Don't Sugar Coat It! Champagne Non-Dosage - Clouet Brut Nature Silver

Posted by Joe Salamone

Don't Sugar Coat It!
Clouet Brut Nature Silver
Extreme Purity - Extreme Value!

Making non-dosage Champagne is not for the timid.

This is one of the most demanding, most intimidating, most difficult categories of Champagne: non-dosage, also known as "Brut Nature."

This is Champagne utterly naked, without makeup, without anything to mask the shortcomings of the fruit. This is Champagne, literally, without the sugar coating. (See below for full explanation of "non-dosage.")

When these sorts of wines are successful, they are BRILLIANT - as pure as a winter's morning, glacially clean with a transparency that shimmers. When they miss the mark, they are wicked, bitter tooth-chattering affairs that make you wonder who iced down the battery acid and poured it in a Champagne bottle.

Today we present a triumph of non-dosage. But more than that, this is an incredible Champagne from a grower who has been on a serious hot streak. The 2002 Clouet was a revelation; his "1911" is a profound Champagne.

André Clouet is one of the benchmark growers in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy, a place famed for its Pinot Noir.Really, along with Paul Bara, Clouet is the grower that has brought this village its fame. (Honorable mention goes to Benoit Lahaye as well.)

Clouet is able to render his Brut Nature Silver with a startling balance, a beautiful combination of detail and depth. There's a creamy toastiness to the wine along with concentrated red fruits (this is the Pinot Noir speaking) and a chalky minerality that tightens up the wine's long finish. The Silver flaunts all the power and ripeness you'd expect from this grape grown in the relatively warm village of Bouzy - even with the almost uncanny weight of fine red Burgundy.

Bouzy, nestled as it is on the south-facing curve of the Montagne de Reims, is the perfect place for Pinot Noir, and one of the best villages for non-dosage Champagnes. There is ample sunlight and the warmer temperatures here mean the grapes achieve that extra bit of ripeness. It's this warmth that allows Bouzy to make such grand, show-stopping non-dosage Champagnes.

Of course, terroir needs talent and much credit has to be given to Clouet's hard work. André Clouet farms only 9 hectares and this allows him to stay very focused on quality.

As with most of the grower Champagnes, the issue is quantity, not quality. This will be the issue again today. For Champagne that is equal parts delicious and honest, this is a don't miss. Very limited.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits