Champagne Houses: Glossary & Directory Of The Best Champagne Producers

Champagne Houses: Glossary & Directory Of The Best Champagne Producers2018-06-13T00:10:56+00:00

Bespoke Unit Champagne Houses Directory

With as many as 16,100 different producers among the 320 official Champagne villages enclosed within the 35,000 hectare (84,000 acre) territory, discovering your favourite can be mind-boggling.

On top of that, only 300 of those producers are major Champagne houses whereas the others are family-run agricultural operations that grow and supply grapes.

The following directory has been designed as a reference for discovering both new and old Champagne houses, cooperatives and large-scale producers. As Bespoke Unit’s Champagne section grows, so will the directory. Therefore, check back regularly to discover new and exciting Champagnes!

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A Word On Champagne Producer Types

Before you continue, it’s important to know the difference between the various types of Champagne producers. For instance, there are Négociants, big houses who not only have land but buy and sell grapes to make their own. Alternatively, you can run into cooperatives but not all function in the same way.

Finally, there are also récoltants who directly manage every step of the wine growing and making process.

You can read all about the different producers and their identifying codes in our complete guide to choosing Champagne.

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Baron Albert

  • Founded: 1947
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Charly-sur-Marne
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $
  • Website: www.champagnebaronalbert.fr

Founded in 1947 by Albert and Béatrice Baron, Baron Albert is today run by their granddaughters, Claire, Lisa and Aline. The house owns 7 local vineyards that span over a 55-hectare (136 acres) surface area, which are composed of 65% pinot meunier, 30% chardonnay and 5% pinot noir.

Baron Albert produce a wide variety of cuvées from traditional non-vintage blends to saignée rosés and complex oak-aged vintages. Their low prices offer outstanding value.

In addition, production respects the environment, having earned both Champagne Viticulture Durable and Haute Valeur Environnementale certifications.

Read more.

Bollinger [Royal Warrant]

  • Founded: 1829
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Aÿ
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$$
  • Website: www.champagne-bollinger.fr

Famously known for being James Bond’s first choice, Bollinger is an old and influential house. It was founded in 1829 in Aÿ by Paul Renaudin and Jacques Bollinger. Bollinger produces over 60% of its supply from its own vineyard domain of 164 hectares (405 acres), which are predominantly pinot noir.

Bollinger is of the last remaining independent major Champagne houses and has been appointed a Royal Warrant. They produce some of the most exclusive cuvées using a reserve library of over 750,000 magnum bottles. Two examples of these are the The Grande Année and Vieille Vignes Française cuvées.

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Charles Heidsieck

  • Founded: 1851
  • Sub-Region: Montagne de Reims
  • Village: Reims
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$
  • Website: charlesheidsieck.com

Nicknamed “Champagne Charlie” in the USA, Heidsieck was a famous 19th-Century merchant who would travel market his Champagnes in the Americas. Today, the house owns just over 65 hectares (160 acres) and produces certified Haute Valeur Environnementale sustainable grapes.

Brut Réserve cuvées can be made with as much as 40% of reserve wine using what the house terms “a fine-tuned dose of unconventional decisions” during each production phase.

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Dom Pérignon

  • Founded: 1921
  • Sub-Region: Montagne de Reims
  • Village: Épernay
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$$$
  • Website: www.domperignon.com

Named after the forefather of Champagne, Moët & Chandon released their first 1921 vintage bottles of their new and exclusive brand in 1936. Dom Pérignon is somewhat unique in the Champagne world as although it’s labelled as a house, it’s entirely run and owned like its own range.

Dom Pérignon is only ever released as vintage cuvées, which require at least 12 years to age. This develops a signature silky mousse and mature, complex flavour. No wine is produced in weak years and a total of 5 million bottles are produced in each vintage.

Drappier

  • Founded: 1808
  • Sub-Region: Côte des Bars
  • Village: Urville
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$
  • Website: www.champagne-drappier.com/

Brought to fame by Charles de Gaulle, Drappier is still today one of the official Champagnes supplied during government and diplomatic events at the Palais Royal. The house runs 57 hectares (140 acres) of vineyards, which are composed of 70% pinot noir, 15% chardonnay and 15% pinot meunier.

