Grower Champagne is nothing new — the region has been a winemaking hub for centuries, and before the famous houses began springing up, with their blending expertise and nearly unlimited marketing budgets, who was growing grapes and making wine? Small family growers, of course. Growers like Sadi Malot. Situated in the Montagne de Reims — Champagne's Pinot Noir country — the Malot family farms 8 hectares of Chardonnay, and just 2 hectares of the former. As it turns out, the rule of Montagne de Reims' Pinot ascendancy has a few exceptions, the most predominant being in the premier cru level village of Villers-Marmery. Here, the soil is richer with chalk and limestone, and the southeast exposure allows for gradual, complete ripening of Chardonnay grapes. It's an ideal place to grow Chardonnay that will transform into deeply mineral-driven Champagne.
Champagne boasts some of the world’s greatest luxury brands with Krug, Cristal and, of course, Dom Perignon. But it’s also home to hundreds of small dynamic producers—farmers who grow their own grapes (often organically) and make (often with natural methods) tiny amounts of pure and absolutely delicious wine that reflect the individual personalities of their villages and terroirs. Toast with these wines, for sure. But also treat them like the great wines they are: taste, drink, explore!