Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Garagistes of Champagne

By Jessica Yadegaran
Thursday, December 27th, 2007 at 10:20 am in Uncategorized.

I think one of the reasons the sparkling wine market is exploding across the world — we’re talking the U.S., Spain, Argentina, Germany, Austria, England and French regions outside of Champagne — is because the commercial potential of Champagne is maxed out to a certain extent. Where they can go is uncertain and leaves a hole for other sparkling producers to create an elegant yet accessible product.

So in my mind it’s the garagistes of Champagne who are continuing the region’s tradition. I am a huge proponent of underground boutique Champagne producers, those like Jacques Lassaigne in the Troyes/Montgueux region, who keep it small and true and have the time to churn out expressions of both time and place.

Lassaigne’s NV “Les Vignes De Montgueux” Blanc de Blanc has the most gorgeous nose of ginger and a texture that is equivalent to cashmere. It’s achieved by an extended “prise de mousse,” something the bigger houses have little time for. What’s more, instead of being reverse crafted in the cellar for that signature Champagne style (as many of the top commercial Champagnes are), this wine is precise and true to its vintage. As it should be.

I know someone so devoted to these emerging artists of Champagne that he hopes to start importing more here sometime in the new year. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, ask your merchant to keep you posted on allocations. They are rare and hard to come by but worth tracking down.

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