Image via Wikipedia
For many, the month of December is filled with shopping, holiday meals and exchanging gifts. For Austin Beeman, wine manager at Walt Churchill’s Market (Briarfield-Maumee), 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000, it means something else: Grower Champagne. During the month of December three tastings and two dinners will focus on these artisanal wines.
Austin explains the fuss about Grower Champagnes, “Grower Champagnes only account for 3% of the total Champagne market, but are some of the finest Champagnes available, “ he says. “Instead of buying juice and blending, as is done by the big Champagne houses, Grower Champagnes are small family operations that do all the production on their own land. That makes them more distinct, more interesting, and much more tasty. They are also much more inexpensive for the same quality. Most $40 to $75 Grower Champagnes are as good as $150 to $200 ‘big’ Champagne bottles.”
Grower Champagnes are grown in the Champagne region of France and are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards from which the grapes come.This is much like Estate designation in the US. Large Champagne houses may use grapes sourced from as many as 80 different vineyards, Grower Champagnes are focused on the terroir, with grapes coming from a single or closely located vineyards around a village. There are more than 19,000 independent growers in the Champagne region and about 5,000 produce wine from their own grapes. A Grower Champagne can be identified by the initials RM (meaning Récoltant-Manipulant) on the label.
The Grower Champagne events at WCM in Maumee are as follows:
Saturday, December 4, 1-5 PM: Grower Champagnes & Holiday Wine & Cheese Tasting
Friday, December 10, 6-8:30 PM, Five-course wine dinner with pink Grower Champagne. Cost $80 pp. Advance tickets required. Limited to 18 people.
Saturday December 11, 1-5 PM: Grower Champagnes & Best of Bordeaux
Saturday, December 18, 1-5 PM: Grower Champagnes & Gifts for the Wine Lover
Sunday, December 19, 12:00 Noon to 2:30 PM: gourmet Sunday Brunch with Grower Champagne. Cost $80 pp. Advance tickets required.
If you buy tickets to both the wine dinner and gourmet brunch, you can save $30 per ticket. Tastings on December 4, 11 and 18 are by the sample or flight.