Sparkling fans have heard of the big boys—Veuve Clicquot, Moet & Chandon and Dom Perignon—which come with high-end price tags. This New Year’s, embrace the trend of grower Champagnes or venture just outside the famed Champagne region to serve up value with every effervescent sip.
Bob Paulinski, master of wine and senior vice president for BevMo!, expects grower Champagnes to once again surpass its sales from the previous year. To keep on point with what people are looking for next, BevMo brought in between 100-300 bottles each of a handful of these small production houses and Paulinski shared with me a few top choices to be found at the East Vancouver location.
Champagne house, Joseph Perrier, has a total case production of 60,000 versus Veuve’s 1.5 million. Their selections emphasize the chardonnay grape so, according to Paulinski, imbibers will enjoy a light, high acid wine with nutty and bread dough/biscuit characteristics from more than two years on lees (in contact with the yeast in the wine). Predominantly found in Europe with very little U.S. importing, the marketing budget of Joseph Perrier is slim to none so consumers will find their Cuvée Royale Brut NV (non-vintage) for as low as $35 per bottle.
Anyone interested in a splurge can choose from Joseph Perrier’s other offerings for a ClubBev! price of $50-$110. Vineyard selection, time on lees and a true Champagne vintage—Joséphine 2004—dictate the variation.
A label not found far and wide, according to Paulinski, is Pommery—a Champagne house dating back to 1858. Their non-vintage Brut Royal Champagne is priced at $44-$58 (retail vs. ClubBev!). Also chardonnay-focused, its palate is light and acidic with citrus notes that finishes to mineral.
Venturing to the south of France uncovers Toques et Clochers. A top seller for price and quality, their Crémant de Limoux is described by Paulinski as “a screaming crazy deal” at $12.50 per bottle with the buy one, receive one promotion. Not as long aged on lees, all crémants are made in the true champagne method. You’ll find an elegant, dry style sparkling primarily sold in Europe and found only at BevMo in Washington State.
Paulinski shared that approximately 18,000 growers with small plots of land are found within Champagne proper and that the vast majority sell to large cooperatives. Consumers interested in seeking out lesser known labels or grower-producers outside the Champagne region making sparkling wine in the méthode champenoise can be rewarded with some exciting and affordable discoveries.
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