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A négociant is a common French wine term often misunderstood by the rest of the world.
When perusing French wine, it’s helpful to understand the definition of a négociant in order to associate quality and value with your potential purchase.
Négociants, (like the word), negotiate with outside sources, such as small farmers for grapes. They are essentially merchants that purchase grapes, juice or bulk wine from farmers. The grapes are then produced into wine, bottled and marketed under the label of the négociant. Originating in France, négociants can now be found in both old and new world wine regions.
The concept surrounding French wine négociants was born in Burgundy. The role of the négociant arose from two essential needs in the wine industry:
1) Grape quality control
2) To bridge a gap between grape producers/vineyard owners and buyers.
The earliest négociant dates back to the establishment of La Maison Beyerman in 1620. By the early 1700’s, several new companies began to operate around France; many of which still operate to this day. Négociants such as Schröder and Schÿler and Thomas Barton have over 350 years of experience in the business. Powerhouse names, Louis Jadot and Jean-Claude Boisset are dominating today’s domestic and international markets. Over the years, these négociant brands have worked hard to create and obtain a positive reputation for quality, distinct taste and expression of place (terroir). Other Old World négociants also include Joseph Drouhin and Louis Latour (a négociant-éléveur).
NÉGOCIANTS VS. GROWERS
For decades, négociants were considered the lesser group compared to their counterparts, the growers. Grower champagne, has always been praised for single vineyard bubble production. However, the image surrounding négociants as the underclassman of the growers has changed with modern times. Négociants are able to offer characteristic taste of a specific region and its grapes, without the expenses surrounding more sought-after estate wines. They also have an advantage over other groups because they have a significant amount of room to be fussy over grape quality and selection. Négociants sit with some of the best quality juice at the best price. They are able to offer consumers top terroir driven wines at an affordable cost.
Louis Jadot is a prime example of a négociant sourcing the best grapes with some of the best resulting wines on market. Click here to view the Louis Jadot lineup available on Port2Port.
NEW WORLD NÉGOCIANTS
International ‘négociants’ are now found in every wine producing region around the world. Here in South Africa, producers such as Dalla Cia, The High Road, GM & Ahrens as well as Richard Hilton Vineyards are new world négociants producing amazing, affordable, unique and terroir driven wines.
There are so many benefits to buying négociant wine: quality, affordability and expression are just a few of the reasons to delve in. Browse Port2Port’s vast selection of local and international négociant wines and get stuck in!
Cheers for now,