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translation missing: en.ACellars Newsletter 11th November, 2021: ACellars Newsletter 11th November, 2021

Grower Champagne

How does your Champagne grow?

After another locked-down year separating us from our friends, families and travel plans, what great timing that Greater Sydney, the federated states and territories, and even the world are opening up for us on the eve of the Silly Season.

With so much to celebrate, especially if your celebration involves a long-anticipated reunion, only Champagne will do.

And which Champagne? Well after a unique year where we were forced to appreciate how much family matters, a unique, family-mattered wine shared with any matter of unique family members is called for.

For centuries Champagne has been dominated by the Grandes Marques - houses such as Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Moet et Chandon (interestingly, all of these are owned by the same company), and the smaller vignerons have either been squeezed out or forced to sell their grapes. Due to the prohibitive costs in Champagne production, it made economic sense for the majority of growers to sell their fruit. This played into the hands of the larger houses, because for the Grandes Marques, consistency is king. The ability to develop a house style through blending is paramount to their success.

It was only in the 1980s that a handful of producers began to break free of this negociant model and decided to make their own wines. They were seeking a more pure expression of their terroir; one that didn't require high levels of sugar to be added to the finished wine; one that didn't rely on chemical sprays in the vineyard; one that could be vinified in smaller barriques, rather than commercial-scale steel tanks.

Breaking away from the "consistency is king" model and asking "who grows you Champagne" means terroir and vintage really come out to play, with each Grower Champagne allowing their unique character to shine. In turn, the changes to organic and biodynamic farming as managed by the smaller producers really gives back to the land and terroir. The Champagne produced is of the upmost quality due to the control the growers have during every step of the process. Truly artisanal.

At Annandale Cellars we are strong supporters of the Grower Champagne movement. Explore the collection in the link below, and read the stories of the families of artisans and their products, or come and have a chat with us in-store to discuss the range of these unique and special Champagnes.

Seach the collection here.


Jerome Bretaudeau

Staff Pick

Domaine de Bellevue Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2020

Our favourite Muscadets are back in store.

From their home in the most western region of the Loire Valley, Muscadet (from the grape Melon de Bourgogne) thrives in the maritime climate of the Pays Nantais, surrounding the city of Nantes.

Although contested, Nantes, former home to the dukes of Brittany (Breizh in the old language), still identifies culturally and historically as Breton. And with the peninsula of Brittany serving up some of the best seafood direct from the cold waters of the Atlantic, Melon de Bourgogne also deserves its cultural home in Brittany since its introduction from Burgundy over 3 centuries ago.

It follows, of course that it pairs beautifully with anything from the Australian waters. Muscadet grown in the Pays Nantais embraces its acidity and takes on the saline influences from the sea and the soil, with delicious notes of citrus.

Easy Briez-y Lemon Squeezy.

This week's staff pick, Domaine de Bellevue, has a reputation for being well-sought after in wine bars, not just around Nantes, but all over France, and is certainly a favourite of ours. Vigneron Jerome Bretaudeau's relationship with Melon de Bourgogne goes back to his time making wine for Muscadet star Jo Landron, and since 2005 amongst his own organic vines, he has set himself apart with hand-harvesting, maintaining low and expressive yields and fermenting with indigenous yeasts, keeping the wines on these lees for at least 8 months.

Mineral, textural and delicious. Find it here.