Guillaume Sergent

Montagne de Reims

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Guillaume Sergent is at an interesting point: both still under-the-radar in wider circles, but a veritable rising star within the grower Champagne pack. In short, he's one to watch. With just 1.5 hectares of vines in the villages of Vrigny and Coulommes, he is able to lavish extreme attention to detail on his wines. He uses oak sensitively, and carries out vinification in 3-7 year old barrels, though resists long ageing in oak. The wines are unfined and unfiltered, tending to low sulphur, low pressure, and low dosage.

 

2020 Chemin des Chappes Extra Brut, Guillaume Sergent (disgorged July 2022) Dry | White | Sparkling | 12.5%

This wine is from a single premier cru parcel in Vrigny, where the vines were planted in the 1970s and 1980s. Unlike the Prés Dieu cuvée, this is a blend of blanc de noirs: a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The sandy limestone soils of Vrigy give the wine detail and texture, and the Pinots give it power and depth. Dosage of just 1g/l; unfined and unfiltered.

Young: 2024 - 2032
2020 Les Prés Dieu Extra Brut, Guillaume Sergent (disgorged July 2022) Dry | White | Sparkling | 12.5%

This blanc de blancs is Guillaume's flagship cuvée. It's a blend of two premier cru vineyards: Les Prés in Vrigny, an east-facing vineyard on sandy soils, and Les Vignes Dieu, a south-facing parcel in Coulommes that has chalky soils. The 2020 base is creamy, precise and effortlessly elegant. Dosage of just 1g/l; unfined and unfiltered.

Ready: 2024 - 2030

Huré Frères

Montagne de Reims

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Brothers François and Pierre Huré have brought a wealth of experience gained from winemaking stints all over the world, from Burgundy to New Zealand, to their family domaine in the village of Ludes on the Montagne de Reims. The domaine picked up its 'Frères' in the previous generation, when three brothers ran the show. Family collaboration, hard work, and dedication across the generations has ensured the success of this 10 hectare domaine, whose wines are discreet and elegant, sometimes a little shy at first, but show a profound depth of flavour as they open up in the glass.

 

 

2017 Instantanée, Huré Frères (disgorged March 2023) Dry | White | Sparkling | 12%

Instantanée is a single vintage Champagne that is made every year in order to take a “photo” of that year, the domaine explains. This 2017 is citrus-edged, with a firm and bracing backbone of acidity. It's a blend of roughly equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from across Ludes, Villedommange, Rilly-La-Montagne and Brouillet. It spent 6 years ageing on lees before disgorgement, and the wine has taken on weight and structure in that time.

Ready: 2023 - 2030

Frédéric Savart

Montagne de Reims

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Frédéric Savart is a superstar Montagne de Reims grower who is earning a huge fan base for his barrel-aged Champagnes that recall the richness and breadth of Selosse.

 

2018 Éphémère 018 Sélectionné par Frédéric Savart Grand Cru Extra-Brut White | Sparkling

Champagne Éphémère was launched in 2014 as a collaboration between Frédéric and a few longtime friends, namely Sillery-based négociant Drémont Père & Fils. The 2018 celebrates the gorgeous depth of fruit in 2018, drawing on exclusively grand cru sites (roughly 80% Chardonnay from Avize, Cramant and Oger, and 20% Pinot Noir from Bouzy). 3g/l dosage.

Ready: 2023 - 2033

Vilmart

Montagne de Reims

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Laurent Champs, owner and Chef de Cave of Vilmart is one of Champagne’s unsung heroes. The house has been in his family for five generations, encompassing 11 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards in Rilly-la-Montagne. Vinification takes place entirely in oak, and malo is blocked, giving the wines a compelling combination of depth and tension, sometimes a little unyielding in extreme youth, but with flourishing potential after some bottle age.

 

2015 Cœur de Cuvée, Vilmart et Cie Dry | White | Sparkling | 12.5%

This blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir comes from premier cru vineyards in the heart of the Montagne de Reims. It's made by expert winemaker Laurent Champs, whose wines show taut control and complex structure. Malolactic fermentation is blocked, and the wine - from the sunny 2015 vintage - shows tension and grip, with a juicy, ripe citrus character and racy freshness. The wine was matured in old oak, giving a softness and breadth on the palate. It's long and complex, and consistently one of our favourite champagnes from Vilmart.

Ready: 2023 - 2039

Lilbert-Fils

Côte des Blancs

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Lilbert is a tiny estate, just 3.5 hectares, and their graceful Cramant wines - one of the prized grand cru villages of the Côte des Blancs - are highly sought-after by connoisseurs. Low pressure, gentle expressions: these wines are full of joy.

