Single-vineyard Spécial Club from Les Toulettes in Épernay.
Medium yellow-gold color. Fullish, reductive, slightly exotic nose: slightly meaty yellow and black fruit, anise, honeyed and toasted hazelnut, vanilla custard, fortune cookie and stone. Extroverted. Bold, with a fleshy girth on the palate, of full texture and concentration: creamy black cherry, dark-skinned plum, honeydew melon, leesy apple and Asian pear. Soft acidity. Healthy bead. Vibrant mousse. A nice length.
Plenty of amplitude, richness and intensity here; we would describe the house style as more brawn than brains. And while we did not take a shine to their non-vintage ‘Brut Selection’ and ‘Grande Reserve’ (they offer plenty of fatted fruit and stuffing but found it all just a bit too obvious) we found this ’04 Special Club to represent significant steps up in harmony, distinction and interest. A very good Spécial Club and built for the medium haul (about ten to fifteen years we think). Now – 2020.