New Years Eve Sip and Growers Champagne

Growers Champagnes (aka Farmer Fizz) are finally becoming, dare I say more popular and available, and this year Megan and I purchased one to enjoy on our quiet New Years Eve. With that said, what exactly are growers Champagnes? Growers Champagnes are Champagnes that are made by the grower themselves, pretty self explanatory huh. Are you asking yourself, but isn’t that how most Champagnes are made? Well to start with, the major Champagne makers (Moet& Chandon and Veuve Clicquot are a couple) which account for 80% of the Champagne produced, only own about 12% of the vineyards. These mass produced, highly marketed Champagnes are transformed into sparklers that barely resemble the terroir from which they once came. By extreme contrast, growers who produce their own Champagne (recolant-manipulants) have the ability to buy only 5% additional grapes to supplement their crop. This allows for the Champagne to be much more hand crafted and express the nuances of the land where they were grown as well as the style and finesse of the winemaker/grower. For more info click HERE!

For New Years Eve we decided to have the Pierre Peters “Cuvee de Reserve” Brut NV. We picked it up from our friends at the Barrel Thief who in addition to it, had a great selection of growers Champagnes.Pierre Peters is from the Cote de Blancs more specifically le Mensil Sur Oger in the Southern part of Champagne. This Champagne is a Blanc de Blanc meaning that it is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. The grapes are grown on approximately 43 acres (17.5 Hectares) of soil that is has mostly a chalky make up as does most of the Cote de Blancs which is where the name comes from meaning literally “white slopes.”

My Tasting Notes

Nose – Yeast, sourdough bread, if you have ever crushed grapes in a bladder press during harvest, there is a particular smell that the crushed grapes emanate when you are removing them from the press and this came through on the nose of this wine – very cool

Taste – very nutty, bright green apple, stone

Mouthfeel – Teeny tiny pin pricks on the tongue, after swishing it around in my mouth it turned into a frothy foam, with nice prickles down my throat after I swallowed

Finish – med to long in length, left me feeling very refreshed

At $44 dollars this is by far the best Champagne I have tasted, the best sparkler being the ‘96 Gloria Ferrer Cuvee. Since the Gloria Ferrer was truly the best sparkling wine that I have had before it was really all I had to compare it to because the Pierre Peters truly blew the other Champagnes I had had prior out of the water. Luscious yet tight, commanding the attention of my entire palate, I have never had that experience with another Champagne.

For more information on Growers Champagne check out the following link to Terry Theise Imports or head over the Barrel Thief and ask them about to tell you more about Growers Champagne.

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Categories: champagne, Pierre Peters, wine education, wine industry issues, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Sparkling Wines and Champagnes – Not Just For the Holidays!

Traditionally if you are like most consumers, you only enjoy sparkling wines and Champagnes during the holidays or special occasions. This shouldn’t be the case though; sparklers are fabulous beverages that can be paired excellently with a variety of foods so you can enjoy them year round. According to, although the traditional end of the year holiday time still shows the greatest sales volumes, sales throughout the year are on the rise. (see chart below)

With no oak aging (most of the time), lower alcohol levels and refreshing acidity these bubbly delights show great versatility. From the book Perfect Pairings by Evan Goldstein here are some great tips on pairing Champagne or Sparkling wine with food

What to pair it with:

  • To counterbalance salt, moderate heat, creamy and rich dishes, and deep fried foods
  • Raw fish, sushi, oysters and ceviche
  • Latin and Asian dishes (such as empanadas, tempura, coconut curries, Indian Samosas)
  • Hard and rich cheeses (such as Parmesan and triple cream St. Andre)
  • Crunchy texture foods (phyllo pastry, Southern fried chicken and other fried foods)
  • Rustic foods (polenta, hummus and pesto)

What to avoid it with:

  • Stay away from the extremes, dishes to rich or flavorful can overpower the subtlety of the sparkler
  • Rich red meats
  • Bitter vegetables (these can make the bubbly taste slightly metallic)

Tonight Megan and I will be opening a bottle of Pierre Peters that I am really psyched about. I am planning on pairing a nice plate of fresh Parmigiana Reggiano, olive tapanade and hummus with Pita toasts.

I hope everyone has a great and SAFE time tonight. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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Categories: champagne, wine industry issues | 2 Comments