Grower vs. Négotiant Champagne

I had the pleasure of attending a seminar on Grower vs. Négotiant Champagnes…what a treat! Our presenter was Jeff Hacker who works at Binney’s Beverage Depot in Des Plaines, Illinois.  Jeff has been in the industry for over 11 years.  Jeff gave us a look at the world of Champagne while we tasted 6 amazing bottles of bubbles.  Each tasting group – Blanc de Blancs, Blends, and Rosé- consisted of a Négociant and Grower champagne.

Champagne AOC Information/Statistics

Echelle des Crus– Champagne’s grading system- scores are based on grapes, soil, topography, and aspect

17 “Grands Crus” Villages (100% scores) “Premiers Crus” Villages (90-99% scores)

Location: 48th parallel- the northern most point of wine production.

Climate: Oceanic- steady rainfall, minimal seasonal temperature variation- average temperature is 50 degrees

Continental- optimal summer sunlight, prone to winter frosts

Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier = 99.9% of champagne

Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Arbane, Petit Meslier- less than 250 hectares total, may not be replanted, currently may be used in blends

Subregions of Champagne AOC:

Montagne de Reims- northernmost, Pinot Noir

Vallée de la Marne- near Epernay, Pinot Meunier

Côte des Blancs- Chardonnay territory

Côte de Sézanne, Côte de l’Aube, Vallée de la Vesle, Vallée de l’Ardre, AOC Rosé des Riceys

Dosage: Sweetness levels  ** First champagnes were made in a sweeter style than they are today. The measuring scale went from sweet to dry, which is why dry and extra dry are actually sweeter than brut categories! **Dosage is a mixture of sugar and wine added after the 2nd fermentation. **Residual sugar is the sugar remaining in the wine after fermentation.  It is measured in grams per liter. Below is the scale from driest to sweetest.

Brut Nature – 0-3 G/L          Extra Brut – 0-6 G/L           Brut – 0-12 G/L

Extra Dry – 12-17 G/L         Dry – 17-32 G/L         Demi-Sec – 32-50 G/L        Doux – 50+ G/L

Growers vs. Négotiants

Négociant- NM – 300+ Houses                                          Growers -RM – 4500+ Producers

Focus on “house” style/large producers                           Focus on terroir/small producers

Buy grapes in addition to using own                                 Produce only from own vines

Grapes bought from multiple areas                                  Single area expresses terroir

Goal- produce same taste every time,                              Goal- represent the “terroir”

every bottle- style over terroir                                          (land, soil, climate) terroir over style

Champagnes tasted at the seminar consisted of the following:

Blanc de Blancs- 100% Chardonnay

Négociant- Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV  -vivid, racy, my favorite of the night!

Grower- Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut- lovely, expressive

Brut Blends- (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier)

Négociant- Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve

Grower- Louis Nicaise Premier Cru Brut

Rosé- (Still Pinot Noir added or extended maceration)

Négociant- Louis Roederer Brut Rosé

Grower- Henri Billiot Grand Cru Brut Rosé

Champagne Trivia/Facts

49,000,000 bubbles per 750 ML bottle of champagne! 30 bubbles per second emitted

Finer bubbles indicative of high quality champagne/ wider, larger bubbles sign of lesser quality

90psi- a bottle of champagne in under three times as much pressure as the tires on a car

Released at full speed, a cork can exit the bottle at 40mph!  Open slowly , bottle angled at 45 degrees, gently release the pressure, controlled opening prolongs bubble retention

Thank you, Jeff, for an informative, delicious evening!  The worst part of my job is spitting and dumping the wines at a tasting!  Too many superb champagnes…must go back and bring a few home to truly enjoy! Cheers!  Santé!






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Favorite Wine-Food Pairing

I am a foodie…well, maybe a foodie snob!  I have always loved cooking, so pairing wine properly can elevate my dishes to new heights.  When I take the time to create a beautiful meal, I want it to dazzle my family and friends, tickle their taste buds, and leave them with a smile on their face. How about you? What is your favorite wine and food pairing?  Can you limit it to just one? Please share your ultimate combination!

I am interested in either general pairings like…


   (salmon and  Pinot Noir)


or specific pairings…


( fresh shucked Gillardeau oysters with Muscadet -Melon de Bourgogne grape-from Sèvre-et-Maine).

I can’t wait to see what are your ideal wine and food partners!!  Thank you for sharing…cheers!

