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If you are looking for an extraordinary bottle of Champagne for tonight (or for any occasion), I would highly recommend trying a "Special Club". I'm sure some or most of you have heard of Special Club Champagne but for those of you who have not, here is a rundown on what it is (I just posted most of this same info in a thread on a bottle of Launois Special Club that I had last weekend).

The Special Club was started in 1971 and is a currently a group of 26 grower producers in the Champagne region. The purpose of the group is to promote terroir in Champagne production (an idea that is all too neglected by the bigger houses). To become a member a producer must grow their own grapes and be designated as RM's (an explanation of what RM means is here). They all use the same style bottle but have individual labels. These wines represent the top offerings from each producer. The wines must go through a tasting by club members before it can be approved as a Special Club. After initial approval, the wine then undergoes a second fermentation and 3 more years of aging before a final round of tasting by members for approval and bottling. Special Clubs are always vintage wines but are not put out every year (there were no 2003's).

These wines vary in price but are normally in the $50-80 range. They represent a far better value than most Champagne that sell for $100. For example, last weekend the Launois Special club that was opened at an offline was superior to the 1998 Veuve La Grande Dame and 2002 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année in my opinion (each sells for about double the Launois price).

VM
 
Posts: 12189 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Oct 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Vino Me:
If you are looking for an extraordinary bottle of Champagne for tonight (or for any occasion), I would highly recommend trying a "Special Club". I'm sure some or most of you have heard of Special Club Champagne but for those of you who have not, here is a rundown on what it is (I just posted most of this same info in a thread on a bottle of Launois Special Club that I had last weekend).

The Special Club was started in 1971 and is a currently a group of 26 grower producers in the Champagne region. The purpose of the group is to promote terroir in Champagne production (an idea that is all too neglected by the bigger houses). To become a member a producer must grow their own grapes and be designated as RM's (an explanation of what RM means is here). They all use the same style bottle but have individual labels. These wines represent the top offerings from each producer. The wines must go through a tasting by club members before it can be approved as a Special Club. After initial approval, the wine then undergoes a second fermentation and 3 more years of aging before a final round of tasting by members for approval and bottling. Special Clubs are always vintage wines but are not put out every year (there were no 2003's).

These wines vary in price but are normally in the $50-80 range. They represent a far better value than most Champagne that sell for $100. For example, last weekend the Launois Special club that was opened at an offline was superior to the 1998 Veuve La Grande Dame and 2002 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année in my opinion (each sells for about double the Launois price).

VM


As the one who brought the Grande Annee and the Grande Dame, this one hurts, especially in the pocketbook. Although, I readily agree as the Launois was my WOTN. I will be seeking these out going forward.
 
Posts: 3562 | Location: Algonquin, Illinois | Registered: Jan 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Those were both great wines which I scored in the 92-93 range. Thanks for bringing them. As I told Allred that night, the Wine Discount Center in Chicago has a wonderful selection of 6-8 different Special Clubs.

VM
 
Posts: 12189 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Oct 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't drink a lot of champagne (I know, blasphemy on these boards), but quite a bit of what I drink is Special Club. I've enjoyed most I've had and they fit my budget nicely. In fact, one of the wines I will be bringing to a dinner tonight is a 2000 Gaston Chiquet Special Club.


“Appreciating old wine is like making love to a very old lady. It is possible. It can even be enjoyable. But it requires a bit of imagination.”

Andre Tchelistcheff
 
Posts: 2712 | Location: Ohio | Registered: Jan 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by eyesintime:
I don't drink a lot of champagne (I know, blasphemy on these boards), but quite a bit of what I drink is Special Club. I've enjoyed most I've had and they fit my budget nicely. In fact, one of the wines I will be bringing to a dinner tonight is a 2000 Gaston Chiquet Special Club.


Ohhhh I am madly in love with Gaston Chiquet. Had not come across their Special Club bottling, however. What a find!


Ἐν οἴνῳ ἀλήθεια
En Vino Veritas
 
Posts: 289 | Location: New Orleans, LA | Registered: Dec 14, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've only had the 1er Cru Tradition from Chiquet. I see his Special Club sells for $68 at one Chicago area store.

VM
 
Posts: 12189 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Oct 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gaston Chiquet Special Club is wonderful. Great QPR and regardless of the price, just very good champagne.


Looking forward to those mags of '08 Salon.
 
Posts: 2278 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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+1
 
Posts: 1591 | Location: Toronto | Registered: Aug 21, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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the Grognet club selections 97 and 99 are available at fatcork.com but for a bit more $128


If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
 
Posts: 449 | Location: Minneapolis | Registered: Aug 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the explanation of Special Club.
 
Posts: 8671 | Registered: May 28, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Vino Me:
If you are looking for an extraordinary bottle of Champagne for tonight (or for any occasion), I would highly recommend trying a "Special Club". I'm sure some or most of you have heard of Special Club Champagne but for those of you who have not, here is a rundown on what it is (I just posted most of this same info in a thread on a bottle of Launois Special Club that I had last weekend).

The Special Club was started in 1971 and is a currently a group of 26 grower producers in the Champagne region. The purpose of the group is to promote terroir in Champagne production (an idea that is all too neglected by the bigger houses). To become a member a producer must grow their own grapes and be designated as RM's (an explanation of what RM means is here). They all use the same style bottle but have individual labels. These wines represent the top offerings from each producer. The wines must go through a tasting by club members before it can be approved as a Special Club. After initial approval, the wine then undergoes a second fermentation and 3 more years of aging before a final round of tasting by members for approval and bottling. Special Clubs are always vintage wines but are not put out every year (there were no 2003's).

