Top 10 Grower Champagnes
Doyard Cuvée Vendémiaire Premier Cru Brut
After his vineyards were destroyed during WWI, Maurice Doyard replanted and rebuilt; today, his great-grandson Charles makes aromatic, spicy wines like this one. $47.
Chartogne-Taillet Cuvée Sainte Anne
One of the “larger” grower Champagne producers, at about 6,500 cases per year, Chartogne-Taillet has been on an upswing ever since Alexandre Chartogne took over in 2007. This precise, gingery bottling exemplifies his style. Buy: $43 at wine.com.
J. Lassalle Cuvée Préférence Premier Cru Brut
This lime-scented cuvée is the work of chef de cave Angéline Templier, whose grandfather founded this estate in 1942. $48.
Frédéric Savart signed a professional soccer contract before he was lured back to the family business. Soccer’s loss is our gain: This precisely focused cuvée was one of the very best in our blind tastings. $50.
Geoffroy Expression Brut
Warm, toasty pear notes are the core of this lush cuvée, made by a family that has been growing grapes since the 1600s. Buy: $56 at wine.com.
Pehu-Simonet Face Nord
This Pinot Noir–driven bottling comes from north-facing vineyards (hence the name). Imagine hints of ripe strawberry fruit and fine, lemony acidity, and you’ll have a good sense of its style. $54.
Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes De Montgueux
Most of Lassaigne’s vines are right across the street from his house in Montgueux, a tiny town in the very north of the Aube region. Working in a “natural” mode—little sulfur; no industrial yeasts or pesticides; lots of hands-on work—he produces chiseled, delicate wines like this one. $58.
Benoît Lahaye Brut Essentiel
Pale gold in hue, with plenty of red apple and brioche notes, this seductive cuvée comes from a small estate in the town of Bouzy (famed for the quality of its Pinot Noir). Lahaye is also one of the few local growers who still works his vineyards with a horse. $67.
Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru
One of the first growers to gain US attention, Ambonnay-based Egly-Ouriet makes powerful, savory wines that benefit from extended time aging on their lees (the spent yeasts from fermentation). They’re pricey, but they’re worth it. Buy: $80 at wine.com.
Georges Laval Cumières Brut Nature
Vincent Laval grows grapes the same way his father did, and his father before that, and… well, more or less since the family started doing it in 1694. No pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, lots of handwork in the vines: The result is this lemon peel–citrusy, beautifully high-toned wine. $90.