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There are roughly two dozen clos (vineyards enclosed by stone walls) in Champagne, which makes them incredibly rare to begin with, but Vesselle’s “Petit Clos” in Grand Cru Bouzy might just be the rarest. The entire clos sits at .08 hectares, so only three barrels of this legendary tête de cuvée can ever be produced. In 2010, every treasured, perfectly ripe Pinot Noir cluster was manually harvested in baskets, walked over to the Vesselle winery, and pressed into three barrels made from local Champenois oak. Once transferred into bottle, this wine was left to mature in their cold, dark cellar for 12 years (!) before disgorgement. We offer this super-rare treat on each release, and each time, it seems we have less and less. If you want a few bottles for your cellar, and every Champagne connoisseur should, you need to act very fast!
Anyone who loves great Champagne, and Pinot Noir, recognizes Bouzy as ground zero for the region’s most profound expressions of the variety, with a star-bright constellation of producers that includes Pierre Paillard, Benoît Lahaye, Camille Savès, André Clouet, and Paul Bara. The Vesselle surname is attached to several different properties within Bouzy, which can get confusing, but Delphine and David Vesselle have distinguished themselves by producing some of the most unique bottlings of all. The family’s 15 hectares of vineyards are planted to 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay, a ratio that mirrors Bouzy as a whole. Across the entire Vesselle lineup, Pinot Noir is the star, and the pinnacle of their impressive line up is the 100% Pinot Noir “Cuvée Le Petit Clos.”
For Delphine, “Le Petit Clos” is always only a few steps away, as it’s literally adjacent to their courtyard. After a manual harvest, the grapes are pressed into three barrels—new, once-used, and twice-used—from the forests of Champagne. The resulting wine went into bottle without undergoing malolactic fermentation, then aged on its lees in their cellar for a dozen years. It was disgorged in April of 2023 with a dosage of just under four grams. Every long-aged, exceedingly limited release always epitomizes the sublime power, vinosity, and purity of Bouzy Pinot Noir.
The newest release of “Petit Clos” is a robust, yet perfectly balanced powerhouse thanks to the structured and mineral driven 2010 vintage. Served at a cool 50 degrees and poured into Burgundy bowls, or all-purpose stems, you’ll immediately notice the rich, golden hue and the extremely elegant mousse that results from extra long lees aging. The nose erupts with candied lemon, brioche, wet rock, baked yellow apple, red pear, crème fraîche, vanilla bean, and exotic baking spices that soar on the richly textured, full-bodied palate. Creamy orchard fruits infused with atomized chalk dominate the remarkably fresh finish. Although 13 years old, this is not a bruised, mellow-fruited champagne—there’s enough energy and beautiful poise here to carry it well past 2030. Grab it before it is gone!
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