Oxidative Vs Reductive Champagne producers

Hey all! I have more and more clients asking me about different Champagne producers and how they fall into camps of reductive vs oxidative wine making. I know the wines that I have on my shelf, but the problem is that I can't taste every champagne in the world, and most of the literature out there all mention the same few producers as examples to hold up the style (e.g. Ruinart vs Krug). I was wondering if I could lean on the guild somm community to help me fill out a more comprehensive guide to how most of Champagnes top producers fit onto the oxidative-reductive spectrum.   

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  • I can't give you a full list but a few others that I would typically consider reductive in their approach to wine making are Taittinger, Salon, Billecart Salmon, Gimonnet, Pierre Peters and Dom Perignon. I would put Roederer, Cliquot and Pol Roger as middle of the road with Charles Heidsieck further along the spectrum due to a high proportion of reserve wines. Krug is interesting as they use old oak—which gives it a certain oxidative component—but the wine is then kept quite reductive; Vilmart has some similar qualities. Bollinger is more towards the oxidative spectrum and sometimes too much so for me in the past, but they have improved things in recent years and I would now consider it style and not a flaw.

    Beyond the non-exact generalization of an oxidative-reductive spectrum in wine making, there are a host of wines (often small growers) that I would consider oxidized and go beyond the point of style for me personally. These Champagnes might show elevated VA or even a Sherry-like character. You might get a better read on these producers from Peter Liem's excellent book as he has more of an interest and appreciation for these style than I do.

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