Champagne Day: Chartogne-Taillet Blanc de Blancs
Grower Champagne has proliferated to the point where it is near impossible to keep up unless you are a specialist. So many farmers have decided to tap into the big trend toward growers. This is not to say the market is no longer dominated by the big houses – it is – nor that big houses do not make good wine – they (mostly) do. Yet, value for money I’ve still been happy with growers over houses. Further, it is unlikely you’ll find anything interesting coming out of a house other than their super-cuvees. With growers, there is always a possibility of finding your next great sparkling wine adventure.
Of course, there are many grower champagnes that simply are not worth the money or sadly pale in comparison to the generally consistent quality of the houses. With so many options it is helpful to know which growers are worth following and which passing by.
Chartogne-Taillet is new to me, making wines in the little known village of Merfy, located northwest of Reims. The soils there are sand, clay and sandstone over chalk. Winemaker Alexandre Chartogne formerly worked at Selosse (one of Champagne’s top growers) in Avize and applies his methodologies in the cellar and vineyards, which I assume means the solera approach to Champagne blending. Each parcel is vinified separately in either stainless steel or ‘neutral’ barrique.
This Blanc de Blancs is one of Chartogne-Taillet’s entry level wines but is of excellent quality for its price point. Clean but rich with great depth and mouthfeel. Biscuity but not slutty this has great acid and verve for cutting through rich dishes. I paired it with a homemade red pepper quiche and wonderful buttered corn salad – a perfect union.
~$50 at Pike and Western Seattle