Ok, the Jean-Jacques Lamoureux Cuvee Reserve Brut Champagne is not a wine that you would typically see in the pages of CheapWineFinder.com. We write about value priced wines and can a AOC Champagne Bubbly be considered a value wine? We think so. The Jean-Jacques Lamoureux Cuvee Reserve Brut Champagne is a Grower/Producer Champagne (RM on the label), and that means they grow the grapes in their own vineyards and produce the Bubbly in their own winery. That might be what you thought the big name Champagne houses did, but they don’t. The famous brand Champagnes account for almost 97% of the Champagne sales in the US, but the big brands own only 12% of the vineyards. There are 15,000 growers in Champagne, with 5,000 holding large enough vineyards to produce their own Bubbly, but only around 150 of those wines are available in the US. The bulk of the grapes you find in the famous Champagne brands is grown and often crushed by somebody else, usually a whole bunch of somebody else’s. The Grower/Producer Champagne is artesian Bubbly, using only the best grapes they grow (they sell the ones they do not use to the famous brands) and since they do not have the huge advertising budgets and high-powered PR firms like the big guys, are often priced well below the Big Name Champagne.
The Lamoureux Cuvee Reserve Brut is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from their Estate vineyard near the town of Les Riceys. The Lamoureux family has grown grapes in Champagne since 1947 and the son and the grandson of the founder are the current wine makers. The Pinot Noir used in this Cuvee is sourced from 4 harvests, 60% from 2011 and the remaining 40% are from 2010, 2009 and 2007. This Bubbly is aged for 2 years before riddling and disgorging, the 2nd fermentation occurs inside each and every bottle, so this technique removes the dead yeast and dried gunk (technical term), from the bottle, before the final cork and cage is added. The alcohol content is 12%.
The color is golden-yellow, with swarms of very fine bubbles. The nose is delicate, lemon/lime, dried apricots and yeasty bread. This is a layered and complex wine, with crisp and extremely balanced acidity. It tastes of green apple, citrus, crusty bread, take another sip and different tastes and textures are revealed. There is plenty of body and structure, the flavors go on and on.
There isn’t anything wrong with the big name Champagne brands, they make fabulous Bubbly and it can be difficult to find a shop that sells something other than the Big Boys. It is just that it is fairly rare to find a artesian, hand-made product, that is the equal, if not better than the Conglomerates, that actually sells for less money. So, maybe Grower/Producer Champagne is the value choice.