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Champagne Brands - The Real Way To Discover Amazing Small Brands - Part 1

Jiles Halling,
UK’s leading Champagne host

Over the past year or two there's been a real surge in interest in the small, independent champagne makers.

That’s terrific.

There’s so much more to champagne than the handful of international brands that you find all over the world and if you can tear yourself away from these giant brands there are are some amazing champagnes to discover...

If you only know where to look.

And that’s the thing. Those big brands are everywhere and they're so reassuring aren’t they?

You feel that if you know the name, the champagne must be good.

It’s all too easy to just grab the old familiar label and go with it again and again:

The Moëts, the Taittingers,the Veuves etc. etc.

Sure, you’d just love to try those small champagne everyone’s talking about, but where do you look and what do you look for?

Well if this describes you then you’re in luck because in the next two blog posts I going to be giving you a few tips and pointers that will help you make a start on your journey of discovery and once you’ve started I’m sure you won’t look back.

But first I have some bad news:

Lots of writers on champagne are making out that it’s easy to find those amazing small brands. You can’t go wrong, or so they would have you believe.

What is this ‘magic bullet’ solution?

Well, each champagne maker has a registration code that must be shown on the label. It’s a string of numbers preceeded by two letters.

If those two letters are RM that means that the maker uses only grapes from his own vineyards to make his champagne and that means small, boutique-style production.

According to some writers on the subject that’s all you need to know. Just look for the letters RM., they say, and that will guide you unerringly to great quality and just the taste you are looking for.

Simple then, isn’t it? Get your reading glassses out, find the RM code and buy, buy, buy.

Hold on a minute.....

What these guys don’t tell you is that there are almost 5,000 champagne makers out there and that almost all of them are classified as RM, so that doesn’t exactly narrow the field much does it?

For another thing, several of the great little champagne makers aren’t classified as RM

Take a look at this picture for example.

A super Blanc de Blancs champagne from a smallish house called Legras & Haas.

Ever heard of it?

Probably not.

Is it a small producer?


Is it an RM ?

NO . Look at the bottom of the label and you’ll see it’s classified as an NM, meaning that they buy grapes from other people as well as using their own grapes.

So if you followed the advocates of ‘RM only’ you’d miss out entirely.

Just looking for the letters RM is a start, but it doesn’t get you all that far and it may take you down the wrong path altogether.

Fortunately, wherever there’s bad news, there’s good news too and help is at hand.

For a start, here’s where you can discover more about what the various champagne producer codes mean

Second, there are some clues you can find on the label of the RM producers that will help you decide about which ones you're likely to enjoy and which ones may not be to your taste.

I’ll be writing about these in my next post, so do come back soon and to make sure you don't miss these useful tips that no one seems to have picked up on, just click now on the orange 'Subscribe' button that you'll find in the right hand border of this blog page.

Stay Bubbly.


If you're champagne-lover, perhaps you’d like to learn a little more about it and discover some champagnes you’ve never tried before instead of stcking with just a few brands whose names you know?
If that sounds good to you then our new champagne club is just the thing for you. Find out more here: champagne club

For an update of Jiles last publications: read more …..

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