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  • Spotlight on Champagne

    March 20, 2024 2 min read

    Person holding a glass of Champagne.

    Champagne is a sparkling wine originated and produced only in the Champagne wine region of France under the rules of the appellation, which demand specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from designated places within it, specific grape-pressing methods and secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle to cause carbonation as known as "Méthode Champenoise".

    The grapes Pinot noir, Pinot meunier, and Chardonnay are used to produce almost all Champagne, but small amounts of Pinot blanc, Pinot gris (called Fromenteau in Champagne), Arbane, and Petit Meslier are vinified as well.

    In Champagne, there is a wide and diverse scene including over a hundred Champagne Houses, also called Maisons or Grandes Marques and about 19 000 smaller vignerons, who are essentially vine-growing producers also called grower Champagne. Together, they manage around 32, 000 hectares of vineyards throughout the region.
    Each Champagne producer can be identified by particular abbreviations followed by an official number displayed on the bottle.

    NM: Négociant manipulant. These companies - the majority of the larger brands, buy grapes and make the wine. 
    CM: Coopérative de manipulation. Cooperatives that make wines from the growers who are members, with all the grapes pooled together
    RM: Récoltant manipulant. (Also known as Grower Champagne) A grower that also makes wine from its own grapes (a maximum of 5% of purchased grapes is permitted). Note that co-operative members who take their bottles to be disgorged at the co-op can now label themselves as RM instead of RC
    SR: Société de récoltants. An association of growers making a shared Champagne but who are not a co-operative
    RC: Récoltant coopérateur. A co-operative member selling champagne produced by the co-operative under its own name and label
    MA: Marque auxiliaire or Marque d'acheteur. A brand name unrelated to the producer or grower; the name is owned by someone else, for example a supermarket
    ND: Négociant distributeur. A wine merchant selling under his own name

    While most well-known Champagne Houses buy in their grapes from many different vineyards and blend them together to form a ‘house style’, vine-growing producers Champagne is made by a single estate which are typically small. They are more focused on expressing a sense of place. They maybe hard to come by but at Whelehans Wines, we are proud to work with the Bénard-Pitois family - Exclusively Imported, third generation of wine grower based in Mareuil-sur-Ay (only a few kilometers from Epernay), where Michelle Laurent Benard and Louis perpetuate the traditions and have managed the family estate since 1991.

    At Whelehans Wines, we are delighted to offer a stunning collection of delicious Champagnes featuring both Grande Maison and artisanal vine grower Champagnes offering a truly exceptional experience for Champagne lovers! Whether for celebrations or quiet moment of indulgence, our curated Champagne selection promises to captivate discerning palates!


    Champagne Selection by Whelehans Wines