 

N/V Cramant Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, Lilbert-Fils (2020 Base Vintage) Dry | White | Sparkling | 12%

This non-vintage grand cru is a blend of 50% 2020 and 50% reserve wine. It has a sea air, briny freshness, and is so quintessentially chalky blanc de blancs on the nose. The palate has a soft mousse (it is slightly lower pressure than mainstream Champagnes) and a salty, fresh length with an agile weight. It is discreet and reserved on first opening, but its reticent refrain opens up with some coaxing. One for the purists.

Ready: 2023 - 2031

Laherte Frères

Vallée de la Marne

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Aurélien Laherte is the seventh generation of his family to grow vines in the village of Chavot-Courcourt, just to the south of Epernay in between the Côte des Blancs and Vallée de la Marne in a sub-region known as Côteaux Sud d’Épernay. He and his family work 10 hectares across 75 parcels here and his distinctive wines have earned him a strong following. Aurélien is one of a group of dynamic young growers, along with his friend Raphaël Bérèche, who are bent on natural methods and achieving exquisite terroir expression.

 

N/V Ultradition, Laherte Frères (2020 base vintage) (disgorged March 2023) Dry | White | Sparkling | 12.5%

Ultradition is the flagship wine of the estate, and showcases how well Pinot Meunier suits the clay-limestone soils in this part of Champagne. The bright floral nose makes this a brilliant aperitif Champagne, yet the smooth and balanced weight of the palate makes it equally well suited to food. Take your pick.

Ready: 2024 - 2030
N/V Rosé de Meunier, Laherte Frères (base vintage 2020) (disgorged January 2023) Dry | Rosé | Sparkling

Aurélien Laherte wanted to make a rosé that strikes the balance between the structure of a saignée rosé and the freshness of an assemblage (blended) rosé, and so he used both methods here. It results in a rosé Champagne that is both fresh and racy, and also textural, expressive and dry. It's a versatile Champagne, which pops with notes of fresh cranberries, delicate raspberries, and pepper.

Ready: 2024 - 2029
2019 Les Grandes Crayères, Laherte Frères (disgorged December 2022) Dry | White | Sparkling | 12.5%

This is drawn from two west-facing chalky limestone sites, and produces a taut, chiselled expression.

Ready: 2024 - 2032
N/V Les 7 Extra Brut, Laherte Frères Dry | White | Sparkling | 12.5%

Like Agrapart's famous cuvée, this uses all seven permitted varieties of Champagne. It throws a spotlight on the lesser known indigenous varieties like Arbanne and Petit Meslier. It uses a base of solera reserve (going back to 2005), which helps round out the spikier aspects of some of these high acid varieties, and weaves together an incredibly complex unity.

Drink to: 2029
N/V Petit Meslier Extra Brut, Laherte Frères (Disgorged September 2022) Dry | White | Sparkling

Aurélien Laherte is a champion of Champagne's lesser-known other varieties. While a few other growers frequently use them in their blend, brave and few are those making single variety expressions, like this Petit Meslier. It's chalky, tight, austere, and fierce, with notes of green apple and herbal echoes. This is not Champagne for the faint-hearted, but it is for the brave.

Ready: 2024 - 2030
2019 Les Vignes d'Autrefois Extra Brut, Laherte Frères (disgorged December 2022) Dry | White | Sparkling

This cuvée is made from Pinot Meunier vines planted between 1947 and 1964. The wine is aged in 4-12 year old barrels. It undergoes no malolactic fermentation and has just 3g/l dosage. This is a sensationally terroir-driven wine, and not easy to find.

Ready: 2024 - 2032

Tarlant

Vallée de la Marne

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The Tarlants have been making wines in the Vallée de la Marne since 1687. There hasn’t been one generation skipped in over 300 years. Traditions run deep here, much to the benefit of this region’s history and future: the family continues to grow all seven permitted varieties in Champagne, and focus on zero dosage, long ageing, and site expression. Today it's brother and sister Benoît and Melanie Tarlant who continue to drive forward this important and brilliant estate.

N/V Zéro Brut Nature, Champagne Tarlant (2014 Base Vintage) Dry | White | Sparkling

The Zéro Brut Nature is the signature cuvée of the Tarlant family. They place great emphasis on maturity: in the vineyard (with a proliferation of old vines); in barrel (using long ageing in old oak), and in bottle, sur lattes (long lees ageing before disgorgement and release). As a result the most recent release of their wonderful Zéro Brut Nature has 2014 at its heart, where most other Champagne houses are on 2018 or 2019. The wine shows fabulous complexity and depth thanks to its unusually long ageing. It is tightly-wound, with a vinous concentration and length. Its extended ageing in bottle before disgorgement adds depth and creaminess. Blind, you'll trip over yourself saying it's Krug. If we had a 'house' grower champagne, this would be it.

