Not just for celebration


Clockwise from top left: Julien Barbier (Champagne R&L Legras),   Nicolas Chiquet (Gaston Chiquet) and a traditional basket press. Photographs: Jason Lowe

Clockwise from top left: Julien Barbier (R&L Legras), Nicolas Chiquet (Gaston Chiquet) and a traditional basket press. Photographs: Jason Lowe

Following our inaugural tasting of Grower Champagne at Vintners’ Hall last night, Edwin Dublin – Champagne Specialist – reports on the event focusing on the region’s artisan producers, and the wines that he felt shone bright.

Seventeen producers, 51 champagnes and the glittering surroundings of the Vintners’ Hall, the home of London’s wine trade, made for a truly memorable evening celebrating the world of artisan Champagne. There is change apace in Champagne, an awakening of sorts, as quality-minded producers are finally able to focus on what we take for granted from other classic wine regions – terroir. Whilst the bubbles make it the celebratory drink par excellence, Champagne, like Burgundy, produces great terroir-driven wines.

This artisan movement has grown in recent years, with a number of these small-volume producers (commonly a few hundred thousand bottles versus millions for the ‘big boys’, the Grandes Marques) joining together once a year to show their wines at trade tastings, or ‘salons’, in the heart of Champagne; an apposite time then, for Berry Bros. & Rudd to showcase our range of such producers. It seems invidious to name-check just a few from the sparkling line-up, but some that spring to mind from last night include Jacquesson, who showed with their Cuvée 733 Dégorgement Tardif (late-disgorged) that non-vintage Champagne made in the right hands can mature beautifully. The producers behind our own-label Champagnes, Le Mesnil and Mailly, showed the majesty of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir respectively in magnums from 1997 and 1998. Names less familiar included Lancelot-Pienne, forging future legends perhaps with Arthurian-inspired cuvées such as Table Ronde; Janisson-Baradon showcasing the unusual with his 100 percent Pinot Meunier wine, Conges; but I could go on. There were many others that delighted, and the opportunity for customers to meet and talk to these producers will ensure that this will become a regular feature of our Champagne-related calendar of events.

You can browse our offer celebrating both Artisan and Grande Marque Champagne on