Grower Champagne Club – January 2011

2004 A. Margaine, Special Club
Margaine is a tiny estate of only about six hectares, located in the town of Villers-Marmery, at the far-eastern end of the Montagne de Reims. The village is somewhat of an anomaly in that Chardonnay is the predominate grape here, in a region that focuses much more on Pinot Noir and, to a lesser degree, Pinot Meunier. Arnaud Margaine, who produces only around 4,000 cases a year, grows 90% Chardonnay, with only 10% of his estate planted to Pinot Noir. And if that weren’t anomaly enough, his Chardonnay comes from a unique clone, not planted elsewhere in Champagne, so his wines are truly unique. But it is by no means simply this singularity that sets him apart. Of Margaine’s Champagnes, importer Terry Theise says, “These are some of the most hauntingly beautiful and original Champagnes you can ever drink… Simply the most delicious Champagnes in this portfolio.” Margaine’s Champagnes are fuller bodied than the Chardonnay-based wines of the Côte des Blancs. Beautiful on the nose and rich and elegant on the palate, they are just about as pretty as Chardonnay can be. The 2004 Special Club (for more on Special Club selection, see last month’s notes) is classic Margaine: with gorgeous depth and complexity that is beautiful now, but will also develop more with age. It is $72 and there is little or none left with the distributor, so enjoy.

Fun fact: Veuve Clicquot owns a number of vineyards around here, but of course, they blend it with fruit from everywhere else for their “house style.” Of which they produce, according to some reports (they’re rather guarded about it), around 1 million cases a year.