Whilst many of us are familiar with the big Champagne houses, there has been a growing trend towards enjoying artisan Champagne instead. Personally, I have been a Champagne lover for as long as I can remember. There is just something about the perfect glass of Champagne – lightly bubbling, crisp on the palate and chilled to perfection.
So, what is an artisan Champagne I hear you say? Well, let me take you on a little journey to discover exactly what makes an artisan Champagne, why you should be drinking it, and 5 fantastic examples of wines that you should be drinking right now. I will also introduce you to a wonderful UK based company, Sip Champagnes, whom are helping to bring these special wines to the world.
Disclosure: This is a partnered post
What is Artisan Champagne?
Artisan Champagne, or sometimes referred to as Grower’s Champagne, is a sparkling wine which is produced by the growers of the grape. Traditionally, many of the small vineyards would sell their produce to the big and well known Champagne houses. However, over the last few decades, there has been a movement by the farmers of the vineyards to stop selling their produce and instead opting to produce their own wine in house.
This has led to a wonderful array of Champagnes being available for the wine connoisseur. However, unfortunately they are not always easily available for purchase around the world and these small producers often miss out on the accolades they deserve.
These artisan wine makers also take pride in their land and have been moving towards more sustainable and biodiverse wine making practices. Furthermore, many are opting to make their wines organically.
Why You Should Be Drinking Artisan Champagne
Traditionally, consumers have had little-to-no access to the more than 16,000 growers in the Champagne region of France. Nearly 2,500 of these growers make their own Champagne and an additional similar number make their own using cooperative methods. These farmers, now more than ever, deserve recognition for their dedication to the soil and vines.
Owning over 85% of the land, but representing single digits, in terms of their sales, most sales go to the top 5 brands and the supermarket own label Champagnes.
With so many growers producing so many fantastic Champagnes, it’s understandable to be unsure of where to start. So lets take a look at the best way to explore the region and artisan Champagne.
The Best Way To Explore The Region & Artisan Champagnes
If you are unsure where to start, let Sip Champagnes do all the hard work for you and sign up to their Champagne Subscription. These subscriptions are expertly curated each month, providing unique access to Champagnes you won’t find anywhere else. Giving you the opportunity to explore truly exceptional Champagnes from the comfort of your own home.
And to make you feel even better about ordering from Sip Champagnes, you will be happy to know that their packaging is 100% recyclable. They are working hard to be environmentally-focused all they way from who they are working with right up to delivering the products to your door.
5 Artisan Champagnes You Should Be Drinking
This Champagne pays homage to the wine makers ancestors from the 19th century. The family were the first to plant in the area after the first world war and as such, have wonderfully mature vines. In this wine they have used grapes from their oldest vineyards which has resulted in a complex, rich and spicy Champagne. After 18 months in oak, the wine has a deliciously delicate vanilla undertone.
This winery was established in the village of Chouilly in 1991, and is run by three brothers. This special release wine from Legras & Haas is limited to 96 bottles and is truly an exceptional wine to enjoy. A blend of 50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from a perpetual cuvée (i.e. storing the reserve wines in a single barrel or tank) which dates all the way back to 1996. Its a zero dosage champagne meaning there has been no sugar added in the ‘dosage’ during the winemaking process. The result is a brilliant blend that is impeccable on the palate with the perfect level of energy and attack.
This winery is a house favorite at Sip Champagnes. Their wines are crisp, age incredibly well and they recently acquired their High Environmental Value (HEV) certificate. This highlights to consumers the efforts of farms engaged in the highest level of environmentally-friendly practices. This particular champagne is made Brut Nature (i.e. no added sugar) which allows the fabulously rich fruit to really shine. On the pallet you will note loads of blackcurrant, saltiness and an intense acidic weight.
The Goutorbe and Bouillot families came together in the 1930’s and have been creating exceptional wines ever since. They have a reputation for producing fresh and mature Champagnes. This particular artisan Champagne is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay with no malolactic (a process where tart malic acid in wine converts to softer, creamier lactic acid). The result is a rich, gripping wine with some aromatic notes, plenty of brioche and a good lemony finish. A reliable non-vintage Champagne perfect for any occasion.
A pure vintage from the year 2014, this 100% Chardonnay from Domaine Vincey is a super impressive first wine from this vineyard. This Champagne has powerful tropical notes on the nose with a tremendous level of complexity on the front end. Its full of finesse and layered with oaky goodness. And whilst the wine has much texture and lateral weight, it is not overpowering.
The Vincey family have been winemakers for 8 generations but have only recently modernized their practices. They have been working with the biodynamic principles for over three years and have removed any pesticides and herbicides from their farm. An impressive winemaker who only creates vintage wines. This is a winemaker to watch!
About Sip Champagnes
Sip Champagnes was founded by two friends over their passion for Champagne and in particular, artisan Champagne. They bring Champagne to consumers from the finest artisanal producers from the Champagne region. Such wines are rarely found in the UK as the costs associated with producing, marketing and the logistics for small batch wines makes is unfeasible. However, it is Sip Champagnes’ mission to change that.
I hope you have enjoyed this insight into exactly what makes an artisan Champagne and why it is important that wine lovers support the industry. If you enjoy your Champagne just as much as I do, make sure you treat yourself to a bottle or subscription from Sip Champagnes. Given the year we have all had in 2020, we all deserve a little treat! Shell x