October Champagne Highlights

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Today's email is meant to highlight some fine grower Champagnes that we have in stock, some of which we do not expect to see again until after the New Year. We're not trying to illicit a fear of missing out, we just mean to say if these are producers you know and love, grab some now that we can deliver to you before the end of the year, when you'll certainly have other expenses to think about. It'll be like a gift to yourself!

Our focus is on small production, grower Champagnes, as it always has been since we stopped selling Veuve Cliquot in 2002 and focused solely on "Farmer fizz" (Yes, we did have Veuve on the shelf in 2001, we just thought we had to have something "people recognized"). To review, there are those little letter combinations on the bottles, reading RM, or NM or slew of other codes. You can read about all of them at this site that popped up, called Glass of Bubbly. For the sake of brevity, we'll just focus on the ones we mentioned. As a preface, if you already know this stuff you can skip to the final paragraph!

RM stands for Récoltant-Manipulant, those who do the récolte, or harvest, and then manipluate the grape (in the most direct translation of Manipulant). It means to say they are grape-growers and winemakers. We use the english term "winemaker" and usually think of someone who works in the vineyard year-round and then makes wine from their grapes. Technically, it just means "a person who makes wine." An RM is more than just a winemaker, and is akin to the vignerons in France or vigneri in Italy (for example), people who work the vines (vignes... vigneron), and then make wine. It's an important distinction in this age with a lot of winemakers who are not growing grapes, though it should be ackowledged that many people who are passionate and commited in the wine world don't have the means or capability to own land and farm vines. An NM, or Négociant-Manipulant, essentially "negotiates," usually a price for grapes, and then makes wine. This can range from small projects dedicated to exceptional vineyard sites that are farmed organically, all the way to big houses (a nice way of saying "factories") like Veuve or Moet, that buy from hundreds, if not thousands, of growers without regard to farming practices. Typically, any NM Champagne we have on the shelf is made by an RM producer who occasionally works with fruit from "non-estate" vineyards. In these cases, though they must use the NM on the label, there is an ethos of respect for the land and the vineyard sites that reflects the way of thought of the recoltant-manipulant (RM), our most championed and beloved designation.

 

Today's offer is a bit of a mish-mash, with some incredible Champagnes from a few CSW favorites. We have a little bit of everything - rare Grand Cru bottlings from Benoit Marguet, whose wines we have praised for many years now (read more here), a classic lineup from Agrapart et Fils (read more here), new and old cuvees from Larmandier-Bernier (check this vintage article from 2010), and several other favorites... Filaine! Laherte! From all the articles we've written over the years, there's certainly a good hour of reading about these producers, so feel free to click on the links, or just scroll down for the wines!   -EL

Marguet 2018 Champagne Grand Cru Verzenay

From the Grand Cru village of Verzenay on the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims, this is a Blanc de Noir of Pinot Noir, disgorged in February '23, with zero dosage. 18 mg/l total sulfites, 2072 bottles produced.

  • white sparkling
  • 2 in stock
  • no discount
  • $104.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Agrapart NV (18/19) Champagne Grand Cru Terroirs Extra-Brut Bl de Bl 1.5L

A non-vintage blend from parcels in Avize, Cramant, Oger, and Oiry Sourced from Chardonnay vines between 20 and 50 years in age. Comprised of two vintages, the older of the two aged in wood, while the newer vintage is aged in tank. Above all Terroirs is a testament to the expression of chalk.

  • white sparkling
  • 2 in stock
  • no discount
  • $259.99

  • Organic
  • rosé sparkling
  • 5 in stock
  • no discount
  • $124.99

Champagne Ponson NV Premier Cru 'Charme Noir'

Charme Noir is a new offering from Champange Ponson, who we have come to trust for outstanding quality at very affordable prices. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir, from estate vineyards farmed organically in the Petite Montagne 1er Cru. A fantastic value, with nice cut and a touch of richness and a broad mid-palate. 

  • white sparkling
  • 10 in stock
  • no discount
  • $49.99

  • Organic

Laherte Frères NV Champagne Chavot Extra Brut Rosé de Meunier

Aurélien Laherte decided to retool his previous Brut Rosé Ultradition Champagne and focus on one exclusively made from Pinot Meunier. This Champagne combines 60% immediately pressed Meunier blended with 30% macerated Meunier and 10% still red Meunier (most rosé Champagnes only opt for one of these methods of production).  This wine has a deep salmon robe with delicate flavors of wild cherry, salty plum, dried tarragon, and a sharp streak of chalky minerality. A Champagne with both finesse and structure, you can serve this as an aperitif or pair this with lighter meats or a rare filet mignon! 

