Ninety miles northeast of Paris, centred around the river Marne and the cities of Reims and Epernay lies one of the most famous wine regions of them all – Champagne. For years the market was dominated by the merchant houses; the Grand Marques who would buy fruit or juice from the network of 19000 owner-growers and produce the sparkling wine synonymous with this district.
Over the last 20 years or so, a quiet revolution has swept the 34000 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines
A generation of proprietors have begun following the trend of the previous generation in Burgundy and producing their own wines from their land instead of selling to negocients. These ‘Grower Champagnes’, when done well can be every bit as distinctive and terroir-specific as, say, a Chassagne Montrachet – a far cry from the homogenised blends of the big names. Our trio of producers each reflect a different aspect of the Champagne story: Clement Perseval and Arnaud Margaine are both on the Montage de Reims but in very different locations. Both creating cuvees of an intensity and character which would be impossible from one of the ‘big names’. South of the river Marne, Etienne Calsac farms the soft chalk of the Cote des Blancs making Champagne from pure Chardonnay with cut-glass precision.