Exploring the Taste Gap: Comparing Grower Champagne and Grandes Marques

Welcome to our latest blog post, where we embark on a delightful journey delving into the world of champagne. In this article, we will be exploring the fascinating concept of the “Taste Gap” and highlighting the differences between two renowned categories: Grower Champagne and Grandes Marques. Prepare to have your taste buds tantalized as we uncover the nuances and distinct characteristics that make each of these champagnes a unique experience for wine enthusiasts. Whether you are a curious connoisseur or simply a champagne enthusiast, join us as we delve into the realm of flavors and discover the remarkable diversity within the world of champagne.

Exploring the Taste Gap: Comparing Grower Champagne and Grandes Marques


Champagne, the sparkling wine synonymous with celebrations and luxury, has seen a growing interest in recent years. More and more wine enthusiasts are looking beyond the big brands and exploring the world of grower champagnes from small independent vineyards. But what sets these grower champagnes apart from the grandes marques? In this article, we will delve into the flavors, production methods, and overall experience of both types of champagnes, highlighting the taste gap that exists between them.

Differentiating between Grower Champagnes and Big Brands

One of the key distinctions between grower champagnes and big brands lies in the sourcing of grapes. Grower champagnes, as the name suggests, are produced by growers who own and cultivate their vineyards. These dedicated vintners carefully nurture their vines, ensuring high-quality grapes that translate into unique and expressive champagnes. On the other hand, big brands generally purchase grapes from various vineyards, focusing more on consistent flavor profiles across their range of wines.

Understanding RM and NM on the Label

A useful indicator to distinguish between grower champagnes and big brands is to look for specific labels on the bottle. “RM” stands for Récoltant Manipulant, which signifies that the champagne is produced by the grower from grapes sourced from their own vineyards. On the other hand, “NM” stands for Négociant Manipulant, indicating that the champagne is produced by a big brand that buys grapes from different vineyards.

Exploring the Flavors: Grower Champagnes vs. Big Brands

Both grower champagnes and big brands have their distinct appeal when it comes to flavors. Big brands, with their vast resources, often produce exciting and well-crafted wines that consistently please a wide range of palates. These champagnes showcase elegance, finesse, and expert blending techniques.

On the contrary, grower champagnes offer something more interesting and unique. These smaller producers focus on bringing out the terroir-driven characteristics of their vineyards. This often results in champagnes that display a sense of place, showcasing flavors and nuances specific to the vineyard and the surrounding environment.

Blind Tasting and Rating Four Champagnes

To further understand the taste gap between grower champagnes and big brands, we conducted a blind tasting and rating of four different champagnes. The aim was to identify the distinctive characteristics and preferences in terms of flavor profiles.

Champagne 1: Well-rounded and Balanced

The first champagne in our tasting displayed a well-rounded and balanced profile. Its flavors were harmonious, showcasing finesse and sophistication. Given its balanced nature, it was likely to be a creation of a big brand, which excels in creating consistently refined champagnes.

Champagne 2: Wilder and Intense Flavors

The second champagne surprised us with wilder and intense flavors. The wine exhibited a sense of adventure and complexity, with notes of exotic fruits and spices. This bold and distinctive profile indicated that it was likely a grower champagne, crafted with a hands-on approach by a passionate vigneron.

Champagne 3: Fruit-driven and Easygoing

Champagne number three impressed us with its fruit-driven and easygoing character. It was approachable and enjoyable, with vibrant flavors of ripe fruits and a hint of floral notes. This champagne’s lively and expressive nature indicated that it was likely produced by a grower, highlighting the individuality and personality of the vineyard.

Champagne 4: Intense and Opulent

The final champagne in our blind tasting stood out with its intense and opulent characteristics. Rich and full-bodied, this wine captivated our senses with an abundance of flavors and a long, lingering finish. Given its opulence, it was unlikely to be a grower champagne, as their focus lies more on showcasing elegance and delicate nuances.

Revealing the Identities of the Champagnes

After our blind tasting, we revealed the identities of the champagnes to validate our assumptions. Champagne 1 turned out to be a renowned grande marque, exemplifying the consistency and finesse that they are known for. Champagne 2 and 3 were indeed grower champagnes, their flavors reflecting the handcrafted and terroir-driven approach of the producers. Lastly, Champagne 4 belonged to another well-established big brand, embodying the richness and intensity that they strive to achieve.

Overall Preference for Grower Champagnes

While all four champagnes had their unique qualities, our tasting experience and preferences leaned towards the grower champagnes. The deeper flavors, distinct profiles, and individuality displayed by these champagnes made for a more captivating and memorable experience. The taste gap between grower champagnes and grandes marques became evident, with the former offering a more intimate connection to the land and an exploration of diverse flavors.


In conclusion, as the interest in champagne continues to grow, exploring the taste gap between grower champagnes and grandes marques becomes an exciting journey for wine enthusiasts. The small independent vineyards producing grower champagnes bring forth unique flavors directly influenced by their terroir, while big brands offer consistency and elegance across their range. Ultimately, the preference for grower champagnes depends on one’s inclination towards exploring intriguing and individualistic flavors or appreciating the refined and consistent offerings of the grandes marques.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What is grower champagne?
    Grower champagne refers to champagne produced by growers who own and cultivate their vineyards. These dedicated vintners focus on expressing the terroir-driven characteristics of their vineyards, resulting in unique and interesting champagnes.

  2. How can I differentiate between grower champagnes and big brands?
    Look for the labels on the bottle. “RM” stands for Récoltant Manipulant, indicating a grower champagne, while “NM” stands for Négociant Manipulant, indicating a champagne from a big brand.

  3. Are grower champagnes better than those from big brands?
    The preference for grower champagnes versus big brands is subjective and depends on individual tastes. Grower champagnes often display more unique flavors and a sense of place, while big brands offer consistent and refined champagnes.

  4. What are some characteristics of grower champagnes?
    Grower champagnes tend to have flavors that are influenced by the specific vineyard and surrounding environment. They often showcase individuality, complexity, and a hands-on approach by passionate vintners.

  5. Do all big brands produce exciting champagnes?
    Yes, big brands with their vast resources and expertise in champagne production often craft exciting and well-crafted wines. They focus on creating consistent flavor profiles that appeal to a wide range of palates.