You don’t have to spend $200 on a bottle of Cristal this Valentine’s Day to make a lasting impression. Sure, Cristal is a fabulous Champagne, but if you really want to impress that special someone look for a grower’s Champagne.
Most of the big Champagne houses in France like Roederer (who makes Cristal) or Moet & Chandon bring in tons of grapes from growers all over the region to blend a seamless sparkling. Veuve Clicquot, the hottest selling champagne on the world market right now, produces more than 1 million cases of wine a year!
Some of those growers who sell to the big Champagne houses however often hold back some of the best grapes for their own productions. These bubblies can be more difficult to find because production is small, and they are always in high demand. These sparklings often carry more aromatics on the nose and more layers of flavor on the palate.
Sommelier Ben Roberts at Masraff’s in Houston recently showed our cameras how to tell if a Champagne is a single grower’s production or a blended wine. There’s a tiny proofing number on the bottle. If you’d like to see how to spot that number, head to Goodtaste.tv.