The Best Champagne for 2020 – Roger Constant Lemaire
11th December 2020
34,300 Hectares of vineyards, a 19,000 vine growing community and 2,124 houses that make their own. Known to many as the Wine of Kings and the King of Wines, 300 million bottles produced annually and with each standard bottles containing 49 million bubbles! Don’t you just love Champagne!
For centuries the world has had the pleasure of discovering Champagne and despite many challengers globally, it still remains as the premium sparkling wine choice for many and sits first place most certainly for quality of aromas and flavours. Its versatility is also its strength offering plenty of variation in styles from grapes used to ageing – Gastronomy pairings galore from fish and chips to curries and celebrations from weddings to podium finishes at Formula 1.
The production region/zones, (AOC vineyard area), means that there is much variation mostly due to terroir (land/weather) though also via winemaking philosophies (winemakers). Champagne is an endless journey of discoveries and delights that also includes wine tourism and especially in more recent years thanks to it being included as a UNESCO site.
There are countless Champagne makers from those small growers of just a few thousand bottles annually to those producing millions with household names to bolster their sales. Most people will be able to name a few Champagne makers such as Moët & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot and Lanson to state a few, but there are many hidden treasures of, many times, superior quality houses that go unknown unless you are willing to explore deeper.
“There are around 260 Champagne houses representing over 70% of production and 90% of exports.” source worldwineandfood
One way in which to discover amazing Champagne houses performing with exceptional tasting notes and scores is to study wine awards. These prestigious events usually held annually look to rewards wines such as with point scores, medals and reviews from industry experts. On many occasions, smaller producers will gain spotlight fame enabling their wines to obtain much public and industry attention.
The Champagne and Sparkling Wine Awards in London are one such example where Champagne houses, big and small, are able to gain the necessary recognition that helps to highlight themselves to those seeking to discover amazing aromas and flavours.
A perfect example of this took place during the 2020 awards where the main title ‘The World’s Finest’ was won by a smaller producer (not available in the supermarket) who are based in the tiny village of Villers-sous-Châtillon and run by the Tournant family. A Champagne house which you would have to work hard to discover unless of course, you are lucky to have stumbled across their wines at random restaurants in the UK, USA and Japan or driven past their winery during a drive through the region of France they are located. Not a wine that you will find in the local supermarket as mentioned and neither at the wine merchants – To be honest the only way to find them would be if you knew of them previously and visited their website to place a decent sized order!
Hidden away and a secret no more and especially since taking home two gold medals and a trophy at the 2020 Glass of Bubbly Awards – This wonderful Champagne house that offers an explosion of aromas and flavours in all their labels is now definitely discovered and important for all, both consumers and trade, can now easily be contacted and wines purchased.
“The family’s speciality rests on Champagnes of great freshness in the mouth, marked by authenticity and the taste of minerality in its terroirs on clay-limestone soils extending from Hautvillers premier cru to Cumières and as far as Villers.” Michael Edwards, Champagne journalist & Author.
So, are they really that good? Are they worth discovering?
There really is only one main way to decide if a Champagne is good or not and that is obviously by tasting it. Though I would also like to add and with great experience from my side, a Champagne will be enhanced by whenever you meet the winemaker / label owner and when you admire their ways of working, you are further pulled in by the likes of the region where the vine are grown.
Champagne Roger Constant Lemaire, led by brothers Guillaume (winemaker) and Sébastien (head of international marketing and sales) with guidance from parents Gilles and Brigitte, offer a selection of labels to a growing fan base globally. Represented in both the UK and USA, direct purchases are readily available.
Sebastien is always keen to build on new relationships and if you are a wine professional and would like the opportunity to taste and review then I suggest contacting him directly (English and French language are fine): [email protected]
Award winning Champagne from Roger Constant Lemaire:
Champagne Roger Constant Lemaire – Vintage Blanc de Blancs 2011:
Tasting notes: “Wonderful soft citrus, butter croissant, golden floral / honeysuckle, apricot on the nose. Tiny bubbles in the glass. The 100% Chardonnay really pleasures your palate with a clever creamy citrus pastry initially that leads fresh yellow stone fruits, great acidity levels and a decent length that edges towards biscuit notes.”
Champagne Roger Constant Lemaire – Vintage 2009:
Tasting notes: “Limited edition production. Once again, we have no malolactic fermentation and instead it is years on lees that relaxes the acidity and brings out a wonderful French patisserie delight of aromas and flavours. Again, tiny bubbles excite you, it’s going to be a magnificent tasting experience. Aromas are a biscuit, apricot, soft ripe peach, touch of prunes. Crisp and dry citrus flavours initially with a good higher level of acidity that mellows to enable the ageing characters to show in yellow stone fruits, pastry and yellow floral notes. 33% Chardonnay / Pinot Noir / Meunier.”
The World’s Finest Glass of Bubbly 2020 – Champagne Roger Constant Lemaire Trianon 1966:
Tasting notes: “Another Champagne to take your time over, giving it a few moments to breathe in your glass will pay you back big time. The world’s finest as chosen by top wine professionals to include Master of Wines and WSET Diploma holders. Fresh yellow fruits on the nose alongside butter croissant, caramel, a touch of white pepper, and lemon curd. Flavours are young yet defined and complex – Decent mouth watering acidity that gives you a punchy, vibrant initial taste though clever enough to mellow quickly to once again show apricot pasty, soft citrus, peach skin, chalky characters. Long lasting flavours in the palate.”
UK Distributor: www.htfwines.co.uk/country/french-wine/champagne.html
USA Distributor: Connect with Billy Starkey in the USA via Facebook here – www.facebook.com/billy.starkey.9
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.