Last week, Jean-Hervé Chiquet from the excellent little Champagne house Jacquesson again visited Stockholm and held a tasting, primarily for press, over lunch hosted by their Swedish importer Vinovum, that is part of Vingruppen. We had a very pleasant tasting of some current and upcoming releases from them.
For a longer profile of Jacquesson I refer to a blog post I wrote last spring, and another post I wrote about a visit to them in February this year.
The 700 series
We tasted three wines from the 700 series, which is the non-vintage cuvée produced by Jacquesson, but one which has a clear “vintage identity” and where the back labels provides clear information about what is found in the bottle.
Starting with the releases this autumn, Jacquesson has modified their labels somewhat. They now include the text “Famille Chiquet” below the Jacquesson name. The back labels still shows the same detailed information, and the maps will stay on the vineyard-designated Champagnes.
Jacquesson Cuvée 737 (magnum)
Base vintage 2009 and 30% reserve wines, mainly from 2008 but also from cuvée 736 and 735. 43% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir, and 30% Pinot Meunier.
Apply nose with yellow and green apples, some citrus and mineral, noticeably smoky, some bready/biscuity notes, some vanilla, and light flowery aromas. Noticeably more developed nose than the 738. The palate is distinctly dry with green apple, citrus, mineral, high acidity and a long aftertaste with a green-apply impression. Rather young but fine now, 89+ p.
Just as when I tasted this cuvée in February, then from a 75 cl bottle, the acid is good and the style is firm for a Champagne from the hot 2009 vintage. This is often the case with Jacquesson Champagnes. I do however think that the 737 comes across as somewhat less developed now, but it’s likely that this is because the magnum version is later in its development, rather than the 737 “closing down” over the last half year or so.
Jacquesson Cuvée 738
Base vintage 2010 and 33% reserve wines. 61% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Noir, and 21% Pinot Meunier. The dosage is only 2.5 grams per liter. Disgorged in April 2014 for release in November 2014.
Definitely a paler colour than the 737. Nose with citrus, yellow apple and some white currants with discrete flowery notes, a discrete bready note and smokiness (that increases with time in the glass). More citrus in the nose than in the 737. The palate is distinctly dry with citrus, green apple with some tart character, high acidity, and noticeable minerality. Young, 88(+) p
Jean-Hervé described the 2010 vintage as very difficult, and that Pinot was plagued by the most difficulties. Therefore, the proportion of Chardonnay is particularly high in the 738. For a cuvée based on a supposedly difficult vintage, I would say that it is very successful. (Many wine producers try to “talk up” weak vintages – here it was almost the opposite…) It is leaner and firmer than the 737 and shows a more chiseled acidity, more tart notes, more green apple notes and more noticeable minerality. To me, the 738 comes across as having the style of a firm blanc de blancs, i.e., the Pinot content is hardly noticeable at all, at least not at present.
Jacquesson Cuvée 733 Degorgement Tardif (DT)
Base vintage 2005 and 22% reserve wines, of which 16% from 2004 and 6% from 2001. 52% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir, and 24% Pinot Meunier. The dosage is only 2.5 grams per liter. Disgorged September 2013, launched in September 2014.
Noticeably developed nose with yellow winter apple, smoky, with a discrete rum raisin note and pronounced bready/biscuity notes. The palate is distinctly dry (but not as “bone dry” as 737 or 738) with yellow apple and winter apples, good acidity, spice, and a foody character. This one is ready in its development, 90-91 p.
The 733 DT shows some 2005 style, since it is a ripe vintage, but it presents it in a firm frame. Also this time, it comes across as more powerful than young 700 cuvées often are. The quality is definitely at a level corresponding to vintage Champagnes from high-quality houses, but it has come further in its development than such wines usually have when they are released.
733 DT is the first DT release from the 700 series, which was launched with Cuvée 728 (base vintage 2000). DT is the designation Jacquesson use for late disgorged versions of Champagnes from their range, and they have earlier released a number of vintage Champagnes as DT, although in small volumes. I wrote more about 733 DT after my visit to them in February.
From Cuvée 733, which was rather large in volume, Jacquesson has saved away some 15 000-20 000 undisgorged bottles per cuvée, that will be released later as DT. After testing, they found that these bottles should receive one year of cellaring after disgorgment before they are released. The 733 DT is launched nine years after harvest, which means that the bottles received 7.5 years on the lees plus one year on the cork.
Jean-Hervé confirmed my earlier suspicion that the DT release of the 700 series has partially been introduced to fill the spot in their range vacated by their former “regular” vintage Champagne, that was produced for the last time in the 2002 vintage. This means that it is one step up from the regular release of the 700 cuvée in terms of price and quality, but not all the way up to the vineyard-designated wines, that are produced in very tiny quantities. Apparently, some dealers had pointed out that they would like to have something more than the 700 cuvée to sell (other than the tiny allocation of Lieux-Dits). Somewhat mischievously, Jean-Hervé also pointed out that their Champagnes almost always taste the best just after they are sold out. From now on, each 700 series cuvée will make a comeback in such condition.
