Grower Champagne Club – July 2011

2004 Domaine José Michel et Fils, Special Club
Domaine José Michel is one of the oldest winegrowing families in the town of Moussy, just south of Epernay. Their 21 hectares of vineyards lie in three villages along the Côtes d’Epernay, planted to 45% Pinot Meunier, 45% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir, with an average vine age of 30 years. With vineyards in several sites, they are able to plant their Pinots in the local clay soils, and the Chardonnay in calcareous soil. We have featured a number of “special club” wines in the past, including the 2002 Marc Chauvet in December, 2010, and the 2004 Margaine in January of this year. For a recap of what that’s about, see below. As for this bottling, it is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, from vines up to 70 years, some of the oldest vines in his vineyards. It beautifully combines the richness of the Pinot Meunier with the clean, floral qualities of the Chardonnay. The wine receives minimal dosage, but does undergo some malo-lactic fermentation, and sees some time in large oak foudres. This vintage bottling has aromas of toasted bread and hazelnuts, and is rich and full, though the bubbles somehow remain delicate and lively. Superb on its own, it would also be perfect with foie gras, Coquilles St.-Jacques, or lobster. We got the last bottles available from the distributor, at $63, and there are just a couple left.

[The “Special Club” (Club Trésors de Champagne) is an association of Champagne grower-producers formed in 1971 as an arena in which to exchange ideas and promote the expression of terroir in Champagne. In superior years, they select exceptional bottlings that represent the very best their efforts. The selection process is carried out over time and only those wines that pass club standards at every stage are released with the “Special Club” label.]