What is “Special Club” Champagne?

The Special Club, or Club Trésors de Champagne, was originally founded in 1971 by 12 of the oldest families of the Champagne region. Since then, the club has grown to include 29 producers committed to excellence in all aspects of production. This exclusive membership is only open to Recoltant Manipulants (a French designation for a producer of grower Champagne). Champagnes must be produced, bottled and aged at the member’s estate. The Special Club Champagnes represent the tête de cuvée (a premier bottling often carrying a vintage date) selection for each member.

Special Club Champagnes are only made in outstanding vintages from grapes harvested from member’s own vineyards. Each producer must submit his wine to two blind tastings panels of esteemed oenologists and wine professionals. The still wines (vins clairs) are tasted first and if approved may be bottled in the uniquely-shaped Special Club bottle before undergoing secondary fermentation. After a minimum of three years aging on lees, the wines are tasted again for final approval.

In essence, the purpose of the club is to showcase the terroirs of Champagne. Every bottle is assured to be excellent, but they will vary in flavor as a result of the specific place and time the Champagne was produced.

Fat Cork is proud to be the exclusive importer and retailer of Special Club Champagnes from two different producers Hervieux-Dumez & Grongnet.

Millésime 2008 – Our New Favorite Vintage

Millésime (Vintage):

Unique among Champagnes, Vintage Champagne is produced solely from grapes harvested in a single year and only in exceptional vintages. Aging requirements increase and producers must age these wines for a minimum of three years prior to release—many will age considerably longer. At Fat Cork, some of our producers choose to age as much as twenty years by disgorging upon demand. The finished wines are rich and complex but still retain a freshness that belies their actual age.

The 2008 Vintage at a glance:

In the Champagne region, perfectly ripened grapes are never a guarantee. Weather, and as a result, vintage varies greatly from year to year. The 2008 vintage got off to a rocky start with a cool, damp spring. Summer weather rebounded and the exceptional harvest conditions in September resulted in grapes with wonderful acidity and perfect ripeness.

In our recent tastings, we were impressed by the abundance of fruit and acidity that the wines possessed. The charm of this vintage is twofold as the acidity and structure allow for long-term cellaring but the abundance of fruit means it can be readily enjoyed now.

 

The 2008 Collection

Millésime 2008 – Our New Favorite Vintage
Grongnet Special Club Millésime 2008 ($84) In your glass, the color of this vintage beauty is straw with a tinge of yellow. The aromas and flavors are bright with yellow apple, lime, lemon curd and white pineapple – a lively expression of fruit and acidity. The finish is beautiful, mouthwatering, lasts for what seems like months and leaves you wanting more.

Millésime 2008 – Our New Favorite Vintage
Pascal Redon Millésime 2008 Premier Cru ($64) This wine reflects the generosity of the 2008 vintage. The color is a pale yellow with a slight coppery tone. Aromas of ripe red apple, Bosc pear, citrus and chalk nearly leap from the glass. This wine will not be ignored! The delightful finish leaves a lasting impression of lemon and lime balanced by refreshing acidity.

Millésime 2008 – Our New Favorite Vintage
Hervieux Dumez Special Club Millésime 2008 ($78) The first thing you notice is the near brilliant color reflecting straw and streaks of green. As Bryan brought the glass to his nose he remarked “it smells like Champagne!” Funny, we know, but it isn’t always that way. Aromas of chalk, citrus, apple skin and cherry stone fill the senses. On the palate the flavors are full and rich with the addition of ripe yellow apple and hazelnut, highlighted by a creamy texture. The finish is bright with acidity, so fresh and so clean.