Champagne – As safe as houses
“Customers don’t want a lesson on wine, they want enjoyment. I think wine should be about the people behind it.” Charles Beaini, Sommelier at Hand and Flowers
Champagne is one of the only categories bucking the trend of volume decline. This means that more and more UK consumers are drinking Champagne and in turn, it’s no longer reserved just for special occasions. With that in mind, your house pour Champagne has a more important role to play on your list than ever.
"We use Bruno Paillard as our house champagne, they are delicious Champagnes. I particularly enjoy the rose Champagne. This makes it so easy for us to upsell something of such high quality"
Katie Crotty, Food and Beverage Manager at Rhinefield House
From inauspicious times with only a Jaguar to his name, Bruno Paillard now leads one of the top family owned wineries in Champagne though still only with 32 hectares to his name. For Bruno, it was the romance of Champagne that sets him apart from his peers. For the wine that bears his name, it’s the disgorgement date. The process of removing the dead yeast cells from the bottles happens at every Champagne house but Bruno Paillard was the first to explicitly label the date at which the bottle was disgorged. This information allows you to know exactly when the ageing began, and your customers will enjoy a new experience every time they drink it.
“I like the structure, the creamy texture, the freshness and the length. I think it ticks all the boxes of a house Champagne, it has got a hint of biscuit and brioche, yet is fresh with lovely acidity. Everyone will enjoy a glass or two, with or without food and we are very happy to be supporting a small grower”
Sara Bachiorri, Head Sommelier Chez Bruce
Grower Champagnes may be in vogue at the moment but the wines from Serge Mathieu have substance to back up the style. The Mathieu family has lived in the village of Avirey-Lingey, one of the southernmost towns of Champagne, since the 18th century. Today, the eleven-hectare vineyard is sustainably farmed by Serge’s daughter, Isabelle. Pinot Noir takes a particularly prominent role in the Champagnes of Serge Mathieu owing to the location of the vineyards. 89% of all vines in the local area are Pinot Noir as the climate is ideal for it. Isabelle is one of our most meticulous producers. All her wines are cellared for three to five years before release. This extra ageing – which is an unusual practice for small producers – enables her to use very low dosage levels, thus preserving the purity and elegance of the natural fruit flavours.
“In every establishment that I have managed in recent years Palmer has been the house champagne, it’s beautifully dry and I have never had any complaints”
Rowan Clements, General Manager Portabello Restaurant Bar & Grill, Oxford
Palmer & Co. might just be the best Champagne house you have never heard of, despite the fact you may have unwittingly drunk some of its brilliant vintage wine. Back in the old days when Champagne houses occasionally bought in unlabelled ready-to-drink bottles and used their own label, Palmer & Co. was the go to name for the Grand Marques, especially for vintage wines. Why? Because they knew the quality would be very good indeed. The days of selling ‘sur latte’ are all but over, but one thing hasn’t changed: the quality of the juice in Palmer & Co.’s Champagnes. Today, Palmer & Co. has over 200 growers with 365 hectares of vines spread across 40 villages. Champagne expert Tom Stevenson even included Palmer & Co. in his list of ‘The 5 most underrated Champagne producers.’