Wine Wednesday Wordologie: “G” is for “Grower” Champagne


Wine Wed Word Grower

Let it be declared from the roof tops: I absolutely adore Grower champagnes! There’s something quite delightful and enchanting about sipping bubbly that was uniquely crafted by the very farmers who have nurtured and harvested the grapes from which the bubbly is made.

“Champagne is champagne,” you say. “What’s the big deal with growers?” Well let’s find out in today’s Wine Wednesday Wordologie, shall we?

Growers vs The Big Houses

The style of grower champagnes is is quite different from the styles of the large champagne houses–known as “Grand Marque” or “Maisons”–who source the grapes for their wines from several different vineyards in the region. The Maisons do this so that they can create a house blend that will have a consistent flavor profile year after year. This style of creating wine makes bubbly drinking really easy because you know what to expect from the bottle each time you open it, no matter when you buy it.

Grower champagnes are from a single vineyard or village which makes them very terroir driven. This means that the wine will distinctively reflect the qualities of the specific soil in which the grapes were grown. That’s the exciting thing about grower champagnes–there’s a flavor surprise because the wines will taste different from year to year.

Here a little analogy for ya: You’re traveling and stop at a small town mom-and-pop restaurant. You order a burger and it’s delicious because the place uses locally grown and made beef; buns; cheese; and veggies. You go back next year, and the burger is just as delicious but it tastes a little different because the locally grown ingredients themselves are slightly different from last year’s crop. That’s what it’s like with grower champagnes: always delicious but never exactly the same.

“Grow” with the Flow

Grower champs Collage

Grower champagnes only account for about 5% of the total champagnes imported into the US annually, so it’s still a relatively small market. With such a small market share you may be wondering how one goes about embarking on a grower champers sipping adventure. Well here’s a #BubbleistaApproved tip for easily identifying them: on the champagne label there are two small letters that identify the type of producer. If you’re looking for growers, look for teeny, tiny letters that say “RM,” which stands for “Récoltant Manipulant.” This generally indicates a grower-producer bubbly.

I’m still experimenting with growers, so that means I have lots more sipping to do {I’m so dedicated}, but 2 of my favorites so far are Jean Lallement et Fils Grand Cru and the Robert Moncuit. Both are bright, refreshing, and elegant sparklers.

If you’re a champagne lover I definitely encourage you to give grower champagnes a whirl. I think you’ll be just as enchanted and delighted by them as I am!