Holiday Wine Gift Ideas: Not Just Any Champagne #WinePW

Grower Champagne for Holiday Gifts

Guaranteed a hit or I’ll drink the wine for you!

Wine Pairing Weekend Holiday Gift Wine Ideas
Our monthly Wine Pairing Weekend group is convening this month to offer some excellent ideas for wine as a holiday gift. Take a look further down in this post for some creative thoughts to help you knock off that holiday gift list!

Grower Champagnes

Grower Champagne is sure to please ANYONE

Click Here for a Convenient Wine Shop Cheat Sheet

The Perfect Wine Gift For Almost Anyone*
It’s the holiday season and you have some tough cookies on your gift list:

  • Wine enthusiast friend or relative
  • Cooking enthusiast or general foodie
  • New neighbors
  • Party host
  • (this is the part where you start thinking of your gift challenges)

Just one caveat, perhaps wine would NOT be a good gift for one of the above challenges , and you know why it wouldn’t:

  • *under-age
  • *tee-totaler
  • *should be a tee-totaler

If wine is on the nice list, I have a great solution for you.

  • First, this is the holiday season and you want your gift to say you care and you’re willing to splurge a bit.
  • For the cost of a decent man’s tie (millions of dads around the world are groaning right now at the thought of another tie), you can give a sure winner.
  • Not Prosecco
    • Not Cava
      • Not American Sparkling wine
        • Not Crémant
  • A bottle of Champagne.  Real Champagne. From the Champagne region of France.
Champagne Copinet Marie Blanc de Blancs

Champagne Copinet Brut Blanc de Blancs

After all, everyone in the world understands Champagne is unique, just a bit of a luxury, and definitely a splurge. It’s also an instant party in a bottle. Whenever you open a bottle of Champagne, everyone will know they are special.

But not just any Champagne, here’s the trick! You’re going to purchase a “Grower Champagne“.  For just a few dollars more than a basic Champagne from one of the Grandes Marques, you can have a bottle which will please everyone, from those who don’t know better to your most choosy wine enthusiast friend. There’s nothing wrong with the Grand Marques, the Veuve Clicquot’s of the world. But you can get them at Costco.  You want something with a bit more “je ne sais quoi”, that indefinable mystique that is part of Champagne. Besides, built into the Grandes Marques bottle price is a hefty shot of advertising.  The Grower Champagnes give you more Champagne bang for your buck.

Grower Champagnes

What’s Grower Champagne?
Most Champagne producers are negociants.  They typically grow some of their grapes, but they also purchase grapes from growers in their region or anywhere in the officially demarcated greater Champagne region. This way, they can achieve consistent flavors in their “house style”, year after year. They also have a larger business, sell more Champagne and increase the value of their “brand”.  Grower Champagne producers must grow at least 95% of their grapes themselves on their own estate land. Typically, these were grape growers in the past who decided to make the jump to being producers, albeit small producers. When you buy Grower Champagne, you’re supporting small business.

How To Find A Grower Champagne
While they are in the minority, most wine shops now carry at least a couple Grower Champagnes.  One good way to find one is to ask! A knowledgeable shop employee should be able to point out the grower Champagne to you.  The slang term is “farmer fizz”, try that!  What if your shop employee doesn’t know or is unsure?  There is a secret code!  Get out your magnifying glass, because it’s always in the fine print.  Grandes Marques Champagnes are “Negociant Manipulant” or NM.  Growers are “Recoltant Manipulant” or RM. Look for the RM.  To help you remember, think the “faRMer puts the RM in faRMer fizz”. Finally, choose “Brut” as the all-around most popular and pleasing level of sweetness in the Champagne.

J. Lassalle Champagne and flutes

Champagne flutes are out of favor today, but sometimes the occasion calls!

Is Grower Champagne Expensive?
Basic non-vintage Brut Champagne from one of the major houses (Piper-Heidsieck is my fave in this group) will typically run $30-50 in the US. Grower Champagnes in our local shops in Minnesota are usually available in the $40-60 range, so a bit more, but your gift recipient is worth it!

Other Nearly as Good Wine Suggestions From Wine Pairing Weekend Buddies
Our Wine Pairing Weekend Group has a bunch of gift wine suggestions this month.  Visit the links below for some great ideas.  If you see this in time, we chat on Saturday morning, Dec. 9 at 10AM CST on Twitter at the hashtag #WinePW. Join us!

Click Here for a Handy Infographic for the Wine Shop

Perfect Holiday Champagne Gift Advice at www.foodwineclick.com

 

Comments
22 Responses to “Holiday Wine Gift Ideas: Not Just Any Champagne #WinePW”
  1. Lynn says:

    What a great article with lots of tips and ideas Jeff! I was recently in champagne with a casual wine friend who questioned my selection of wineries to visit- she wanted to go to the big houses. Ah-ha! Grower Champagne- afterwards she was convinced. I’ll send her here for a detailed visual 😉

  2. A great invitation to the wonders of grower Champagne! You’ve taken the intimidation factor out of the process by explaining in layman’s terms what to look for. Cheers Jeff!

  3. Informative article Jeff. I am also a fan of sparkling gifts!

  4. Great article Jeff. I agree that champagne always makes a nice gift and I love the idea of supporting the small farmers.

  5. culinarycam says:

    Grower Champagne! That’s a completely new to me. Thanks for the eye-opener. And I chuckled at your caveats: “should be a tee-totaler.” LOL. I know a few of those. Cheers to you and yours.

  6. crynning says:

    Love the lineup of Champagne, Jeff!! And those useful tips – well done!! Cheers to the holidays!

  7. Great tips on picking out grower champagne!

  8. Great highlight and shopping guide for grower Champagne. One of my favs is AR Lenoble. I will seek out some of your recommendations as well. BTW, “nearly as good wine suggestions”?! Merry Christmas to you and your family Jeff.

  9. Vino Travels says:

    Learn something new every day. Didn’t realize negociants dominate in this area of wine production over producers making and growing it themselves.

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