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Champagne from independent growers

I recently listened to a podcast explaining about small independent Champagne producers:
“Récoltant Manipulants, or growers of Champagne grapes who make a little of their own wine on the side.”
and I wanted to learn more about it.
Does anyone know if there a way to search the Wine Society’s Champagne list specifically for independent growers or RM?

I found this related topic which is interesting, The Rise and Decline of the Grower -Producer?
but I don’t think either of the makers listed is available to buy at the moment

thanks

This case are wines fit in your category.

Searching for ‘grower champagne’ on TWS website will give you other hits, too. Like the wines of Paillard.

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I’m not sure if its possible on the web, but if you have a copy of the quarterly list they are split out in the champagne section there.

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Some examples:

…(technically not a “grower”, but in all but name).

And Pierre Paillard as mentioned by @szaki1974

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I think the epithet about making a bit of their own champagne on the side only applies to some of them. The rest probably use all their grapes to make their own champagne, or just sell their surplus grapes. It varies across the whole spectrum of business practice.

If this is an area you have not explored before, I think I should warn you that a lifetime’s obsession may await you! Be warned.

Some points may be helpful before starting. There is a tremendous range of styles from different growers, and sometimes that can be true within their ranges as well as from grower to grower. Even allowing for sorting the wheat from the chaff, there will be some styles that appeal more than others. Just in the same way as there are differences between the big houses of course.

A good book to get hold of is Michael Edwards’ “The Finest Wines of Champagne” - he covers a good slew of growers as well as the important big houses. Of course he leaves plenty out that are good, and it’s a few years old now, but by no means is it out of date.

By the way, the RM designation reliably indicates a grower’s own champagne, but there are genuine growers registered as NM (=Negotiants-Manipulants), the same as the big houses. The reason is often to do with French inheritance laws - one member of the family may inherit their fraction of the family estate, but to produce a balanced wine they may need to swap or buy in a proportion of grapes, often from family members owning another part of the original estate.

Happy hunting!

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thanks for all the advice, really appreciate it

I would endorse GoMT’s recommendation of the Michael Edwards book, although I think the whole series (uniformly excellent) have been out of print for a while. Maybe easier to get hold of, and I think also excellent, (and more up-to-date) is Tyson Stelzers Champagne Guide 2018-19.

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If you fancy a mixed case with some money off, this email offer came through just after 3pm today. When I had a look at about 4.30, the mixed case was ‘sold out’, so I avoided posting this to prevent disappointment. However, this has changed to ‘Due in 21st May’, so if you like Growers Champagne, this mixed case may do it for you… limited stock, I suspect!

http://content.email.thewinesociety.com/?6Teq.UIDAXfcRbwQXCg2o0wTnHknNRw16&utm_content=view_online

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The best Growers’ Champagne list is from Vinetrail in Bristol, indeed TWS source some of theirs through them. Chartogne-Taillet, Prevost, Bereche, Benoit-Lahaye, Agrapart and Suenen amongst many. Pretty sure mixed cases ok.

Agree they have a great selection. Only criticism is that their minimum order is 12 bottles, possibly because they’re more focused on wholesale than retail. Gets a bit expensive when you’re looking for some of the more esoteric choices…which tend not to be £<30 p/b .

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