These wines vary in price but are normally in the $50-80 range. They represent a far better value than most Champagne that sell for $100. For example, last weekend the Launois Special club that was opened at an offline was superior to the 1998 Veuve La Grande Dame and 2002 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année in my opinion (each sells for about double the Launois price).

VM

Is this how you did research papers in high school and college? Wink Razz


"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields
 
Posts: 7540 | Registered: Dec 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by winetarelli:
Is this how you did research papers in high school and college?

By college, do you mean secretarial school?

VM
 
Posts: 12189 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Oct 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picked up from Wine Discount Center today -

'04 Gaston Chique "Special Club"
'04 Henri Goutorbe "Special Club"

Thanks for the tip!
 
Posts: 854 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Aug 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Vino Me:

By college, do you mean secretarial school?

VM


Big Grin LOL Winner
 
Posts: 5396 | Location: Aurora, IL | Registered: Jul 29, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by EB Wine:
Picked up from Wine Discount Center today -

'04 Gaston Chique "Special Club"
'04 Henri Goutorbe "Special Club"

Thanks for the tip!

You're welcome. Excellent buys.

The Special Club I would like to try most is the Mousse & Fils Cuvee Special Club Blanc de Noirs Brut. 100% Pinot Meunier. Might not be the best Special Club made but it is the only 100% PM which makes it unique.

VM
 
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The only Special Club I've had was the 2004 Marc Hebrart, which I enjoyed. I've actually been thinking about going to WDC sometime soon, so I may have to check out their selection.
 
Posts: 3126 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Apr 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Drank the following 2 wines last weekend:

2005 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Special Club Grands Terriors de Chardonnay
2006 A. Margaine Champagne Blanc de Blancs Special Club

Also bought the the following wine yesterday:

2004 Gaston Chiquet Champagne Spécial Club 1er Cru (2 bottles left at the WDC)

VM
 
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Had the 2002 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Special Club Blanc de Blancs last night. One of the better special clubs I have had over the years.
 
Posts: 6440 | Location: OC, CA  | Registered: Aug 01, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I really like the metal label that Gimonnet puts on their special club.

In anticipation of a visit to Champagne this Fall, I investigated to see which members of this group do not export their wines to the US and found the following 8 members:

Charlier et Fils
Fresnet-Juillet
Vincent Joudart
Juillet-Lallement
Joseph Loriot-Pagel
Nomine-Renard
Salmon (not Billecart Salmon)
Remy Massin et Fils

Hopefully I can arrange a visit to some of these.

VM
 
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Any thoughts on the 2005 Launois Special Club?

Considering going to pick up a few this weekend.
 
Posts: 1539 | Location: San Francisco | Registered: Jun 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I haven't had the 2005 but have always been impressed by the wines from this producer. Excellent prices for a Cote des Blancs producer (even for their Special Club which is their top wine- usually in the $55 range). I would rather buy the 2004 than the 2005 if they had it but this is a perennial buy.

VM
 
Posts: 12189 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Oct 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Danyull:
Any thoughts on the 2005 Launois Special Club?

Considering going to pick up a few this weekend.

Leave some for me will ya? Wink

Thanks for the heads up on these types of champers. Unfortunately for me, the NJ distributors don't have a lot of these at the same prices as CA.
 
Posts: 5092 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: Aug 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Vino Me:
I haven't had the 2005 but have always been impressed by the wines from this producer. Excellent prices for a Cote des Blancs producer (even for their Special Club which is their top wine- usually in the $55 range). I would rather buy the 2004 than the 2005 if they had it but this is a perennial buy.

VM


I haven't had the '05 yet either, but I do have mags of the '02 and the '04, which are both excellent. If you can find the '02, I'd buy that over the '04 based upon the ones I've had. That being said, I will buy the '05 when I see it.
 
Posts: 3562 | Location: Algonquin, Illinois | Registered: Jan 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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An updated list of Special Clubs currently in my cellar:

2 x 1996 Juillet-Lallement Champagne Special Club Brut Grand Cru (both mags) (VM96)
1 x 2006 Juillet-Lallement Champagne Special Club Brut Grand Cru
1 x 1998 J. Lassalle Champagne Special Club (VM94)
1 x 2002 Launois Pere et Fils Champagne Special Club (mag) (VM95)
1 x 2004 Launois Pere et Fils Champagne Special Club
1 x 2005 José Michel & Fils Champagne Special Club (mag)
2 x 2006 José Michel & Fils Champagne Special Club
1 x 2008 Moussé Fils Champagne Special Club Cuisles (VM94)

VM
 
Posts: 12189 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Oct 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DoubleD:
quote:
Originally posted by Danyull:
Any thoughts on the 2005 Launois Special Club?

Considering going to pick up a few this weekend.

Leave some for me will ya? Wink

Thanks for the heads up on these types of champers. Unfortunately for me, the NJ distributors don't have a lot of these at the same prices as CA.


Come out to visit! It's 65 degrees and sunny right now. Banana

I'll be in NYC in April, May be able to bring one of these out.
 
Posts: 1539 | Location: San Francisco | Registered: Jun 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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