Every year since inception we’ve offered this pre-New Year’s Eve tasting of all of our champagnes to help you make sure the bottle you uncork at midnight is perfectly suited to your taste. And once again, every single champagne is a grower champagne meaning that the grapes were raised, harvested and vinified by grower instead of being sold off to a big champagne house or negociant. We are proud to say we’ve always been ahead of the curve on this one – just this month the NY Times and Wall Street Journal crowed about the value present in grower champagnes. As The Times has said in the past, ‘because the growers don’t have the huge marketing budgets that the grand marques do, their Champagne is often less expensive. Champagne from a grower in a top-rated grand cru village can be an especially good deal’. Our translation: your money is in the bottle, not in the pages of Vogue or on the side of a bus.
Champagnes to be poured:
Henri Goutorbe Champagne Special Club 2002 $90.00
A real New Year’s Treat! The ‘Club de Viticulteurs Champenois’ began in 1971 as a way for the smaller growers to join forces in order to market their wines. With over a dozen different producers working together they felt they could more easily compete with the larger Champagne houses. They created the ‘Special Club’ bottling with the idea that it would always be the best of what each producer had to offer and would always be presented in the same oddly shaped bottle. Henri Goutorbe is one of the leading vine-nurserymen in Champagne and the owner of Hotel Castel Jeanson in Ay, along with being one of the great small growers. The Special Club has malic, yeasty and sorrel aromas and shows great length. 2002 is a stellar vintage.
Chartogne-Taillet Rose, NV $59.00
Our only rose champagne, it is not only fun to drink, the pleasing pink color makes it festive in the glass. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes provide the base to which Pinot Noir still wine is added to give color. It blossoms with aromas of strawberries, and, believe it or not, prosciutto and can stand up to more assertive foods than our other champagnes.
Henri Goutorbe “Cuvee Prestige”, NV $45.00
This non-vintage version from the great Henri Goutorbe was best value in the WSJ this month. The wine, packed with red cherry fruit, is bright, generous and has an amazing long finish.
Jean Velut Champagne Brut Tradition NV $39.50
30 years ago Denis Velut’s grandfather Jean established this domain in the Cote des Bars as a recoltant/manipulant (small grower) following a venerable history of supplying grande marque houses further north. Montgueux is the village where Denis and Anne Velut’s 7 hectares of vines reside and surprisingly in the context of the larger region, this is an area planted to roughly 85% Chardonnay due to the phenomenon of it being highly concentrated in calcaire soil. Half of the grapes grown here are still sold to negociant houses and it seems as though this is the perfect economical balance allowing Denis the leeway to carefully craft the very best wines that he can. Just 3000 cases are produced here each year. Structure is provided by the steely austerity of the chalk infused chardonnay while the ripe Pinot provides a fruity lift.