My Man In Champagne is not another web site where you will find marks out of 100 or 20 or whatever for hundreds of different champagnes. You won’t find a great deal in the way of tasting notes either.
There’s something stirring in champagne. Perhaps it’s not a full blown revolution just yet, but it’s something no champagne lover can ignore: the ever increasing interest in what are called Grower Champagnes.
If you haven’t come across them yet and have never tried them, then I, for one, think you should. Here’s what it’s all about and what you need to know....
The change is happening everywhere if you take the time to look around you –
Micro breweries producing local beers that are more than a match, flavour-wise at least, for the giants of the industry;
Farmers’ markets where you can discover some fabulous produce and meet the fascinating ‘real’ people who produce or grow it, instead of struggling round the same old supermarkets shelves every week for mass-produced produce.
Well, the same thing’s happening in champagne and that’s where grower champagne comes in....
It’s the return of the small man, or woman, because more and more people are looking for something that gives them not just good value, but a sense of being.... what’s the best word? Perhaps ‘honest’ or ‘authentic’.
One of the most colourful characters I have met in Champagne is Philippe Brun of champagne Roger Brun In Ay. Going to a tasting at his place is always an experience to remember, not just because of the excellent champagnes – which he serves in very generous measures – but also for the great stories he tells; proof once again that it’s stories that sell, not just a list of all the technical qualities of a wine
I have a couple videos of Philippe in full flight; the first is about the worst and the best bottles of wine he has ever enjoyed ( and neither were champagne!)
The second, which I’ll be posting a a few days, is about a wee joke he pulled on an audience of journalists and other members of the wine trade when he gave a tasting of his champagnes.
I love Philippe’s mischievous sense of fun. The wine industry is full of very knowledgeable and likeable people, but there is a tendency for some ‘experts’ to get carried away with their vocabulary and analysis of the wine, so it’s no bad thing occasionally to make sure they keep their feet on the ground.
Here's the first video. If you have any stories about your best or worst bottle of champagne or other wine, then do leave a comment here on on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MyManInChampagne
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Little by little you can see attitudes and practices changing every year in Champagne and more and more attention being given to looking after the environment.
Erick De Sousa was one of the very first to adopt these practices and he even goes as far as using bio-dynamic viticulture which involves, amongst other things adapting the work in the vineyards to the phases and rhythms of the moon.
Not surprisingly his influence has rubbed off on his children and they too are keen environmentalists when it comes to producing the family's now brand called Zoémie De Sousa.
In this video you can see them ploughing the vineyards with the help of two huge Ardennes horses called Pagasus and Polka.
One of the most interesting parts of my work is the consulting I do for the SGV (Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne) which is the body that represents many of the small grower champagnes.
I get to meet all sorts of little-known champagne makers all needing help to improve their marketing and increase their sales. Although there is certainly an increasing interest in Grower Champagnes amongst wine lovers who are looking for something other than the big brands, the issue for the producers is that there are hundreds of them, all trying to find a place in the market for their products.
That why I'm always encouraging them to think of what it is that makes their champagnes special enough to stand out from all the others. Many of the smaller producers struggle to find this point of differentiation but every now and then I meet someone who immediately stands out from the crowd and recently I met one who fitted straight into that category.Add a comment Add a comment
Brad Baker aka The Champagne Warrior was over in Champagne this Spring and found time to chat to My Man In Champagne about his love for the smaller and less-well known producers.
Brad's knowledge of champagne is encyclopaedic and if you'd like to delve into the details of his extensive tasting notes then pay a visit to his web site at www.champagnewarrior.com where you can also sign up for his news letter.
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Welcome to the Perching Bar - a bar built high up in the trees amongst the beautiful natural environment of the Montagne de Reims. The bar is open from from Wednesday - Sunday everyweek during the summer months. If you are in the area then you must visit. Simply drive to Verzy or Verzenay and ask a local where you can find it.
You can visit the Perching Bar web site by clicking hereAdd a comment Add a comment