  • rosé sparkling
  • 4 in stock
  • no discount
  • $59.99

  • Organic
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Marguet 2018 Champagne Grand Cru Avize

Avize is a Grand Cru village on the Côte des Blancs slope, planted exclusively to Chardonnay, and known generally for mineral driven and well-concentrated Blanc de Blancs Champagnes. Benoit Marguet is one of our favorite producers in the area, and this 100% Chardonnay offering from him has all of the finesse that we have come to love in Marguet's wines, with pronounced mineral cut and a long, sapid finish. 21 mg/l total SO2, 2094 bottles produced.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $104.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Agrapart NV (base 19/20) Champagne 7 Crus

Comprised of grapes from all seven villages in the Côte des Blancs, where Agrapart has vines, 7 Crus is a blend of two vintages, aged partially in barrel, partially in tank. The wine is fermented with native yeasts and aged on the lees for 2-3 years before release. The palate balances orchard fruit flavors with racy acidity, sapid minerality, and a richness derived from its élevage. And while this is  produced in greater volume, 7 Crus is a Champagne that ages beautifully and is worthy of space in one's cellar.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $74.99

  • Organic

Agrapart NV (18/19) Champagne Extra Brut Terroirs Blanc de Blancs

A non-vintage blend from parcels in Avize, Cramant, Oger, and Oiry Sourced from Chardonnay vines between 20 and 50 years in age. Comprised of two vintages, the older of the two aged in wood, while the newer vintage is aged in tank. Above all Terroirs is a testament to the expression of chalk.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $94.99

  • Organic
  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $274.99

Larmandier-Bernier NV (base 20) Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Longitude

From the informative Larmandier-Bernier website: "Historically, since the beginning of the 20th century, this cuvée had gone under the name of “Blanc de Blancs”. “Longitude” originates exclusively from the Chardonnay grapes grown on the Côte des Blancs: Vertus, Oger, Avize, Cramant, which form a line close to the 4th meridian. This non-vintage cuvée contains 40% of wines coming from our perpetual reserve begun in 2004."

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $89.99

  • Organic

Larmandier-Bernier NV (b20) Champagne Extra Brut Latitude

From Larmandier-Bernier's informative website:  "In the past, this cuvée was known as “Tradition”, a name chosen in the 1970’s by Pierre’s parents. The name “Latitude” was chosen to characterise better this very round cuvée, with its rich, charming style. It is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes which all come from the same “latitude”: the south of Vertus. A generous terroir and grapes picked fully ripe... This non-vintage cuvée contains 40% of wines coming from the estate’s perpetual reserve started in 2004."

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $84.99

  • Organic

Larmandier-Bernier 2015 Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Brut Nature

A really unique and outstanding wine. The nose shows gingery, spicy notes, and lots of grapefruit peel; the wine is very dry, with a lovely delicate fine mousse, some creaminess on the finish, and the flavors promised by the aromas. A truly interesting and special Champagne; writing about it makes my mouth water. JW

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $169.99

  • Organic

Filaine (Fabrice Gass) NV (20) Damery Cuvée Speciale Brut

The tiny Champagne Filaine is one of our favorite Champagne houses, and the singular Fabrice Gass is one of our favorite Champagne characters! His wines  are made up of  Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier from the south-facing village of Damery on the slope of the Grand Vallée de la Marne. The wines are made in the manner of 100 years ago. Fabrice farms without chemicals, ferments in wood, and due to the age of his barrels, naturally avoids malolactic fermentation. This disgorgement is based on the 2019 and 2020 vintages. The palate balances ripe red fruit and a pervasive sense of chalkiness with a creamy texture on the broad, rich finish. -JCM

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $99.99

  • Organic

Filaine (Fabrice Gass) NV (17/18) Damery Cuvée DMY Brut

DMY (formerly Confidence) is the same cépages and blend as Filaine's Cuvée Speciale with an extra year or two on the lees and aged under cork, rather than crown cap, lending a burnished character to the wine due to the slow ingress of oxygen. DMY is rich, broad, and sapid, with an impeccable balance between red fruits, citrus notes, and powerfully mineral structure and spice. A special and rare wine. 

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $124.99

  • Organic

Lancelot-Courtois NV VV Brut GC BdB Cramant

A new, under the radar, old school grower-producer find from Cramant in the Cote des Blancs. This Vielle Vignes bottling is a blend of Chardonnay planted in the 50s from Grand Cru vineyards in Oger and Chouilly. Practising organic with certification imminent in the next year or so. A mineral, ethereal expression of Cote des Blancs fruit with light lemon and white rocks galore, excellent for an aperitif and all manner of seafood and greens at a ridiculous, old school price! Giselle Hamburg

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $52.99

  • Organic

Huré Frères NV Champagne Brut Reserve L'Invitation

20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Meunier. The nose offers aromas of baked apple, brioche, wild strawberry, orange oil, white flowers, and ginger. On the broad, medium-bodied palate there is a fine tension between the ripe red fruit, citrus peel, frisky acidity, and a fairly serious core of stony minerality. This develops nicely in the glass displaying a frothy mousse and coltish, energetic fruit initially, with the earthy Montagne de Reims character emerging with air. This is a fine Champagne to accompany charcuterie, sushi, or smoked fish.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $66.99

  • Organic