At the APVSA, Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America, tasting in Washington DC in January, I had the opportunity to learn about Champagne Froment Griffan. Marie Froment was at the tasting and answered some questions via email. Marie along with her husband Mathias own the champagne house. Marie wrote, “Our Champagnes are not imported in the US for the moment, but we think they can match well with this market, that’s why we are doing the tastings with the APVSA.”
Marie mentioned the couple’s family history in wine, “The Champagne FROMENT GRIFFON is a familial Champagne House, coming from my husband Mathias’ family. I, Marie, am coming from the Loire Valley. From Saumur, my family was also in the wine industry. They were the owners of Gratien & Meyer in Saumur, and also Champagne Alfred Gratien in Epernay. Mathias and I met each other in Burgundy (Dijon) while doing our oenology studies. We are both oenologists. We are running the familial Domain together since more than 15 years.
“The Champagne House FROMENT GRIFFON is situated in Sermiers, one of the last villages to be classified as Premier Cru. Our family has been working our vineyard since 4 generations at least. It covers 4 famous crus of the Montagne de Reims, where the Pinot Meunier fully reveals its qualities. The Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay bring power and elegance in their turn and participate in the richness and the aromatic complexity of our Champagnes. Our Terroir is quite specific and diversified, made of silt, clay and chalk. Because the chalk is very present, but in- depth, the Chardonnays are getting a fruitier style (pear, cherry plum flavours), with still some minerality.
“Being aware of our relation to Nature, we are involved in a sustainable viticulture and we implement alternative methods, to minimize our environmental impact, while looking for a harvest of optimal quality.”
Marie also spoke about the uniqueness of their champagnes. “We also keep our champagnes “on lees” longer than the time required normally in Champagne (up to 3 years for the non-vintages, and 5 years and more for the vintages ones for us), because we find that it gives more complexity to the wines, and finer bubbles.
“We are always looking for a good freshness, balance and purity in our blends, that’s why we work on partial malolactic fermentations on some of our wines.”
During the APVSA tasting, I tasted four champagnes. The Tradition was a blend of Pinot Meunier with lesser amounts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wine had a yellow color and there were multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a total surface mousse. Yellow stone fruits were noticed on the aroma and taste along with notes of freshly baked bread. The mouthfeel was smooth. The champagne dosage was 9 g/L and the wine spent 24 to 30 months aging. The wine matches with seafood and as an aperitif.
The Rosé was a blend of 50% Chardonnay and equal amounts of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The dosage was 9 g/L and was aged for 24 to 36 months. The wine had a reddish orange color and there were multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center mousse on the surface. The champagne had a creamy mouthfeel and berry fruits yielding to some minerality. The finish was crisp. This is a nice sparkling wine to have as an aperitif especially for Valentine’s Day.
The Privilège was mostly Chardonnay, 70% with Pinot Noir 30%. It had a light yellow color, aged for five years and had a dosage of 7 g/L. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed both a center and circumference mousse. Apple, citrus and freshly baked bread were predominant on the aroma and taste. The mouthfeel was creamy. The finish was crisp with fruit yielding to mineral. This champagne would be suitable as an aperitif, with seafood and white meats.
The Sélection was a blend of equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, 40%, and Pinot Meunier, 20%. The dosage was 9 g/L and the wine was aged for 36 months. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a center mouse on the champagne’s surface. The light yellow colored wine offered berry fruits and mineral notes. The crisp finish makes this champagnes ideal to match seafood. It would also be an excellent aperitif for special occasions.
I enjoyed the four champagne selections by Champagne Froment Griffan and agree with Marie that these champagnes would be perfect for the American market.