Most is grown in Urville of which a third of production is organic. A further 35 hectares (87 acres) of chardonnay are sourced from the Montagne de Reims sub-region. Drappier is celebrated for its low-sulfure brut natures of which their flagship cuvée contains none of either.

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GH Mumm [Royal Warrant]

  • Founded: 1827
  • Sub-Region: Montagne de Reims
  • Village: Reims
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$
  • Website: www.mumm.com

Founded in 1827, GH Mumm annually produces over 8 million bottles of Champagne making it the 4th largest house in terms of production. Wine-growing operations concentrate on solely pinot noir and chardonnay.

In addition, GH Mumm owns over 218 hectares (540 acres) of vineyards in the Côte des Blancs of which 218 (400 acres) are grands crus.

Throughout the 19th Century, GH Mumm was a major playing in the Champagne industry. It holds a royal warrant and has been an official supplier to the British royal family since Queen Victoria. Historically, Mumm has sported a number of sporting events from sailing races to Formula 1 racing.

Gosset

  • Founded: 1584
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Aÿ
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$
  • Website: www.champagne-gosset.com

Gosset is the oldest Champagne house still in activity today. Having been founded in 1584 by Pierre Gosset, it has over four centuries of history behind it. Therefore, when Gosset first opened it doors, Champagne was still a non-sparkling wine at the time!

Today’s bottles are a reflection of this heritage and Gosset sells its most if its Champagne in replicas of those used during the 18th Century. Gosset sells more than 1 million bottles per year and exports over 65% of its production to more than 70 countries.

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Krug [Royal Warrant]

  • Founded: 1843
  • Sub-Region: Montagne de Reims
  • Village: Reims
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$$$
  • Website: www.krug.com

Krug is one of the most prestigious Champagne houses that was founded by Joseph Krug in 1843.  The house only owns 30% of the vineyards that produce its Champagne with only 20 hectares (50 acres) under their name. Instead, it obtains most grapes from no more than 250 plots owned by 70-100 independent wine growers.

All of Krug’s cuvées are renowned for being consistently dry and its signature notes are characterised by at least 6 years of bottled maturation.

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Lanson [Royal Warrant]

  • Founded: 1760
  • Sub-Region: Montagne de Reims
  • Village: Reims
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$
  • Website: www.lanson.com

Being founded in 1760 by François Delamotte, Lanson is one of the oldest Champagne houses.  In 1900, Lanson was awarded the title of “Purveyor of Champagne to Her Majesty” by Queen Victoria and earned a royal warrant.

With the UK being Lanson’s biggest client, they were one of the first to promote the sale of non-vintage, dry Champagne. In 1937, Lanson released their Black Label cuvée in honour of Great Britain, which is still on sale today.

Laurent-Perrier [Royal Warrant]

  • Founded: 1812
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Tours-sur-Marne
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$$
  • Website: www.laurent-perrier.com

Founded in 1812 by Alphonse Pierlot as the House of Pierlot. It wasn’t until 1881 when Pierlot willed it to his cellar master, Eugène Laurent, and his wife, Mathilde Emilie Perrier, that it became known by its current name.

When Laurent died in 1887, his widow again changed the name again to Veuve Laurent-Perrier (“veuve” meaning “widow” in French). Mathilde Perrier brought the company to prestige until the First World War, which was catastrophic for the Champagne industry. Today, Laurent-Perrier is the 3rd best selling Champagne after only Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.

Louis Roederer

  • Founded: 1776
  • Sub-Region: Montagne de Reims
  • Village: Reims
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$$$
  • Website: www.louis-roederer.com

Initially founded as Dubois Père & Fils in 1776, it changed names in 1833 when inherited by Dubois’ nephew, Louis Roederer. It soon went on to be one of the most prestigious Champagne houses of the 19th Century and became the official supplier of the Imperial Court of Russia.

