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Champagne & Sparkling Wines - Oddbins

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Buy Pol Roger NV Champagne



Noël Coward reportedly asked “Why do I drink Champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone?” Well, maybe not every morning, Noël, but we certainly like it very much indeed. Who wouldn’t? Champagne is not only one of the most perfect drinks on the planet, but it is also probably one of the most perfect wine-making regions anywhere. We’re not talking about the weather, which can be a little bit too much like ours for our liking; we are talking about the symbiotic relationship of its producers.

With their consistent style, availability and prestige, big Champagne Houses such as Laurent-Perrier and Pol Roger (who are family-owned), have built up Champagne’s incredible reputation and this has made it one of the most famous and emulated wines on Earth. These larger producers are able to promote the Champagne brand overseas, support smaller producers by buying their grapes and innovate by playing with fermentation in oak, dosage (very dry) styles and organic viticulture. The smaller producers, therefore are very fond of their big brothers… But what about the little brothers? Well, we wuv them, big time. We especially wuv ‘Grower Houses’, such as Pierre Gimonnet, Drappier and Antoine Remy, who grow the grapes and make the wine themselves, rather than buying in the grapes or the wine to create a blend. H Blin is a co-op of growers that works on a similar principle. These Growers also sell their grapes on, but are doing this less and less as demand for Grower Champagne grows. Happy days. The other great thing about smaller and lesser known outfits is that they invest all their efforts and finances on making the best wine they can from their vineyards, which results in very good value wine with a strong sense of place.

So what about the stuff in the bottle? Well, it is composed of one, two or all of the following grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and, traditionally, Houses would create a blend of these, without being steered by which grapes grew locally. However, the past 10 years or so has seen producers making the most of the grapes that thrive in their vicinity. Pierre Gimmonet, for example, are situated on the Côtes des Blancs and so exclusively use Chardonnay, which thrives there. H Blin use a lot of Pinot Meunier, which does well in the Vallée de la Marne and Drappier, based in Urville, which predominantly uses Pinot Noir. Drappier also use historic grape varieties such as Arbane, Petit Meslier, Fromenteau and Blanc Vrai, which have lower yields but exceptional character – and look set to make a comeback (hooray!) That’s all from us, all you have to do now is decide what’s for breakfast.

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