From: Côte des Blancs, Champagne, France
Critical Acclaim: JD 93 Jeb Dunnuck
A hint of smokiness in the 2015 Champagne Special Club Brut is followed by pithy citrus of grapefruit, white flowers, and bread dough. It has linear and energetic tension, with a long driving finish. Best After 2022
WS 92 Wine Spectator
A vibrant blanc de blancs, with a chalky underpinning and a mouthwatering frame wrapped in the creamy mousse, which carries flavors of glazed pear and tangerine, creamed almond and candied ginger.
96 James Suckling
Very complex nose of citrus blossoms, floral honey and brioche with a hint of fresh mushroom. Really concentrated, but so incredibly focused and precise, this is a masterpiece of chardonnay elegance! Very long and extremely mineral finish that lights up the sky like fireworks. A cuvée of wines from the Grand Cru villages of Cramant (60%) and Chouilly (26%) with wine from the 1er Cru village of Cuis (14%), the oldest vines dating back to 1911 and 1913. (07/18/2022)
Taste: This cuvée, derived from a meticulous blend of the estate's oldest vines, is profoundly concentrated and complex yet astoundingly light and graceful. In the glass, this wine centers around a vein of pure acidity and carries you through to a mineral-infused finish, revealing tightly poised energy. A bouquet of grapefruit pith, brioche, a whiff of smoke, and white florals adds to its persona. On the palate, expect flavors of glazed pear, tangerine, creamed almond, and candied ginger wrapped in creamy, toasty mousse. Though extremely pretty now, there's a ton of aging potential here, and if you are patient, you'll enjoy loads of added nuance in the future.
Pairing: The festive bubbles and high acidity of the 2015 Pierre Gimonnet Special Club Champagne make it an excellent partner for various dishes. It shines alongside salty fare, as the effervescence helps to balance the palate. Light dishes and fried seafood are also particularly compatible, harmonizing with the wine's vibrant character. Some general pairing suggestions include seafood such as oysters and clams, fried fish or chicken, egg-based dishes, pasta, and Japanese delicacies like sushi and sashimi. Because this champagne has so much depth, it can stand up to heartier dishes, including seafood-based meals, such as the classic we’re sharing below.
Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Coquilles St.-Jacques
Recipe from Ina Garten
Adapted by Sam Sifton
About. The 2015 Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay embodies not just the unique characteristics of its native terroir within the Côte des Blancs but also the meticulous attention and craftsmanship poured into its making.
Crafted from 100% Chardonnay, this cuvée is a testament to the delicate harmony between man and vine. It is blended exclusively with Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, known for producing some of the world's most distinguished Blanc de Blancs. These grapes, carefully selected from over 40 years old vineyards, are descended from the oldest vines planted in 1911 and 1913. This rich heritage offers a depth of flavor and complexity that sets this cuvée apart.
The 2015 Special Club holds the "hearts of each terroir" from Cramant Grand Cru, Chouilly "Montaigu," and the Gimonnet house touch of Cuis 1er Cru. This perfect blend of vineyard sites & usage of fruit from Cuis exemplifies the Pierre Gimonnet & Fils style, imbuing their signature freshness and elegance.
In a world saturated by young vineyards, the Pierre Gimonnet estate stands tall and unique, with many of its vine holdings over 30 years old and some even crossing the centenarian mark. Vines from the lieux-dits of Le Fond du Bateau planted in 1911, and Buisson, planted in 1913, contribute to the grandeur of the Special Club. This rich lineage, combined with the exceptional expertise of Didier Gimonnet, the second generation of growers at this estate, provides champagne that is nothing short of spectacular.
The critical acclaim that this cuvée has gathered is a testament to its superior quality. With a 93 score from Jeb Dunnuck, the champagne was described as having a hint of smokiness, followed by pithy citrus of grapefruit, white flowers, and bread dough, with a long and driving finish. Wine Spectator echoed the sentiment with a score of 92, praising its vibrant nature, creamy mousse, and flavors of glazed pear and tangerine, creamed almond, and candied ginger. James Suckling rated it 96, highlighting the complex nose of citrus blossoms, floral honey, and brioche, and applauded its concentrated focus, long mineral finish, and Chardonnay elegance.
It is in the exceptional hands of growers like Pierre Gimonnet, one of the original founders of the Club Trésors, that such exquisite champagnes come to life. This nearly 50-year commitment to excellence has produced champagnes that embody the luxurious, nervy, and exciting nature of the Côte des Blancs, particularly Cramant. The Gimonnet style is marked by toasty brioche, soaring acidity, lovely yellow fruit, and, most importantly, longevity, as demonstrated by their wines that can age 20+ years.
To taste the 2015 Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay is to appreciate the sublime fusion of vineyard legacy, grower passion, and Champagne tradition. The Special Club designation highlights these qualities, as earning this distinction is a painstaking process. The wines undergo rigorous tastings, a unanimous vote, and stringent quality standards. The Club de Trésors, also known as the Special Club, is the ultimate badge of honor for the best of the best grower Champagnes.
These impressive figures underscore the exclusivity of Special Club Champagne: each year, only 28 member producers make 2000 bottles of Special Club Champagne. This select number includes just seven producers who create a Blanc de Blancs Special Club bottling and four women-led producers. The Special Club, indeed, represents the pinnacle of excellence in the realm of grower Champagnes.
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