In 1876, Louis Roederer released their most famous and exclusive cuvée, Cristal. Originally designed for Tsar Alexander II so he could appreciate Champagne in a clear bottle, it also features a flat bottom to prevent assassins from hiding explosives. Today, the production of Cristal is far from able to satisfy the ever-increasing worldwide demand.

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Mercier

  • Founded: 1858
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Épernay
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$
  • Web Site: www.champagnemercier.fr

Eugène Mercier founded his Champagne house in 1858 when he was only 20 years old. His namesake would be one of the most influential producers of the 1800s that brought Champagne into the 20th Century.
Eugène’s vision was to make Champagne affordable without undermining its quality. He was an innovative salesman who even created the world’s first commercial film.
In the 1970s, Mercier merged with Moët & Chandon. Today, Mercier is part of the LVMH family and uses as many as 576 hectares (1423 acres) for production of which 231 (571 acres) are owned by the house.

Moët & Chandon [Royal Warrant]

  • Founded: 1743
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Épernay
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$
  • Web Site: www.moet.com

Moët & Chandon is one of today’s most renowned and influential Champagne houses. A leading player of the LVMH family, it manages Mercier, Dom Pérignon and Ruinart. Moët is Champagne’s largest house with 1190 hectares (2940 acres) to their name and access to a further 3000 hectares (7413 acres).

Founded in 1743 by Claude Moët, the house often received famed guests including Voltaire, Napoléon Bonaparte and Richard Wagner. Under Robert-Jean de Vögué, Moët & Chandon played a pivotal resistance role during the Second World War.

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Perrier-Jouët

  • Founded: 1811
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Épernay
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$
  • Web Site: www.perrier-jouet.com

Newly-weds Pierre Nicolas Perrier and Rose Adélaide Jouët founded their house in 1811. Today Perrier-Jouët owns just over 65 hectares (161 acres) of which 40 hectares (99 acres) are chardonnay.

Overall, 99% of these vineyards are exclusively Grands Crus and Perrier-Jouët’s distinctive chardonnay vines are 23 years old on average. Perrier-Jouët was particularly famous during the early 20th and continues to sell its flower-designed “Belle Époque” cuvées.

Philipponnat

  • Founded: 1910
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Mareuil-sur-Aÿ
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$$
  • Web Site: www.philipponnat.com

Philipponnat is a group-owned but family-run operation. Although the house was only founded in 1910, current director Charles Philipponnat represents the family’s 6th generation of Champagne producers.

The house offers a number of unique cuvées and is renowned for its transparency by indicating the vintages blended into each bottle.

Piper-Heidsieck

  • Founded: 1785
  • Sub-Region: Montagne de Reims
  • Village: Reims
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$
  • Web Site: piper-heidsieck.com

Florens-Louis Heidsieck was such a master craftsman that he even presented his celebrated Champagne to Marie-Antoinette. At his death in 1828, his nephew, Christian Heidsieck, partnered with the gifted businessman Henri-Guillaume Piper.

However, it was until 1835 when Heidsieck died and his widow remarried with Piper that the house bore both names. Piper Heidsieck today runs and owns a domaine of 65 hectares (161 acres).

Pol Roger

  • Founded: 1849
  • Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne
  • Village: Epernay
  • Producer Type: Négociant Manipulant
  • Pricing: $$
  • Web Site: www.polroger.com

Pol Roger is one of the last remaining Grandes Maisons that is both independent and family-run. It was founded by Pol Roger at only 18 years old following his father’s death. Pol Roger is famous for its ties with Winston Churchill, who was an avid fan of this particular house.

Churchill’s penchant for Pol Roger was so strong that the house released a special Imperial Pint cuvée for him in 1928. A half-bottle was too little and a regular champenoise was too much. However, the Imperial Pint was the ideal quantity to accompany his breakfast, which he would drink from a glass tankard.

Churchill developed close personal ties with the house’s family members. In 1975, Pol Roger released their prestigious Sir Winston Churchill cuvée to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death.

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