If you're a fan of the indie scene - movies, music, books - then you're going to love grower Champagne. Generally made by small producers that take a hands-on approach, grower Champagne is often less well-known than its big-name counterparts, like Moët or Veuve Clicquot, but it's eminently more interesting.
If you haven't delved into the world of grower Champagne yet (or recently), you're in for a treat. Often hand-crafted and coming from a single source, grower Champagne is the rising star of the bubbly world.
What Is Grower Champagne?
Like many wines, the title "grower" signifies that it comes from a singular Champagne house in France, where the grapes are grown, harvested, and bottled. In more traditional types of Champagne (négociant Champagne), the grapes to make the wine may come from many sources and vineyards around the region, instead of from the single source of a grower Champagne.
Typically, grower Champagnes come from small Champagne houses that take a hand-crafted approach to their bubbly. The winemaker is the one to care for the vineyard, harvest the grapes, and make the Champagne. In other words, grower Champagne is the single-origin coffee of the Champagne world.
You'll know if you have a bottle of grower Champagne if you see "RM" on the label, which stands for Récoltant Manipulant. This indicates that, at minimum, 95% of the grapes used were grown on the estate. The one who grew the Champagne grapes is also the one who bottled those heavenly flavors.
Grower Champagnes Taste Unlike Any Other - Literally
Just as no two indie songs are alike, so it goes with grower Champagne. Like other Champagnes, grower Champagne uses traditional Champagne grapes: mostly chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, with possibly a few others in the mix as well. But since the ratio of grapes and recipes will change from estate to estate, despite growing in the same region with the same weather and conditions, each grower Champagne will taste a little different. Each is a unique expression of its creator. This means you can enjoy a spread of grower Champagnes, each with different flavor and aroma profiles. What could be better?
How to Store Your Grower Champagne
You can treat grower Champagne just like any other bottle of bubbly. Store it in a cool, dry place that's out of the way of any sun, you can bet your bottle will stay good for some time. Consider using your basement or stashing them in a wine fridge. Definitely don't store any of these bottles in an area that's prone to vibration.
Grower Champagne Food Pairings
Grower Champagne is a food wine. You can pair those bubbles with breakfast through dessert and even drink them as a nightcap. You can enjoy a flute of grower Champagne with some appetizers or amuse-bouche bites (think crudités or a few nibbles of a charcuterie board). Continue to lean into the salty pairings with popcorn or salty cheeses. Of course, oysters are a great sidekick as well.
You can pop open a bottle to enjoy with steak, a cheeseburger, lamb, scallops, macaroni and cheese, or even a slice of pizza. Or wrap up the evening with chocolates, cake, or cookies. And as for brunch? Grower Champagne is tasty with pancakes, eggs, or even a simple avocado toast.
How Is Grower Champagne Different From Other Champagne?
It's not complicated. There are three main differences between grower Champagne and négociant Champagne.
|Grower Champagne||Négociant Champagne|
A single estate or farmer contributes to a single bottle.
|Several estates or farmers contribute to a single bottle.|
|Tasting notes and flavors can vary from estate to estate, despite growing in the same region.||Tasting notes and flavors typically taste quite similar across one region.|
|The estate is the one that bottles and makes the Champagne with 95% of their own grapes.||The Champagne house purchases a majority of their grapes from other estates.|
6 Grower Champagnes to Try
Now that you have those Champagne flutes chilling, this is your grocery list of grower Champagnes to taste test.
A Grower Champagne for All
Grab yourself a bottle of Marie Courtin Resonance Blanc de Noirs if you want something a little more complex but still want those traditional Champagne flavors.
A Slight Splurge
The Val Frison 'Goustan' Blanc de Noirs is a great middle-of-the-road price grower Champagne that's perfectly dry and won't break the bank, averaging around $50 a bottle.
A Grower Champagne for Dessert
For those who want a Champagne that's the right amount of candied, Marguet Shaman 12 Grand Cru is the perfect choice. Dry, but with notes of candied citrus on the nose and minerality throughout, it's love at first sip.
For the Wine Lover
The ideal Grower Champagne for those who carefully and meticulously curate their wine collection, look no further than Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru. Gingery with notes of lemon zest, buttery toast, and all the dry Champagne bubbles you both love and expect.
A Grower Champagne for Big Spenders
If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, the solution is a bottle of Jérôme Prévost La Closerie Les Béguines. Tipping the scales at almost $400 a bottle, this is a grower made primarily with pinot meunier grapes. You'll find those predictably dry notes woven between buttery brioche and earthy baked apple.
The Grower Champagne for Chardonnay Lovers
For those who love a buttery, soft chardonnay, Jacques Lassaigne 'Les Vignes de Montgueux' Blanc de Blancs is primarily chardonnay grapes. Buttery, accessible, and balanced, you can take a trip to that sunny paradise sip after sip.
Growing Your Love For Bubbles
Skip your usual bubbles and grab a few different bottles of grower Champagne. What's better than a Champagne journey? No, seriously. We're asking because we've canceled our plans so we can enjoy a flight of different growers. Feel free to cancel yours, too.