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Holiday Gifting Made Simple- Boisset Gift Gallery

Need that perfect gift for your top clients, star employees, wine loving friends?  Let Boisset make it easy!  Receive $5.00 shipping on ALL Gift Gallery orders through November 15th!  * shop under gift gallery.  Questions, shoot me a message and I will be happy to assist you in any way.

Posted in #Celebrations, #Corporate Gifts, #Wine, Boisset Collection | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Die Hard” Chicago Sports Fan


This post has absolutely nothing to do with wine, but it shares a bit about me! I have lived in Illinois most of my life. As a young girl I quickly became a “fan” of the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. My grandmother was a BIG Cubs fan. I used to go to her house with my older brother in the summer.  On Ladies’ Day we would take the “L” into Chicago to go to the game.  As I grew up I watched many a game on TV but I hadn’t been back to Wrigley in many years. My husband and I took my Dad, another Cubs/ Bears lifetime fan, to a game against the Brewers back in September.  The day was beautiful, the results not so great…we lost.   Next year we will try to get there more often and hopefully they will win.  We did win the WORLD SERIES 2016 and are on the way to that event this year…just have to get past the Dodgers and their bullpen!  BELIEVE!!!! Go CUBS go!!!

One of my best memories growing up was spending Sunday afternoons watching football on TV with my Dad.  I had never been to an actual game until 2 years ago. Lance Briggs gave my niece tickets and she took me to my 1st live game in Soldier Field!!  Thank you Amber!!! This past week, my youngest brother, his wife, and our dad attended the Monday night Bears-Vikings game.  What a great night!  The pregame activities, the game- even though we lost (am I a jinx?? LOL)- made for another memory to store away.  My husband and I will be heading back to Soldier Field in November with our good friends to watch the Bears play the Packers.  We typically “tailgate” in their garage to watch them play- Cindy is the only Packers fan- but this years we decided to actually attend the game.  Can’t wait.  Hoping for a Bears victory!!!  Bear Down!!!!



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Wildfires Strike Again

As the California wildfires are becoming more contained, news of another wine industry tragedy is happening in Spain and Portugal.  Please read from the CNN link below.  My heart goes out to those affected…praying for you and hoping for the best very soon.

Portugal and Spain wildfires kill at least 39 people – CNN –

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Boisset Collection- 2016 “Honoris” Cabernet Sauvignon

Boisset Collection will be donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the 2016 Honoris Cabernet Sauvignon to “WINE COUNTRY RELIEF”.

“A Wine that Honors our Community and First Responders. One hundred percent of proceeds will go to wine country relief. A joint effort of Winemakers Brian Maloney and Stephanie Putnam, Honoris is a 2016 Napa Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon that represents the 2016 vintage majestically … An elegant and refined Cabernet for your cellar, and a way to share your commitment and contribution to the wine country.

The word “Honoris” in Latin means to honor and be honored; therefore, we honor all the people that are contributing to the relief efforts in the wake of this tragedy, and we have the honor of helping all those in need…

Only 3600 bottles of this wine were made. If your desire is to help, we are asking you today to purchase this wine, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Napa Community Fund, Sonoma Resilience Fund and Bay Area Firefighters and Families . Our goal is to sell out this wine entirely this week so that we can donate the money now to help others who need it immediately…it will be over $150,000! These three organizations ensure our efforts remain local, have an immediate impact, and reach the communities and the first responders that have been affected by this tragedy directly.”

(Boisset Wine Living website description)

This wine will be shipped in early December.

To place your order and support the much needed relief efforts of rebuilding , please visit my website:

Any and all orders will help! You may also contact me via email-

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Tragedy in the Wine Industry



The devastating wildfires in California continue to burn and Mother Nature isn’t helping.  Winds are can, and are expected, to increase and this will make the job of the firefighters even more challenging.  The loss of lives, homes, businesses, wineries, and vineyards is staggering. My heart goes out to all who are suffering. May the fires be contained quickly so the healing can begin.


I recently read an excellent article, written by Elin McCoy, that describes what has been happening in major wine producing countries in Europe and in California. Frosts, hailstorms, extreme heat, and now fires… Mother Nature hasn’t been very kind. (See below for the link.) This article was written in September, before these horrific fires.


Until the fires are extinguished completely, the full impact they will have  remains unknown. The wine industry will be changed forever!  This is a life changing event that will be extremely tough to cope and deal with, but I am hopeful the spirit of the people will prevail. The winemakers I have met are passionate about what they do…their drive, their love for their profession is in their blood.  Their eyes light up when they are speaking about their vines, the grapes, the wines…I pray they find the strength and support to rebuild. Support can come in many ways, from many avenues…I hope much will be given to those in need.


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