Happy New Year everyone! My second post of the new year is also going to be my final post on Champagne, for now. Hopefully I’ve covered most of the salient points on the region that will help you make informed decisions the next time you select a bottle of champagne, plan your next dinner party or conduct your own champagne tasting!
I thought that I would go out with a pop, and save one of my favorite wines for this closing entry. In fact, I’ve decided to award this particular wine with the MEDAILLE DE MUMU! a.k.a. the mumu medal. Consider this award my personal wine hall of fame. Wines that make the cut, (and I am quite particular) are what I consider to be really exceptional representations of either a particular varietal, region or style of wine. It won’t always be the most expensive or hard to obtain wine. It just needs to really, really rock my world.
And the first medaille de mumu goes to..
Wine: Champagne Jacquesson No. 733
Composition: 52% Chardonnay 24% Pinot Meunier 24% Pinot Noir
Sub-Region: Vallée de la Marne –Cote des Blancs
Importer: Vintage 59
US Retail: $60
Food: mushroom or chicken vol au vent, duck rillette on crostini, uni risotto with seared Japanese scallops and truffle vinaigrette (created by Chef Rodelio Aglibot)
Champagne Jacquesson was founded in 1798 by Memmie Jacquesson. The domaine, which is based in the town of Dizy in the Valley of the Marne, was shortly thereafter recognized by for its exceptional wines and award a medal by the emperor Napoleon. Over two centuries later, Jacquesson is owned by the Chiquet family, and overseen by Jean-Hervé and Laurent Chiquet. Today Jacquesson farms 31 hectares in the grand cru villages of Aÿ, Avize, and Oiry, as well as the premier cru villages of Hautvillers, Dizy, and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The domaine also purchases fruit from approximately 11 hectares from growers with whom they have established relationships. Thus, although Champagne Jacquesson is in fact a family owned domaine and produces most of their wine from estate vineyards, in Champagne terminology they are considered negociant-manipulants (NM) rather than recoltant-manipulants (RM).
Jacquesson’s “7 series” of Champagne was first launched in 2003 with a non-vintage cuvee numbered 728. The idea behind this new nomenclature was to produce a series of non-vintage wines whose identities and composition were still firmly rooted to a particular vintage rather than to produce a NV champagne with a consistent “house style”. Jaquesson’s current release in the series is now the “733”, whose base vintage of is comprised of 78% of the wine from the 2005 vintage and only 22% of the final blend coming from reserve wines.
Here are several quick facts regarding the general method of production at Jacquesson:
-Vertical presses utilized
-Only the juice from the first pressing is ultized. The press wine is sold off to negociants
-all grapes come from Grand or Premier Cru rated vineyards only
-juice flows via gravity into stainless steel tanks for 24 hours of settling.
-then transferred to large foudres (neutral wooden casks) to undergo primary fermentation and malolactic fermentation (which is never blocked).
-lees stiring of wine as well as the promotion of malolactic fermentation (ML) allow the addition of SO2 to be kept to a mimimum.
-the wine is bottled unfiltered
-wine labels provide information regarding production levels, dosage, and date of disgorgement. US labels also provide information on the % of fruit that comes from the base vintage. For instance, the 773 reads: 05/78 -or 78% of the fruit is from the 2005 vintage.
I opened a bottle of the Jacquesson No.733 with a very good friend of mine last week while we waited for our third friend to show up (she was lost in west Oakland). Here is how the conversation went, roughly..
Wes: Wow this wine has got some serious acid, man. Whoa..
Mumu: Yeah, it’s super tight.. try it with a gougere..
10 minutes later..
Wes: Oh man..this wine has totally changed.
Mumu: Right?.. it’s totally broad and expansive now. Roasted hazelnuts, barley, deep pinot fruit, a hint of spice, like fennel?
Wes: Yeah, fennel, definitely.
Mumu: But it’s still cutting like a knife. Pow!
Wes: Yeah, it’s totally shape shifting in the glass.
Mumu: It’s so super dimensional, and with some crazy architecture..
Mumu: These gougeres are stupid good too.