José Michel et Fils, Special Club, 2013, $83
Champagne José Michel is one of the oldest winegrowing families in the small village of Moussy, just south of Epernay.
They have owned vineyards in the area since 1847 and produced their first vintage in 1955. In 1958 José became the first in his family to plant Chardonnay, in vineyards on lower slopes with more calcareous soil. Today they have 11 hectares of vines in several villages, mostly in the Côtes d’Epernay, planted to about 45% Pinot Meunier, 45% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir. José Michel is one of the original members of the “Club Trésors de Champagne,” or Special Club (see description below) and we’ve featured their 2004 and 2012 Special Club bottlings in the past. This month we present their 2013, a blend of about half each Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay from older vines, some up to 70 years in age. It is aged partially in large oak casks, and sees extended time (about six years) on the lees. The result is an elegant Champagne with lively bubbles and a perfect balance between the richness and depth of the Pinot Meunier and the clean, pure qualities of the Chardonnay, with notes of toasted bread, hazelnuts, and yellow fruit. They recommend pairing it with foie gras, Coquilles St.-Jacques, chicken, or lobster.
[Formed in 1971, the Club Trésors de Champagne is an association of 28 grower-producers from the finest areas of Champagne, who are committed to excellence and who strive to promote the concept of terroir and estate-bottled Champagne. In outstanding vintage years the club selects, as a group, bottlings that represent the very best of their efforts. The selection process is carried out over time, at various stages of the production process, and only those Champagnes that meet the rigorous club standards at every stage are released with the unique club bottle and labeling.]