Wine lovers love great wine, right? Most of the highly sought after wines in the world come from very specific sites and vineyards that are well known in the wine community; Richebourg, La Landonne, Cannubi, To Kalon to name a few. Even wines from sites that are much less prestigious often attach the name of their vineyard to the label as it promotes the idea of quality. Yet when you delve into the world of Champagne the exact opposite happens: the name of the house reigns supreme. Names like Krug, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon dominate the category even among the wine savvy. Why?
It is hard to imagine that what is true to the rest of the wine world does not apply to what many consider to be the best celebration wine on the planet. The producers of Champagne mentioned in the previous paragraph are not bad, some are even great. But why do we not care where they get their grapes from, or even if they own a single vineyard? Many of these producers will refuse to reveal who or even where there grapes come from in Champagne. There isn’t another wine region in the world where you pay top tier prices and you don’t know the exact origin of the grapes that went into your bottle. I believe it should be the same in Champagne!
It would be impossible for me, or anyone, to change the ways of the fat cat corporate nature of the big Champagne houses. Frankly, I wouldn’t even want to try! What I can do is support those grape growers in Champagne that tend to their land with great care and love and eventually bottle those grapes under their label or simply put: Grower Champagne. It isn’t a new category and among the best sommeliers and wine buyers in the world these wines have become common place. Yet the general consumer is still hypnotized by glamour names that have dominated bubbly wine for decades. Why I ask, would you pay $350 for a bottle of wine and have no clue of the origin of the grapes or the farmer that tended the vines when you could spend $110 and get a wine hand crafted by the farmer from a specific plot in a specific village?? You shouldn’t…
I can’t change the game alone but with your help we can make a difference! Support small farmers instead of big corporations. If you need suggestions on producers you should try you can reach me via www.underripe.com. I am always be happy to help.