Show 152, December 26, 2015: Kyle Meyer, Co-Founder, The Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIt’s that celebratory time of year when our thoughts turn to Champagne. Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, is with us to pop the cork on “Grower Champagne.” It’s a delightful passion at Wine Exchange.

“This has been a passion of ours for probably a decade. We love all kinds of Champagne. But the majority of the Champagne produced comes from large, almost industrial producers who make ‘mass quantities’. The secret to the ‘big boys’ success? Marketing and consistency. The marketing part is simply awareness…the art of making people believe that one’s particular bubbly is the best and most prestigious. Usually that also involves heavy promotions, ‘boots on the ground’ out in the marketplace, ice buckets, and heavy discounts to high profile restaurants and clubs. All of these things fall on the ‘brand awareness’ side.”

“The beauty of grower Champagne is the fact that these individual artisan producers can be a lot more ‘individualistic’. They are not concerned with selling millions of cases to the public at large. The grapes for these individual cuvees come from a single village or cluster of villages that have their own unique character by virtue of their locations. This is the element of terroir, which is kind of like a ‘bonus’ or extra something that you won’t necessarily find in the large house cross regional blends.”

Kyle also has some thoughts on good selections for California Sparkling Wine. Think Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley and Schramsberg Vineyards, Calistoga.