“How in the world can a wine this good, a Champagne that spent a huge six years on the lees, be so very, very, affordable?”
Today we’re offering two champagnes from Charles Clement. The Charles Clement Cuvee Speciale and its toasty sibling, the Cuvee Tradition Brut have been delivering high-end Champagne delight at almost Prosecco-like prices for a couple of years here at Chain Bridge Cellars.
But why are they so affordable?
Founded as a Co-op. A big part of the answer to that is how Charles Clement is organized and what it doesn’t do. The winery was born in 1956 when 22 growers in Champagne’s Aube region joined together to buy a wine press, allowing them to move from selling grapes to delivering fermented wine to the big Champagne houses.
As the number of members grew, so did their ambition. Under the leadership of fellow grower Charles Clement, they purchased cellar space, a bottling line, and – in 1972 – released their first bottled Champagne.
And Still a Co-Op Today. Today the cooperative remains owned by its 59 farmers who tend vines covering 110 hectares across the Aube.
Since the coop members own their vineyards and winery, they don’t have to charge themselves the high prices the big name houses pay for most of their grapes/base wine. They are easily able to sell almost all their production in France, where Champagne-lovers drink what they like and appreciate a good value.
So Charles Clement doesn’t have to buy expensive advertising, pay celebrities to drink their wine at fancy clubs, or hide inferior juice in faux leather carrying bags.
All they do is grow good grapes, make fine wine, and allow time in the bottle to do its magic. You can try it yourself anytime this week (today seems like a good idea!) and mix/match with the outstanding value Cuvee Tradition for best in the nation savings.
Pretty magical indeed!