Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Special Club Blanc de Blancs

It takes a tough season to truly define a great estate, and Gimonnet’s Special Club is one of Champagne’s finest expressions of the sunny and structured 2005 vintage — all the more noble at the top end of Special Club production volumes. Didier Gimonnet is justly proud of the balance he has upheld in this powerful vintage, which he admits was a challenge to blend. His Special Club philosophy is that it should be more than the sum of its parts, built on old vine Cramant for structure, balanced with the silkiness of Chouilly, Mont Aigu and Cuis. He has captured a purity and a graceful line that transcend the natural concentration and formidable structure of the season. Elegant white summer fruits, apple and pear are refined by tightly honed lemon fruit of airy delicacy. Wonderful layers of dazzling, fine-strung mineral chalk build a deep, enduring and all-pervading structure that propagates through a finish of unmitigated persistence. A thrilling champagne by any standard, a triumph of 2005, a true prestige cuvée — and preposterously affordable.