Ready: 2023 - 2032
N/V Tradition Extra Brut, Champagne Tarlant (2015 Base Vintage) Dry | White | Sparkling

This is a new release from Champagne Tarlant, replacing the higher dosage Brut Réserve. The Extra Brut has just 3g/l residual sugar, much closer to Benoît and Melanie’s preferred dry style of Champagne. Their wines have all the textural depth of flavour you could want without the softening dosage sugar, thanks to their long ageing before release. Although this is their ‘entry level’ cuvée, it has the magnificent 2015 vintage at its base - notable not only for the inherent quality of that vintage, but also in comparison to most grandes marques who are already on to the 2017 or 2018 base wines in their non-vintage blends. It’s a blend of 51% Pinot Noir, 34% Pinot Meunier, and 15% Chardonnay from the Tarlant’s vineyards around Oeuilly. It was disgorged in September 2020, so enjoyed not only almost 5 years ageing sur lattes, but also a further 15 months in bottle before release in early 2022. It is chalky, chiselled, mineral, and moreish. And it offers a brilliant level of quality, and huge character, for its price.

Ready: 2022 - 2028
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Pierre Gerbais

Aube

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This is a domaine on the up. It's in the hands of talented young Aurélien Gerbais, whose wines are showing all the promise one would hope to find in a close neighbour and friend of Cédric Bouchard, whose pioneering work changed the way we think about low pressure, gentle wines from this southerly region of Champagne. Add to that his Burgundian philosophies, and his pursuit of the purity found in the wines of mentor and friend Olivier Lamy in St Aubin, and you'll soon realise these are not to be missed. We've already seen huge demand for his wines in previous releases, yet they remain pleasingly reasonably priced. Low sulphur.

2020 Grains de Celles Extra Brut, Pierre Gerbais (disgorged 2023) Dry | White | Sparkling | 12.5%

When it comes to the Venn diagram of up-and-coming names, thrilling quality, and brilliant value for money, look no further than Grains de Celles. It’s a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, with 25% of one of Champagne’s rarer grapes, Pinot Blanc. It’s a fantastic launchpad to explore the rest of the Gerbais range. The wine shows great vinous precision, with a layered expression spanning crisp red apple to salty preserved lemons, with a beautiful texture, gentle and refined. Until recently this cuvée had been a non-vintage blend, but 2020 follows on from 2019 as a single vintage release, with precision and singularity of expression. Dosage 2g/l.

Ready: 2024 - 2030
N/V Grains de Celles Rosé Extra Brut, Pierre Gerbais (2019 base vintage) Dry | Rosé | Sparkling | 12.5%

This has a similar grape variety make-up to the blanc version, with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc in the blend. Indeed, it's made from the same base as the Grains des Celles, with a dash of Coteaux Champenois (red wine) added for colour.

Ready: 2024 - 2030

Clandestin

Aube

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Clandestin is a joint venture by the young Benoît Doussot, who graduated from Beaune in just 2015, and Bertrant Gautherot of Vouette et Sorbée. Strictly speaking, it is technically a micro-négociant, but with all the detail and quality of a grower, with a very promising future. Having grown up, studied, and trained in Burgundy, Benoît is a dab hand at oak élevage. This project is still young, and only a few cuvées have been released so far, but already the reaction of fellow growers and critics has been overwhelmingly positive. So watch this space.

2020 Les Semblables Boréal Brut Nature, Clandestin (Disgorgement July 2022) Dry | White | Sparkling

Les Semlables Boréal comes from various plots which share the common themes of Kimmeridgian limestone and north/west aspects. This blanc de noirs (100% Pinot Noir) is both juicy and vibrant with an energetic drive. Zero dosage keeps it brisk and razor-sharp.

Ready: 2024 - 2030

Vouette et Sorbée

Aube

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Bertrand Gautherot was one of the earliest growers to the biodynamic party, and has been certified by Demeter since 1998. He has been a trailblazer in the Aube ever since, setting an example that many younger growers have followed. His vineyards are closer to Chablis than Reims, and the Kimmeridgian limestone soil is an important part of the domaine's style.

2019 Blanc d'Argile, Vouette et Sorbée, Bertrand Gautherot (Disgorgement November 2022) Dry | White | Sparkling

The heritage of these Chardonnay vines couldn't be more impeccable: a massal selection from Selosse’s vines in Avize and Dauvissat's in Chablis. It is zero dosage, but thanks to its long élevage, has a richness and power, setting it apart from more fragile, filigree blanc de blancs. It already has a strong following in the market.

Ready: 2024 - 2034