Our company has excelled in establishing direct relationships with many top grower Champagne producers, thanks to the work and passion of our in-house Champagne lovers. Most of the Champagnes that we sell are from Grand Cru vineyards and famous Grand Cru villages like Cramant, Avize, Ambonnay, Verzenay and Ay. But we were missing the village of Bouzy, since we parted ways with Kermit Lynch and their wonderful producer, Paul Bara.
A good friend and wholesaler in Portland, Oregon connected us with Jean-Francoise Clouet, after we had been drinking his family’s delicious Champagne on our frequent visits to our Oregon growers. We traveled to France to meet Jean-Francoise and became the east coast home of Champagne Andre Clouet. Since we import it directly, it comes to market at a much lower price (30% perhaps?) than if we had worked through an agent.
Jean-Francois’ family owns eight hectares in the amphitheater bowl that makes Bouzy so special, and the bottlings are exquisite, including the “1911”, which, for clarification, is not some old vintage from that year. As we understand it, “1911” was bottled in honor of Jean-Francois’ great-grandfather who was the first in Champagne, or at least in Bouzy, to break away from the grower-to-Grandes Marques model (selling fruit to the big houses) and made Champagne under his own name. There is an urban legend that only 1911 bottles are made each year. We question that, but okay, if you want to believe it, we won’t contest it. Frankly, we’re not sure. Let’s just say it’s limited.
Bouzy is a Pinot Noir village, and at the core of all of these wines is Pinot Noir. Champagne Andre Clouet manages to take the power of Pinot Noir and frame it gracefully into an elegant, minerally cuvee that charms the palate and might confuse the consumer into thinking they had wandered into the Cotes des Blancs to the south. The wines are defined by precision, power, and finesse, and since they are made of 100% Pinot Noir, they reveal the red fruit flavors that comes from this grape.
The Clouet cellar was built in the 17th century under the family’s home in the village, and below the vineyards. If you go, beware not to crack your head on the low carved out ceiling as you enter. As you go deeper down, the cellar becomes cooler