Elisabeth Sarcelet, Chef des Caves (head winemaker)
CHAMPAGNE (a very special place indeed)
Back when I started with Spec’s in 1996, there were a couple of $20 Champagnes in the market. It was hard to do because Champagne is expensive to make, the cases are heavy (which adds to shipping costs), and the taxes are higher than for still wine. Nevertheless, we had some. Then came the Champagne price increases (from the Champagne producers) associated with the turn-of-the-millennium and the increased value of the euro versus the dollar and Champagnes that had been selling at Spec’s for around $20 were suddenly closer to $30. So we thought we’d seen the end of $20 Champagne. Until this summer when, with a great offer from the Co-opérative Régionale des Vins de Champagne (CRVC) who make Champagne Castelnau, a falling euro / stronger dollar, no promotional budget (a big expense for many Champagnes) and tightly controlled shipping costs, we were able to land Champagne Abel Charlot Brut to sell at $19.94 per bottle (cash).
ABEL CHARLOT Brut, Champagne, NV ($19.94)
This fully sparkling methode champenoise blend of 15% Chardonnay, 50% Meunier (formerly known as Pinot Meunier), and 35% Pinot Noir including 10% reserve wines (for richness and complexity) raises the bar for value in Champagne. Pale gold straw in color and fully sparkling, dry and fresh with a hint of phenolics. Toasty-biscuity bubbly offering citrus and tree fruit with subtle mineral earth. Classic Brut Champagne in a toastier style. Stunning Value. BearScore: 90+