Non Vintage Domaine Lancelot-Royer Sparkling Champagne
From a tiny domaine in the Grand Cru village of Crámant comes this effusive, concentrated, Chardonnay-based Champagne that will *pants* just about any better-known supermarket, big-box label that you pour next to it. Lemon custard, white chocolate, thyme, butter, and minerals seal the deal.
It may be because this is an infinitesimally small house, making less than 2,000 cases of wine a year. Most of owner Michel Chauvet's crop is sold off to larger houses, and he keeps the best of his fruit for his own wines, which are made exactly as they were in the early 20th century: hand-bottled, hand-riddled, and hand-dosed. Dosage is typically around 9 grams per liter, which makes these rich and effusive Champagnes, not lean and steely.
Lancelot is a grower. That means there is an RM, for Récoltant-Manipulant, on the label. Increasingly a lot of small négociants - who mostly buy fruit - have been calling themselves "growers" lately because it's fashionable. But there it is, right there in the lower right on the label, in the smallest possible font: NM, for Négociant-Manipulant. Growers simply have more control over which fruit makes it into their fermenter than a négoce. Also: grapes are sold to négociant houses by the kilogram, so there's little incentive to restrain crop yields for better quality. It's just a fact. Let the bow-tie set chase the names. You've got a truly rare and great vintage grower Champagne right in your hands.