difference. If one makes an analogy to Recoltant Manipulant Champagne, and California cult wines (I'm not suggesting one make the comparison, but it has been done before -- mainly in terms of limited production/allocation), there isn't a big price difference, and some of the RM wines are priced lower than wines with greater production and distribution.

2. On most lists of "recommended producers," you'll find a lot of Blanc de Blancs wines. Although there have always been RM wines, the "movement" (if I can use that word) with making them more available started with the Cote de Blancs.

3. SOME RM producers don't have the ideal amount of cave space for cellaring that they would like to have. This can result in some wines being released to the market earlier than the producer would like to make room for the next assemblage.

4. As John mentioned, you will find what the French government considers a Recoltant Manipulant wine by finding the letters RM followed by a number in incredibly small print on the wine label. You will also find the letters NM for Negociant Manipulant (such as Moet et Chandon) and CM for Cooperative Manipulant (such as Nicola Feulliatte).

5. My favorites (at least top of mind today): Pierre Peters, Larmandier-Bernier, Fleury, Franck Bonville, Rene Collard, H. Billiot, E. Barnaut, Diebolt-Vallois, L. Aubry, Tarlant.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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J. Sellose? Still from Bobby Kacher? If so it should be found in the DC area...

There's a rumor going around that Jacques Selosse got p-oed at some distributors/retailers that were hoarding the wines. I can't remember all the details, and it was told me in the "I heard..." fashion from someone else. But supposedly Selosse has stopped exporting.

It's possible. It seems like most of BK's wines these days go to one chain...

RAF

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I had a bottle of Rene Collard 85 a couple of months ago and it was spectacular. I got it at KL in San Francisco but I think they might have been selling it online too. Very rich, dark coloured, rather honeylike. KL had a whole bunch of stuff of his, back into the 70s at least I think.

Here's a tasting note I wrote on the 1985 Rene Collard Brut Rose. You're right, K&L has older vintages as well.

1985 Champagne Rene Collard Brut Rose. In the 1980s, Monsieur Collard only made rosé in the 1985 and 1988. It is made from 100% pinot meunier, of which 12% was added as still red wine, from the family-owned vineyards in Reuil. Meunier is usually relegated to blending grape status due to its early maturing quality and fruitiness that rounds out the blends For those who have trouble finding a rose that does something for them, then this is the wine for you. You might not like what it does, but there’s no arguing it definitely does something. This wine shows off concentrated cherry and citrus oil flavors. It also has strong spice and earthy components similar to a great Burgundy. The finish seems to go on forever. It is unlike any other sparkling wine I've ever had.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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