Farmer Fizz and Farmer Food #Winophiles

Important Champagne Advice:

FaRMer Fizz – When you’re in the wine shop and you can’t remember the secret code,
think: RM puts the faRMer in faRMer fizz.

Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France. No imposters!

Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France. No imposters!

French #Winophiles Celebrate Champagne!
Thanks to some excellent planning on Christy Majors‘ part, our French #Winophiles blogging group is exploring the Champagne region during the celebration-heavy month of December. So read up and go grab your own bottle(s) of the classic celebration beverage, Champagne.

Champagne Secrets You Can Use
Champagne producers in France want you to know: It’s only Champagne if it’s produced from the Champagne region in France. Everything else is sparkling wine; NOT Champagne.

  • Champagne method= 2nd fermentation in the bottle
  • Grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
  • Blanc de Blancs – made solely from Chardonnay
  • Blanc de Noirs – Made from Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
  • Rosé – some red wine mixed in with the white
  • NV – non-vintage.  Base wine is mixed over multiple years.  Most Champagne is NV.  Vintage Champagne is significantly more expensive.
Sweetness – pay attention here!
  • Brut Nature / Non-dosage – no added sugar at all, can be austere
  • Brut – very dry (but can have a touch sweetness)
  • Extra Dry –starting to taste a bit sweet
  • Dry – noticeably sweet
  • Demi-Sec – very sweet
  • Sec or Doux – sweet as in syrup
Look for the tiny RM immediately above "Product of France"

Look for the tiny RM immediately above “Product of France”

The FaRMer Fizz Secret Code
Teeny, teeny print somewhere on the Champagne label tells you what kind of producer made the wine
  • NM – negociant manipulant – Corporate, think Veuve Clicquot, Moet & Chandon. 95% of the Champagne in the market is NM. Not bad, the Champagne will always be consistent in style. These are big operations who purchase lots of grapes. Note: part of the price of your bottle is all that advertising…
  • RM– recoltant manipulant – This wine maker grew the grapes on the estate and made the wine themselves. AKA Grower Champagne, Farmer Fizz. Today, about 5% of the Champagne market, but growing! The Champagne will be more likely to reflect the vintage and the vineyard. These are the small business operations of Champagne.
Potée Champenoise is a stew with similarities to many northern regions.

Potée Champenoise is a stew with similarities to many northern regions.

Food from the Champagne and Ardenne Regions
These regions are in the northeast quarter of France.  Almost too cold to grow grapes, the foods take on similarities to other northern parts of Europe: warm winter stews, cabbage, charcuterie and pork. We think of Champagne as being all about luxury, but winegrowers are first and foremost farmers.  In fact, many of the classic dishes are homey, comfort foods.

You'll know you're not in the US when you see the ham hocks and cabbage in the pot!

You’ll know you’re not in the US when you see the ham hocks and cabbage in the pot!

Potée Champenoise (recipe here) is a classic cool weather dish from the Champagne-Ardenne region. It’s easy to make, and will fill your kitchen with wonderful aromas all afternoon as it simmers. The ingredients bring to mind Choucroute Garni from just to the east in Alsace, or even Kielbasa & Sauerkraut from Poland.

A surprising "what grows together goes together" pairing

A surprising “what grows together goes together” pairing

I decided to try a Rosé Champagne with the pork and charcuterie, due to their deeper savory flavors. Unfortunately, I missed a bit on the  match with Potée Champenoise. The Brigandat Champagne was unique and very nice, but a normal Champagne would have been a better pairing. We loved the Potée Champenoise and plan to incorporate it into our “simmer away a Sunday afternoon” meals. It’s easy to make, tasty, and provides lots of leftovers to enjoy during the week. Drinking Grower Champagne with such a humble meal seemed like a contrast at first, but why not?

Pierre Brigandat & Fils boldly announces Recoltant Manipulant

Pierre Brigandat & Fils boldly announces Recoltant Manipulant

Pierre Brigandat & Fils Brut Rose NV ($30/bottle in a 6 pack through Cruzu)
Eye: Clear, deep pink, active mousse initially
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity, bright red cherries, very fruity
Mouth: Dry, high acidity (tart), tart red cherries, medium+ body, active carbonation, something savory in the background.

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir, and it impresses me as a Rosé first, and a sparkling second. So often, Rosé Champagne is clearly sparkling first with a little red wine inside.

From the Champagne Brigandet website (translation by the always entertaining Google Translate):

The Dress – Champagne wears a pink dress raspberry supported, with intense pink highlights. From a silky and very fluid aspect, it is animated by very fine bubbles and vivid that feed a persistent flange. The visual sensation announces a fruity and fresh Champagne.

The Nose – The first nose evokes frankly a fruit basket which rub shoulders blackcurrant, raspberry, pomegranate, red apple, black pepper and noted the dramatic elegance of the ruby ​​red rose. Aeration of wine complete our enjoyment on caressing notes of violet, cherry cherry, with a typical smoky accent of marl minerality.

The Mouth – The palate is soft and fresh, with effervescence and a creamy fondue. The wine develops in the palace density of red and black fruit with great delicacy, the elegance fall floral notes. The balance is maintained by a pink grapefruit acidity that provides a titillating freshness. The finish is marked by a fruity and floral aromatic back leaving a sweet sensation, fresh and delicious, an experience of great emotion.

French #Winophiles Posts and Twitter Chat
Want to chat with our group? Join us on Saturday December 19 at 10am CST. Join in the Champagne conversation on Twitter at #Winophiles!

And mark your calendar for Saturday, January 16, when the French #Winophiles will visit Burgundy!


brigandet_champagne_potee_winophiles 20151213 26


18 Responses to “Farmer Fizz and Farmer Food #Winophiles”
  1. Very informative! I did not know about the NM/FM code and what it meant. Thank you for teaching me. Cheers and Happy Holidays.

  2. Great post Jeff! Very informative, yet concise and as always a visual delight! I’m looking forward to trying my Brigandat!

  3. Wow. I didn’t know about NM/RM code, now I have to go check my bottles. What a great post, and the photos are so lovely as always!

    Happy Holidays!

  4. culinarycam says:

    Thanks for the eye-opener, Jeff!

  5. Looking forward to 16 Jan 16 post on Burgundy…the center of the universe…happy holidays~

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