The Clouet family has been growing grapes in Bouzy and Ambonnay since 1751 and been making and selling estate bottled Champagne since 1900. Some of the vineyards the family now farms (owned by Jean François Clouet’s mother Françoise) were a gift to her ancestor from Napoleon on said ancestor’s retirement. Andre Clouet’s 10 hectares of estate vineyards are still in the villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay The estate operation which specializes in Pinot Noir-only cuvees is now run by Jean François Clouet (owner, manager, promoter, motive force, force of nature).
ANDRE CLOUET Cuvee 1911 Grand Cru Brut, Champagne, NV
This 12% alcohol, 100% Pinot Noir estate-bottled cuvee comes from the grand cru village of Bouzy. The current blend is 50% from the 1996 vintage, 25% from 1995, and 25% from 1997. Some of the component wines were fermented in used Sauternes barrels (from Ch. Doisy Daene) and some were aged in older oak barrels. The wine was laid down in early 1998 and disgorged on 06/05/2014 – so it has 16 years on the lees. Gold-straw in color, bright and clear and fully sparkling; dry, medium-plus bodied with a rich texture, still fresh acidity, and scant phenolics. This is a stunningly good, beautifully developed sparkler with depth and richness to go with a perfectly integrated mix of mineral, toast, and developed citrus-tree-red fruit. Lovely, delicious, satisfying. BearScore: 98+.
ANDRE CLOUET Brut Grand Reserve, Champagne, NV ($37.99)
A cuvee of 100% Pinot Noir (and so a Blanc de Noirs) all from mis-slope vineyards in Bouzy and Ambonnay given a full malo-lactic fermentation and aged 4 years on the yeast and dosed to .6 grams per liter of sugar. No hint of pink to say it is an an all Pinot cuvee. Pale gold straw with a hint of bronze. Richer more red fruit with enough citrus to go with a mineral earth. The toast and yeast emerge on the palate. Great feel. Richer style But NV offering focus and development. BearScore: 92.
ANDRE CLOUET Brut Silver (Cuvee Sans Dosage), Champagne, NV ($37.99)
A cuvee of 100% Pinot Noir (and so a Blanc de Noirs) all from mid-slope vineyards in Bouzy fermented and aged in neutral oak barrels (including a full malo-lactic fermentation) and aged 4 years on the yeast. No dosage. No hint of pink to say it is an an all Pinot cuvee. Pale gold straw. Richer but focused more red fruit with enough citrus to go with a mineral earth. The toast and yeast emerge on the palate. Offers good development. This cuvee can be too dry for me – except when it’s not. That’s more a function of my mood than anything the wine is doing. BearScore: 92.
ANDRE CLOUET Brut Rosé, Champagne, NV ($47.49)
A cuvee of 92% Pinot Noir made as white Champagne blended with 8% Bouzy Rouge (the famous but rare red wine from the grand cru village of Bouzy). Ferment in stainless steel tanks but with a full malo-lactic fermentation and aged 4 years on the yeast before a dosage of 6 grams per liter. Decidedly pink (as opposed to orangey-salmon) in color and fully sparkling. dry and fresh with light but present phenolics (from the red wine component). Supple and juicy with red fruit accented with subtle earth. It hints at exotic spice with fine perfume and a balancing core of citrus and red fruit acidity. Its toastiness emerges in the mouth. Great feel. Yum. Excellent. BearScore: 94.