Chigny-Les-Roses is a small village located 16km’s south of Reims, Champagne. Despite its size, Chigny-Les-Roses still manages to have a few notable champagne houses which includes Dumangin, Lassalle and (throwing its youngish elbows about) Cattier.
Founded as a house proper in 1918 (prior to that the family were long running grape growers), the business is still very much a family affair with President, Director General and Chef De Cave (Chief Wine Maker) responsibilities being performed by Alexandre Cattier. The house is quite well known for some non-traditional bottle colours and gift boxes, but its premium plonk brand Armand de Brignac has by a clear margin got the most insanely gaudy (and expensive) bottles, putting the show back into champagne – an attitude that carries over to in its marketing.
But is the element of showiness meaningful if it is without substance at the fundamentals?
Here we look at the standard fare. The NV Brut Premier Cru bottle is by no means fancy – the gold and white coming off as somewhat boring – but the hope is that the contents surpass appearances.
Cattier is a négociant manipulant (Grows & buys grapes – sells in its own name) operation. The house owns about 34 hectares (Think, 42 football fields) of vineyards, the rest of its grape supply it buys. It is also listed as one of the Grande Marques & Maisons (Grand Brands & Houses) of Champagne – prestigious
While not as well known in the public eye as other brands, it’s out and about; fairly easy to obtain and well in the cheaper scale for NV Bruts – especially on sale where it muscles in on the generic champagne brands. The vintage version (2007) offering good value at around $50 per bottle which is in the ball park of some better known NV drops.
From: Chigny-Les-Roses, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: $40 a bottle available from 1st Choice/LiquorLand/Vintage Cellars
Blend Ratio: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier:(75/25/0)
Aging: 2.5 Years
Sipped: Late June 2016
In The Glass:
Look: Cattier graces the glassware with a pale golden hue.
Smell: Nostrils full of sweetness. A bit of a red and green apple combo.
Taste: The bubbles on the first pour are large and plentiful. These give the first sip a good pillow that livens up into strong, sweet, zesty citric flavours with a hint of sour apple and passionfruit characters thrown in.
These sensations become dry quite quickly and evenly across your tongue and the flavour swings to lemon rind and the tartest of green apples. It’s quite lively. The Cattier does ramp up some biting acid sensations, but they aren’t excessive – placing the burn smack in the middle of your tongue. This is short lived and allows you to reload again (or take on food) promptly.
Notes: The regal white and gold (and textured) labelling says this wine would sit well with white meat. Oyster canapes anyone?
Party Potential: Cattier makes decent standard party fare if you are doing a host and supply and want to operate in a moderate budget – but buy on sale (it’s been as low as $30 for a single bottle). I think for the money ($40 at full price) there are better options for BYO, but on sale – it drives a hard bargain and is hard to look past as genuine, non-generic champagne.
As a Gift: Cattier makes a nice little informal gift on a tight budget. It’s a bit boring looking but the lucky recipient should be able to enjoy it in good time. I would gift it to a friend for small congratulations.
At Home: Use for a decent sized, informal gathering of good friends – because you can afford more than one bottle at the price. Hit it up before the barbie on the balcony as the sun sets, or on a picnic rug in the middle of the park when it’s sunny and life goes on around you.
Makes a decent Friday night lifter for dinner at home with the partner.
Matching: This Cattier champagne does a decent job on its own – zesty and enjoyable, but I think the best potential for a good experience is a pairing with matching food, notably salty items.
Score & Verdict:
So it’s not as classy as its sibling with the snappy dress sense. But with a lively, fruity nature and a penchant not attacking your bank account in order to spend time with you, this is one quality experience. You may want to casually hang out more often, especially for a meal.
At $40 I feel it is good value for the quality
How did I drink it? This was a Friday night special (see “at home” recommendation) after a hectic week of work. And mostly just because I wanted to!
How did you drink it? And how did you find it? Let me know!
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