2005 is a rather hot and ripe Champagne vintage, which means rather early development and maturity. It will therefore be very interesting to see in which phase of maturity we will find upcoming DT releases upon release.
Lieux-Dits – the vineyard-designated Champagnes
Pleasantly enough, we got to taste all the three white Lieux-Dits, the vineyard-designated Champagne, from the 2004 vintage. They were released last autumns, but this is still the vintage that is sold. Upcoming releases of these are as follows:
- 2005: released next year, all three were made
- 2006: not produced
- 2007: only Dizy Corne Bautray was made
- 2008: all three were made, may be released after the 200s
- 2009: all three were made
- 2010: not produced
- 2011: only Dizy Corne Bautray was made
Dizy Terres Rouges, which so far has been a vineyard-designated rosé, is an interesting case. In the vintages 2002 to 2007, this rosé was changed from a varietal Pinot Meunier (from vines planted in 1971) to a varietal Pinot Noir (from vines planted in 1993) after tha latter vines had reached an age where they produced sufficiently good grapes. From the 2012 vintage this will become a white Champagne rather than a rosé, since they consider this to be a better use of the grapes. The following applies to past and upcoming releases.
- 2002: relased as a rosé with 100% Pinot Meunier
- 2003: relased as a rosé with 83% Pinot Meunier and 17% Pinot Noir
- 2004: relased as a rosé with 71% Pinot Meunier and 29% Pinot Noir
- 2005: not produced
- 2006: not produced
- 2007: relased as a rosé with 100% Pinot Noir
- 2008: recently relased as a rosé with 100% Pinot Noir
- 2009: will be released as a rosé
- 2010: not produced
- 2011: will be released as a rosé
- 2012: will be released as a white Champagne
- 2013: will be released as a white Champagne
Both Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir still exist in Jacquesson’s 6 ha in Vauzelle Terme, that are divided into three plots. The Pinot Meunier plots are now used for the 700 cuvée and the Pinot Noir plot of 1.35 ha is now the sole origin of all vintages of the Vauzelle Terme-labelled Champane from the 2007 vintage and on.
My impressions of the three wines we tasted:
Dizy Corne Bautray 2004
Blanc de blancs, from a 1 ha (2.5 acres) vineyard with southwestern slope and much clay, alluvial silt and gravel, Chardonnay planted in 1960. Disgorged February 2013.
The nose is smoky with mineral, green and yellow apples with a hint of yellow plums, some spice, and after some time in the glass also rum raisins. Furthermore a finely developed note with some mushroom and modeling clay. An open nose that is more developed and approachable than the Avize Champ Caïn. The palate is dry and rather firm with a powerful concentration, yellow and green apples, high acidity, a powerful mineral note that bites mid-palate, as well as mineral and citrus in the aftertaste. Approachable now, could develop more. 94 p
This Champagne had improved significantly since our last encounter in February! Although it still differs quite a lot from Avize Champ Caïn and from the “regular style” of high-class blanc de blancs, I now perceive its notes as more harmonious and more or less ready in their development. Yummy!
An interesting comment from Jean-Hervé was that he doesn’t know why his father chose to plant Chardonnay in this vineyard in 1960. Dizy does have a rather even mixture of grape varieties, but I suppose he meant that this vineyard could have been planted with Pinot Noir.
Avize Champ Caïn 2004
Blanc de blancs, from a 1.3 ha (3.2 acres) vineyard with a mild southern slope with clay, sand and silt, and a high proportion of chalk gravel, Chardonnay planted in 1962. Disgorged February 2013.
Nose with green apple, mineral, pronounced citrus notes, and a faint vanilla note. Initially the nose is discrete, and after some time in the glass, notes of ripe fruit and white currants come along. Overall a typical blanc de blancs nose. Dry and firm on the palate but with good concentration, green apple, powerful citrus notes, pronounced minerality, high acidity, and a long mineral-dominated aftertaste with citrus and apple. More citrus with time in the glass. Clearly blanc de blancs-styled with fine body, young and firm, 93+ p.
Of these three, the Champ Caïn will need the most time to peak, but those who enjoy young blanc de blancs are probably not going to hold anything against this one already.
Aÿ Vauzelle Terme 2004
Blanc de noirs, from a 0.3 ha (0.75 acres) vineyard with a directly south-facing slope with alluvial limestone-rich soil on blocks of chalk, 100% Pinot Noir planted in 1980. Disgorged February 2013.
Nose with red apples and a clear apple peel note, discrete note of wild strawberries, some peach (going a bit in the canned peach direction) and nectarine, some flowery notes that grew with time, spice, some smoke and bready notes. A powerful nose with a clear “Pinot profile”. Dry palate with red apples, powerful concentration and a powerful minerality, some spice, high acidity, and a long aftertaste with red and green apple. Drinks well now, could develop, 94+ p.
Very firm taste for a Pinot Noir/blanc de noirs, more full-bodied and spicier than the two blanc de blancs. This is an expression of Pinot Noir that I very much enjoy!