Grower Champagne Club – March 2017

2011 Marc Hébrart, Special Club, $83
It’s hard to believe that this is only the second Hébrart Champagne we’ve put in the club. Current winemaker Jean-Paul Hébrart is one of importer Terry Thiese’s favorite grower-producers, about which he waxes eloquently year after year in his annual catalogues. He finds Hébrart wines almost without peer in all of Champagne, and recently wrote that whenever he has them in his glass, he asks himself, “Does Champagne really get any better than this?” Jean-Paul Hébrart was recently able to expand his holdings, and now has 15 hectares, comprised of 68 different Grand Cru and 1er Cru parcels, in both the Valley of the Marne and the Côte des Blancs. This month we present his 2011 Special Club. (Or “Club Trésors,” an association of some of the most talented and committed producers in the region. Each year they select Champagnes from among the members that they feel represents the highest expression of what grower Champagne can be.) 2011 was widely acknowledged to be a difficult vintage in Champagne and the Club Trésors had to first decide whether or not to produce a vintage Champagne at all that year. But given how unique and characterful the base wines were, they judged it to be a worthy vintage to merit Special Club status. And Hébrart’s was one of the standouts. It is 55% Pinot Noir (35% from Mareuil and 20% from Äy) and 45% Chardonnay (25% from Mareuil and 20% from Oiry and Chouilly). Theise didn’t import many 2011s but this one was a notable exception. Now having aged for four years, it has developed lovely complexity and is rich and inviting, with notes of toast, white fruit and baking spice. It is perfect now or over the next ten years. Enjoy it on its own, or with poultry dishes with creamy mushroom sauce.