Popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne can make an occasion extra-special.
The reputation of real Champagne comes largely from the industry standard that requires the Champagne to be very consistent from one year to the next – unlike ordinary red and white wines, which can be very different from year to year.
Making Champagne at the big houses of famous names comes down to two or three sets of taste buds in the heads of the wine team.
So, when you order a glass of Laurent-Perrier, Piper-Heidsick, or Mumm, each will have a character and style that reflects the house itself, and if they do their jobs right, it will also be same every year.
But on a visit to France some years ago, Hour Detroit's chief wine and restaurant critic Chris Cook discovered a winemaker who is, shall we say, "coloring outside the lines."
He joined us today to talk about how these "boutique" Champagne makers do it differently: