Champagne resident and expert Peter Liem picks out 10 top grower Champagnes to try.
Grower Champagnes, where the wine is produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards, are growing in popularity but still get much less attention than the more famous houses.
Here are ten examples worth seeking out, as chosen by expert Peter Liem.
10 top grower Champagnes to try:
This single-vineyard Champagne comes from a parcel of 60-year-old Meunier vines, and in its velvety texture and generous build, it keenly reflects its Marne Valley terroir. For all its richness, it remains lively and highly focused, feeling long, complex and complete.
From the clay-rich vineyard of Les Couarres, this blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay combines ripe fruit with zesty acidity. While its intensity of flavour is alluring now, its structure emphasises its suitability for long ageing.
This comes from 30- to 50-year-old Chardonnay vines in the village of Trépail, and it is always the product of a single harvest with no reserve wine used (a code on the back label indicates the year). It is partially fermented in barrel, accentuating its complex depth and its lively,…
Made entirely from Pinot Noir, this is a vivid, energetic Champagne, which shows the power and ripeness of the fruit grown in its southfacing vineyards, while also demonstrating a sophisticated elegance and poise. Its ample, red-fruit fragrance persists with great length, all anchored by chalky minerality.
This unusual Champagne is made entirely without the addition of sulphur, which seems to bring more vibrancy and vivacity to its fruit, at least in the short term. Made from old Pinot Noir vines, it is complex, energetic and lengthy, with an expansive fragrance.
This blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir is vinified entirely in the larger size oak barrels known as foudres, and it’s typically a blend of three vintages. Rich in texture yet elegantly carried, and it ages with remarkable grace.
This single-vineyard Champagne comes from Chardonnay vines up to 80 years old in one of Le Mesnil’s most renowned sites. While it’s voluptuous and complex, it remains lively and taut thanks to firm acidity and a piercing, chalky minerality. Talcum powder, caramel, lemon and roasted apples on the nose. The…
Made from 40-year-old Chardonnay vines in two parcels: Le Champ Bouton in Avize and Bionnes in Cramant, this is rich in depth yet sleek in structure, showing an elegantly refined texture and long, chalk-infused aromas on the finish.
Equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, sourced from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, this encases its exuberant fruit within a sleek, racy structure, feeling succulently ripe yet imparting an elegant impression, thanks to its silky texture and graceful overall balance.
2012 A small crop of excellent wines, combining ripeness and structure
2011 Difficult conditions created uneven wines
2010 A complicated vintage, requiring careful selection
2009 Warm and ripe, giving full, fruity Champagnes
2008 Outstanding wines, featuring both high ripeness and high acidity
2007 An uneven vintage, but some delightful results