The Champagne region of France is home to nearly 20,000 growers, ranging from large-scaled Champagne houses to small production grower-producers. The large, globally recognized Champagne houses such as Veuve Clicquot and Laurent Perrier make up 87% of the Champagne imported into the US wine market. In comparison, the smaller grower Champagnes only account for about 5% of all imported Champagne.
Up until most recent times, the large Champagne houses stole the show, while grower-producers appealed to a small niche crowd of bubble fanatics. However, through the camaraderie of a small group of Grower Champagne producers, Special Club Champagne was born.
In 1971, a tiny group of small production Grower Champagne producers decided to band together under one commonality- a true dedication to producing Champagne of the highest-quality, genuinely representative of the terroir in which they are sourced. The small founding group, the Club Trésors de Champagne, consisted of twelve of the oldest family-run Champagne houses and has since grown to include 29 Grower Champagne producers.
The Club Trésors de Champagne, French for ‘Treasure Club’, sets out to showcase the very best vinifications that best represent their unique terroirs. The wines of Special Club Champagne must be produced from only the most notable vintage years and must be sourced from each grower’s own vineyard, bottled, and aged on estate. The bottles selected for Special Club Champagne are considered the tête de cuvée, or the top bottle out of the grower’s estate.
Joining The Club
Getting accepted into the Special Club is not for the faint of heart; each member must meet a series of requirements and evaluations.
To be considered, each winemaker must also tend to their own grapes, land, and maintain absolute control over all farming and winemaking processes. If these qualifications are met, their Champagnes are then placed through a meticulous series of expert tastings where balance, quality, and terroir expressive characteristics are analyzed.
This process begins every February, where all members of the Special Club gather to taste that year’s vinification. In this initial tasting of that year’s vin clairs (still wines), the judgment is not focused on the individual growers but rather the vintage year as a whole. To be considered for Special Champagne production, the decision must be unanimous amongst every person on the panel!
If the vote is unanimous and the vintage is approved, all wines undergo the judgment of two blind tasting panels. The wines must first pass through an initial tasting as a still wine and a minimum of three years later as a sparkling wine.
Once the wines make it through all panels and are approved, it is then that they are graced with the unique bottlings and labels of the Special Club Champagne! All Special Club Champagne is uniformly bottled in a uniquely shaped, green glass bottle with the honored labeling that signifies all Special Club Champagnes. In fact, the only differences noted on each bottle are to indicate the origin of the specific cuvée!
A Collectors Dream
We are pleased to supply a selection of Special Club Champagnes to our loyal Champagne customers. These are tiny production and rare to find, so we strongly encourage you to secure yours now. This may be the only opportunity as Special Club wines are only produced in the best vintages! Click here to shop!
Established in 2002, Benchmark Wine Group is the leading source of fine and rare wine retailers, restaurants and collectors around the world. Based in Napa Valley, we acquire the most sought-after wines from private individuals and professional contacts, but only when provenance can be verified by our team of acquisition professionals. Our staff draws on decades of industry experience and is dedicated to providing exceptional service to all of our clients. Benchmarkwine.com offers 24-hour access to our cellar, displaying inventory in real-time.