Technically, the Special Club consists of 26 champagne producers (see image at left – not sure which one’s missing, but it made for a symmetrical photo)
But I expand that definition to include the lucky few, such as you, who consider themselves devotees of fine champagne. You must be, or you wouldn’t be reading this.
And though only the producers have rigorous entry requirements, the buyers of their champagnes make up an equally small percentage of champagne drinkers. This is not by chance, it’s due to the limited supply of Special Club champagnes. Are Special Club champagnes for you? Well, let’s see… First, you must be relatively well heeled (average price of a Special Club champagne is $50 – $100).
And you also love a bargain – your price will double were you to choose a Grande Marques champagne from one of the big houses (who buy grapes from these same growers).
But the reason to purchase one of these special wines goes far beyond price. You must also appreciate the unique nature of a champagne driven by characteristic of place. That is, each one will reflect the uniqueness of the producer’s region and vineyard. This is fairly antithetical to the usual strategy in Champagne, which dictates that a house style be achieved with every bottling. The art of blending has made the house style possible, but it also means the individual bottlings may not achieve their highest possible expression, were sufficient quantities of grapes available. The special club’s limited production eliminates this issue. This is a wine for the true wine lover.
- The Club was created in 1971
- All 26 members must be Grower-Producers (Récoltant-Manipulants).
- Their goal is to promote the expression of the terroir in their unique regions.
- The Special Club bottling represents each member’s best offering. Wines are not submitted if the grower feels they are not up to standard in a given year.
- Club wines must be aged in bottle for at least 3 years.
- Members serve as a “jury of peers”, ensuring that every Special Club bottle sold is of exceptional quality. This is a high standard to surpass, as each wine represents the club’s judgment and taste. Only exceptional wines are allowed to be labeled.
- The Special Club is also known as Club Trésors de Champagne (Treasures of Champagne)
- The wines are all put in the same unique bottle, regardless of producer, but each wine maker gets to put their own label on the bottle.
- The wines all taste different because they come from different villages/grape blends.
- But each one is deemed to be extraordinary!
Dave “the Wine Merchant”