We are back in the 2000s, when Champagne and its reputation are shining brightly and the nectar from the Champagne region is appreciated throughout the world. However, wine lovers are demanding better and better quality and, as a result, wine producers are seeking to craft increasingly higher-quality products that are also innovative
As he does every Sunday morning, Claude Mandois is tasting his “vins clairs” (still wines) from his winery which, after blending, will become the new “drivers” of “Mandois quality” for the 2000 vintage.
From the 9th generation of a family of winegrowers, Claude Mandois has a character trait that he has undoubtedly inherited from his forefathers, that of liking to stand out from others through coming up with ideas and using techniques that are both interesting and original.
This no doubt the reason why it occurred to him that he could create an “After Dinner” concept in which Champagne would be enjoyed and savoured at the end of a meal like a fine after-dinner drink such as Cognac
During his tasting, one plot really stands out. Claude thinks it will be perfect for the crafting of a high-end champagne and his innovative “After Dinner” concept: Le Clos Mandois.
Le Clos is a historical plot, part of which was planted in 1955. This 1.5 hectare walled vineyard sits in the heart of the domaine in the lower part of Pierry and is planted entirely with Pinot Meunier, a traditional and authentic grape variety from Epernay’s southern slopes. The grapes grown on this south-facing plot have the distinction of being high in sugar and acidity, qualities much sought after for the crafting of high-end wines.
Thus, after many tests, including the 2001 and 2002 vintages, which do not live up to Claude Mandois’ demanding standards, the 2004 stands out and will be selected for the creation of “Le Clos” and to bring the “After Dinner” concept to life.
After vinifying the plot separately and ageing the wine for 10 years on its lees in oak barrel, Le Clos is born in 2015. Only 4,000 bottles are produced of the Champagne House’s latest gem: “Le Clos MANDOIS 2004”. The fruit of patient work and extensive know-how, Le Clos reflects the quest for aromatic and olfactory quality with aromas typically derived from ageing such as “cherries in eau-de-vie” and with close attention paid to the wine’s appearance, its lovely Straw Gold hue.
Building on the success of the 2004 vintage, further tests are carried out over the following harvests, but only the 2008 vintage is selected to continue the Le Clos line, 6,000 kilos of very ripe grapes that will allow the finest of aromas to develop.
True to the spirit of Le Clos with a small production of only 4,912 bottles, a lower dosage (5 g/l) and ageing in oak, Le Clos 2008 is vinified and, after more than 10 years‘ ageing on its lees, a wine is born with a very light effervescence due to its bottling on cork stoppers. The wine reveals an evolving first nose of candied fruit and honey, moving towards brioche aromas and taking on some toasted notes. Its unctuous and creamy palate with its taut, mineral finish develops tertiary aromas of prunes reminiscent of the style of very old Cognacs.
When served at a temperature of 12°C, a little higher than usual, in order to bring out the aromas derived from ageing, you will be enchanted by the style of Le Clos 2008 and the “After Dinner” concept, another chapter in the exciting story of the Mandois Champagne House.