Champagne Patrick Boivin: Le Clos 667
16th March 2023
I recently initiated a discussion in one of my Facebook groups, Champagne Collectors, regarding the preferences towards Clos / Single Vineyards, Vintage and Prestige. Currently (11/01/2023) that survey asking people what they would rather spend more on is Vintage at 55%, Clos / Single Vineyards at 35% and Prestige at 10%. There are also some interesting comments under this Facebook poll including “There are tons of single vineyard champs that I would say supersede the cuvées“.
What is the difference between clos and single vineyards you might ask, it is easy to explain:
Single Vineyard: A Champagne label stating ‘Single Vineyard’ will have been made from solely the blend of grapes harvested from the mentioned single vineyard / parcel.
Clos: Translated from French to English, ‘Closed‘ and when used within wine vocabulary, it will refer to ‘a closed / walled vineyard‘. In reference to the 31 recognised / designated (many years back) vineyards of Champagne that are totally enclosed by a wall in order to protect the exceptional quality of the grapes – The wall offering added security / protection from theft. Clos Champagne are more famous and desired over Single Vineyard. It is said that clos vineyards make up only 0.1% of the total 33,500 hectares of the Champagne wine region.
For serious Champagne lovers (on most occasions), single vineyard blends are of upmost interest as it allows them to explore the terroir of the region and to do so within a very select area. With 34,000 hectares of vineyards, the Champagne region is vast with over two thousand different houses to choose from (19,000 vineyard owners / grape growers) and countless more labels. A single vineyard option can be just a small plot with a unique positioning / soils / aged vines that the winemaker considers their best or that offers a unique insight to the Champagne house.
“In the Prosecco region, and under the superiore classification, a similar opportunity to explore the wines from smaller regions (Rive di) allows us to understand better the variations between terroirs within a relatively compact area – Some Prosecco wineries also adopt the single vineyard concept.” Christopher Walkey
So a single vineyard wine will be made from the grapes at a designated vineyard / plot only and these within the Champagne sector are usually referred to Clos / Single Vineyard and sometimes marked as a Cuvée Spéciale. They will be of smaller production levels, can be twice or more the price of a Champagne house’s entry level labels and usually have a higher quality in presentation.
I’d like to introduce Champagne Patrick Boivin in to this article as one such winery producing a Clos label. As a winery they are mere babies in the world of Champagne, having launched in 1978, dare I say that I am older than they are!
“Our vineyard of 6ha is mainly based in the Vallée de la Marne on Epernay Region. Our parcels are located on villages Classified territory 1er Cru such as Pierry, Cumières, and others villages as Vinay, Brugny-Vaudancourt and Damery and of course Epernay, Capital City of Champagne .”
Only a 50,000 annual bottle production makes this a grower Champagne label which, speaking for myself and many others I know, is a particular favourite kind of producer as we are more likely to be paying for quality over brand! There’s magic in single vineyard releases from grower Champagne producers!
I decided to reach out to the family directly and ask them about their special single vineyard release, Le Clos 667:
“First of all, we would like to thank you for your interest in our house and our cuvée CLOS 667. We are indeed very lucky to be one of the few winegrowers and houses that promote the Clos in Champagne.
This vineyard planted on the western slopes of EPERNAY at the foot of a chalky plateau and swept by iodine-scented westerly winds, around the family home. The dream of a child, my father, became reality. In 2006, he imagined what represents for him, the ideal blend of a Champagne cuvée and decided to plant with a specific proportion the 3 grape varieties of the Champagne on his land. Our cuvée is therefore a blend of the three grape varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. The square label that we have worked on represents the enclosed space that surrounds our parcel and the brown colour for that of the land on which we planted it. A golden script to reveal the unique and rare aspect of this exceptional cuvée which is vintage every year since 2009. A production of about 3000 bottles depending on the year.
This cuvée is above all a desire to highlight a terroir, our Champagne grape varieties and a know-how. The plot is worked with respect for tradition and the environment. A manual and selective harvest with vinification in oak barrels and a blocked malolactic fermentation to guarantee freshness through the decades of ageing on the lees.
The cuvée currently available is our first opus ‘2009’. Each vintage will be a novelty, a surprise for lovers of exceptional Champagne. We are honoured to be able to offer a plot, a terroir, a unique vintage and the pleasure of sharing it with all those who wish to experience it with us.” – Baptistine Boivin
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.