Bubbly personality

Posted On December 17, 2009

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Small-batch Champagnes from the source.

The Champagne world has long been dominated by a handful of big-name négociants, who buy grapes from hundreds of small growers and blend them to achieve a consistent house style.

There’s nothing wrong with this practice, of course. But lately, many independent grape growers have begun producing their own bubbly.

Champagnes with a Bubbly Personality

Because the grapes come from their own estates and the wine is made in small batches, “grower” Champagne is often more distinctive and terroir-driven and a great pour for impressing your friends around the festive holidays.

You can identify a grower Champagne by the tiny “RM” on its label (versus “NM” for négociants). Here are a few good ones to try >

Egly-Ouriet Vignes de Vrigny ($53) Pinot Meunier, typically a supporting grape, is the star in this crazy-flavorful gem made solely from the variety (binnys.com)

L. Aubry Fils Rosé ($51) The Aubrey brothers have gained a reputation for their unique and nervy wines, including this seriously sophisticated rosé Champagne (saratogawine.com)

Marc Hebrart Cuvee de Reserve Brut ($43) The village of Mareuil is noted for its distinctive Pinot Noir, the grape that dominates this ripe-yet-racy cuvée (wineaccess.com)

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Premier Cru Brut ($42) A Chardonnay specialist, Gimonnet takes advantage of its old vines to produce this blanc de blancs. The nonvintage brut is creamy, full and polished (jjbuckley.com)