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Fat Cork Brings Grower Champagne to the US

Fat Cork & Grower Champagne

I find the lack of information on grower Champagne disheartening because the region produces about 100 million more bottles/yr than Burgundy. There are book-loads and wikis and blogs and restaurants and careers based on Burgundy. Where’s the love for bubbles?

How do you find Grower Champagne in the United States? A lot of wine stewards in stores just don’t have the expertise when it comes to small producer Champagne and end up pointing buyers to the little they know, whether it be other sparkling wines or more common Grand Marques(aka big Champagne houses). There are over 6000 champagne producers in Champagne; one would think there’d be a ton of information on the topic AND an equivalent amount of wine to choose from. Nope. Wrong. It’s understandable if you can’t name 5 grower Champagnes off the top of your head as there’s just not enough mainstream information on the topic.

Fortunately for you and I (and other Champagne lovers out there), Bryan Maletis started a business whose sole purpose is to source, import, sell and distribute grower Champagne to a thirsty US market.

What’s the benefit of Grower Champagne?

What Does tête de cuvée Mean?

The term “tête de cuvée” refers to a Champagne house’s top wine that they produce. A tête de cuvée can range from around $80 to $800 (in the case of Clos de Mesnil, by Krug)

Grower Champagne offers a wide range of styles and shows how versatile Champagne can be when it’s grown in different regions. For instance, The Cote de Blancs produces very mineral and high acidity Champagnes made predominantly of Chardonnay. While the Valle de Marne is known for using Pinot Meunier as a dominant varietal making the wine unctuous and full bodied with a unique aroma funk. In the Montagne de Reims, they focus on richer Champagnes through oak aging which produces some of the creamiest sparkling wines in the market. An obvious reason to seek out grower Champagne is for the great value when compared to Grand Marques, even in purchasing a tête de cuvée (see aside).
“Open a bottle of sparkling to make an occasion special instead of waiting for a special occasion!”

Grower Champagne Recommendation for a Newbie

When we asked Bryan Maletis what Champagnes to try for someone who’s never had a grower Champagne before, he was quick to recommend something from the Montagne de Reims. The style of the Montagne de Reims is approachable while still being bold and rich. These wines tend to be a little more appealing to someone just getting into Champagne and quite honestly, they taste fantastic. Go ahead, treat yourself to a Grower Champagne!

Pascal Redon Cuvée Brut Tradition

Aged for four-plus years, the nose is packed with beautiful chardonnay, and expressive fruit character. It still has nice acid and a lengthy finish, but this cuvée is for lovers of pure fruit. What it lacks in chalk notes, it makes up for with its pleasant enjoyable nature.

Available on Fat Cork

Packed with Care

Fat Cork uses proprietary recyclable inserts that insulate and protect wine when shipping in harsh weather. Inserts provided free of charge to customers.

Visit the Fat Cork Website to see their full selection of Grower Champagnes.

Hi my name is Bryan Maletis and my wife and I, Abby, started Fat Cork in January of 2011. We import grower Champagne right from the cellars of the growers right here to Seattle, Washington.

Well this is really cool this is from the Cote de Blancs region, so like I said the soil is completely chalk in the Cote de Blancs and this picture of a helix is a fossil that is in their cellars. This helix fossil is as big as this wall. So in prehistoric times this fossil was a gigantic sea shell.

When your friend comes over, when your family comes over, whatever it might be, open a bottle of sparkling to make an occasion special instead of waiting for a special occasion.

If you’ve never tried a champagne and you’ve only tried fifteen dollar sparkling wines. If you’ve immediately go to a Grower Champagne from the Cote de Blancs, you might be put off by it. I would ask, whether it’s your sommelier, or your wine vendor, or your wine shop; I would say, I want a Grower Champagne, I want something that is a classic character, classic style, so generally they are going to give you something from the Montagne de Reims probably. Your going to find out immediately what that bump in quality will give you.

Where they really shine is when you buy their tête de cuvée and your buying this wonderful Champagne for $60-70, when a representative example of that same quality Champagne from a big house is going to be $150, minimum.

About Madeline Puckette

I'm a certified sommelier and creator of the NYT Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Find me out there in the wine world @WineFolly