I had just yesterday, the Tuesday, to visit the London International Wine Fair at Excel.
I found four very good and new to me sparkling producers – three champagne and one Saumur/Crémant de Loire. We will visit all in August this year, if not before. Certainly the Champagne region is accessible from the UK for a long weekend. They are all looking for UK representation, prices are ex-cellar:
- Champagne Déhu. Based in the Vallée de la Marne, at Fossoy. They showed a brut NV with 3 years minimum ageing, and a 2006 brut, both pinot meunier dominated, as one would expect, with chardonnay and pinot noir in the blend. Very good quality wines, tasting notes are at their site. This is what discovering grower champagnes is all about. I’m awaiting ex-cellar prices.
- Champagne Lanaud. Based in Avize on the Côte des Blancs. I tried and loved these three – Cinquantenaire blanc de blanc 2009, 7-8g/l, €21; Carte Noir blanc de blanc 2005, 6 g/l, €21.50; and Cuvee de Petrosses, blanc de blanc, from Chouilly grand cru vineyards, €29.50.
- Champagne Vincent Brochet, not available in the UK, not sure if they are looking for representation. Based in Ecueil, close SW of Reims, on the Montagne de Reims, a 5ha PC domaine, pinot noir dominated, with a south-facing aspect. The 2005 brut was excellent, with 8g/l, 6.5 years on the lees; a toasty, biscuity and honeyed gem, at €19.50.
- Louis de Grenelle, is looking for representation in the UK. Based in Saumur, for Saumur Mousseux and Crémant de Loire. They have no vineyards, but buy in grapes and similary vinify for clients with no such facilities. Their range is €4-7. Some lovely fresh wines, from chenin blanc and chardonnay, with a touch of cabernet franc for the rosé. Notes of quince, grass, ripe stone fruit; with ripe strawberry and cherry on the rosé. Traditional method, with anything from 2-5 years on the lees. These wines really are a great alternative to Prosecco, and at a better price point. I am becoming a little bored with the latter.