The emergence of grower champagne
PCC Taste | December 2012
Champagne. Two syllables, synonymous with living large. One word, a bazillion bubbles and the very notion of the goods. Of course, every savvy consumer knows that "the goods" are the exclusive domain of a handful of brands whose names are synonymous with the finest, handmade elegance. The ne plus ultra and ... if only it were true.
Big-name Champagne is one of the most successful (and lucrative) rackets on the planet. It begins with factory-farmed grapes that are manipulated mechanically and with cultured yeasts, enzymes and sugar to render them as close to neutral in character as possible. The base wines are then doctored by adjusting the dosage liqueur to create the particular "house" style. From there, a sophisticated marketing machine spins decent but unremarkable wine into metaphoric and literal gold. Voilą. Industrial-grade effervescence, complete with a snazzy brand to impress your friends.
Which is just fine, unless you realize that Champagne is wine. And like the best wines, real Champagne is grown, not made, by people, not corporations. Fine fizz tells the tale of a vineyard, rather than what a marketer thinks you'll pay to consume. It's about terroir, and a human being who is passionate about the expression of that character. It's about families, not factories. It's about soul over sales and market share.
Farmers do it best. The past 15 years have seen the emergence of "grower Champagne." These are estate-grown wines produced by the people who farm the grapes, who are committed to growing wines that express the character of the region, the grape and the vineyard. Amazingly, these wines are no more expensive (and often less) than their big-brand counterparts. At PCC we're proud to support "Farmer Fizz" and to offer our customers the flavor of authentic Champagne. We invite you to discover the joy of this inimitable effervescence. Look for selections from Pierre Peters, L. Aubry, Gaston Chiquet and Chartogne-Taillet — some of the finest growers of one of the world's most magical wines.