New Arrival: The Limited Production Tête de Cuvée: 1911 André Clouet Grand Cru. This Under-The-Radar Grower Champagne from the Grand Cru Village of Bouzy Commemorates the Year the Farmers Took on The Grandes Marques in 1911.
“Simply put this is remarkable juice, and one of the best relative values readers will find in Champagne. The 1911 is 100% Pinot Noir made from various lieu-dits in Bouzy.” - Antonio Galloni
“These wines have rapidly enjoyed great success. The rare vintage wines come from old vines right next to Bollinger’s now destroyed ungrafted vines in Bouzy.” - Richard Juhlin
Sure, Billecart-Salmon was the original Champagne at Italian Wine Merchants, but today we are celebrating one of our favorite grower Champagnes — the game-changing, limited-production Pinot Noir-based 1911 André Clouet Grand Cru Cuvée. I had the opportunity to revisit this IWM signature under-the-radar producer that has once again captured our attention with what is truly the tale of David and Goliath. The Domaine’s Tête de Cuvée is composed of 100% Pinot Noir from Clouet’s ten best lieux-dits in the grand cru village of Bouzy. A mere 160 cases (or 1,911 bottles) of this Champagne are released each year, in comparison to millions of bottles produced by the more commercial brands of Moët & Chandon and Louis Roederer. This is small production, traditional, and outstanding Pinot-based Champagne that drinks more like a sophisticated red wine than a glass of bubbles. It is full in style and an ideal match for enthusiasts of Bollinger, Cristal, and Selosse, but this Champagne is available at a fraction of the price. This wine commands $120 elsewhere, and at under $75 this is one of the very best prices in the country.
The "1911" bears historical significance as it refers to the tumultuous riots that broke out in Champagne between the local grape growers and the producers of the time. At the turn of the twentieth century, many Champagne houses took advantage of the growing popularity of sparkling wine and began sourcing grapes from outside the eponymous region, creating faux Champagne with grapes from Germany and Spain, deliberately forcing the local growers to sell their grapes below market value. This practice resulted in violence and bloodshed. Today's bottle honors those producers who stayed true to Champagne and the farmers whose grapes made this legendary wine possible.
What a pleasure it is to drink André Clouet Cuvée 1911 — especially at this price!
Featured Wines: The Limited Production Tête de Cuvée and More (Click to Order)
André Clouet is a small, rising star from the grand cru village of Bouzy with a total of eight hectares of vines. He is considered one of Champagne's finest practitioners of Pinot Noir, and his wines express some of its best value. Fans of Taittinger, Bollinger and Selosse should pay attention! While Selosse’s Pinot Noir Cuvée “La Côte Faron” can command up to $350, Clouet’s Tête de Cuvée begins under $75! We are not the only ones who love André Clouet; Antonio Galloni lavishes the wines with praise and calls them out as “absolutely majestic.” Clouet commemorates the turning point when the grape-growers took on the grand marquees, and IWM celebrates the smaller producers and farmers of sparkling wines, and in particular, the popular category of "Grower Champagnes," which is often identified as RM (meaning Récoltant-Manipulant) or Les Champagnes de Vignerons ("Vinegrower Champagnes"). Today's Champagne is a wine we truly believe in, and few merchants can offer this kind of pricing.
Enjoy the full experience of this weighty and masculine Champagne. Try it well chilled and let it breathe in the glass over a full meal and you will be rewarded.
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND REVIEWS:
André Clouet Cuvée Un jour de 1911 NV
Christopher Deas, IWM: “Tasted four times. Sure, there is the attractive label and old school packaging that few still do, but the visuals only heighten the allure and the story behind this singular bottle of grower Champagne. In the bottle, this is 100% Pinot Noir from Clouet’s ten best lieux dits in the grand cru vineyard of Bouzy. And as a Pinot-based Champagne, this wine has the signature richness and depth. But there is so much more here, and we love serving this bottle well chilled, above the standard recommendation, and watching how this structured wine unfolds. The chill simply exposes the impact of Bouzy's powerful chalk-based sites and adds nuances of ripe apples, a touch of citrus, mineral-infused cherries, brioche, and hazelnuts — all packaged with the signature Clouet touch of oxidation. Yes, there is concentration here, but there is also precision that cuts through the weight for a truly complete Champagne that just echoes and stains the palate for a marathon finish. What a pleasure it is to drink André Clouet Cuvée 1911 — especially at this price! Fittingly, there are just 1,911 bottles produced.”
Antonio Galloni, Vinous: “The NV Grand Cru Cuvée 1911 emerges from the glass with the most haunting of perfumes. Sweet rose petal and jasmine are some of the nuances that emerge over time. Despite recent disgorgement, the purity of the fruit and the extraordinary elegance of the mousse are hard to miss. This is an exceptional, elegant version of the 1911 that should drink beautifully for years to come. The bottle I tasted needed quite a bit of air to open up, so readers should be patient with the wine at this stage. This is another strong set of wines from André Clouet. Readers who appreciate Pinot-based Champagnes will find much to admire here.” 12/10