So accustomed are we to hearing about and buying Champagnes from the well-known and well-established houses (Veuve Cliquot, Tattinger, Moet & Chandon, and so on), that it’s easy to miss the fact that scores of delicious Champagnes are made by small growers.
These growers, often family firms, make what might be called artisanal Champagnes fro the grapes they grow. As a result, a small grower’s Champagne is usually besed on a very uch smaller number of base wines that are blended together before the wine undergoes the second, bubble-inducing fermentation.
Fewer wines in the blend mean that a small grower has less flexibility in creating the flavour of its Champagne; rather its Champagne will necessarily reflect the terror where the grapes were grown. In the past, many small growers sold their Champagnes exclusively in France, but a number are now being exported (albeit in small amounts) and they are fascinating to taste. Among the producers to look for: Rene Geoffroy, Jean Milan, and Pierre Peters.