Grower Champagne Club – December 2016

2008 Gaston Chiquet, “Spécial Club,” Brut
Nicolas Chiquet planted his first vines back in the 1740s and, like most growers, sold his fruit to the large Champagne houses for generations. But in 1919 Fernand and Gaston Chiquet decided to use their fruit to create their own wines, thus becoming one of the first grower producers in Champagne. Today the Chiquet wines are made by brothers Nicolas and Antoine, based in the village of Dizy, not far from Epernay. They grow all three grape varietals on their 23 hectares of vineyards in the Marne Valley. Chiquet is one of 28 members of the Le Club Trésors de Champagnes (usually translated as “Spécial Club”), an association of winemakers in Champagne selected according to a strict set of standards, who share a passionate commitment to their common objective of excellence. As we’ve mentioned in the past, after a series of blind tastings at several stages during the production process, and only in exceptional years, the group selects Champagnes from among the members that they feel represent the highest expression of what grower Champagne can be. These are then released in specially designed bottles, such as this one from the 2008 vintage. It is 70% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Äy and 30% Pinot Noir from Mareuil (Premier Cru). It is unoaked, but it does go through malolactic fermentation and is aged in the bottle for 72 months. Importer Terry Theise gushes that this is the best Chiquet wine in at least two decades, with “exquisite and fathomless intricacy.” It is utterly elegant, with lovely floral aromas, and notes of hazelnuts and quince. It is $75 and would be a very special wine to enjoy over the holidays.