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All wine, most of the time

oenopole trade tasting (1/4): Jacques Lassaigne

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In the run-up to the Salon des vins d’importation privée, oenopole held a couple of trade tastings led by their visiting winemakers and was kind enough to offer non-trade me a seat. Unfortunately, Arianna Occhipinti and Elena Pantaleoni (La Stoppa) were detained by hurricane Sandy, though they did make it to town in time for the various other activities.

The tasting began with three champagnes from the house of Jacques Lassaigne and presented by Jacques’s son and the current winemaker, Emmanuel. Planted to Chardonnay and a little Pinot Noir, the approximately five-hectare estate is located in Montgeux, a chalky hill in the southernmost part of the appellation. A small quantity of grapes is also purchased. All the grapes are organically farmed and the wine-making is as natural as possible. Disgorgement is performed monthly, surely one of the reasons why all the wines taste fresh.

Champagne, Brut, Blanc de blancs, Les vignes de Montguex, Jacques Lassaigne ($55.00, oenopole)
Always a blend of wines from two successive vintages and several parcels. The vintages here were 2008 (27%) and 2009 (73%). 15% is matured in cask. Emmanuel Lassaigne describes it as an aperitif wine, a role it performs supremely well, though it also makes a killer accompaniment for sushi.
Electrum to the eye. Pleasing nose of lemon, green melon, minerals, yeast and a lactic note. Super fine, tingly effervescence. Quite dry. Light lemon over a chalky substrate. Lingering savoury note. Clean, bright, refreshing.

Champagne 2005, Jacques Lassaigne ($105.00, oenopole)
No barrel or dosage. No sugar added during disgorging.
More golden. Richer, sweeter, winier nose redolent of yellow apple. Soft effervescence with bigger bubbles. Mouth-filling but not heavy. Comes across as less acidic and mineral-driven than the Vignes de Montguex, though that’s due to the richness of the fruit, not to any lack of minerals and acidity. Excellent balance and complexity of flavour. Broad, deep and long. Beautiful now but also capable of improving with time in the cellar. My favourite of the three.

Champagne, Extra Brut, Blanc de blancs, La Colline inspirée, Jacques Lassaigne (price to be announced but probably over $100, oenopole)
A blend of 2007 and 2008. Vinified and aged on the lees in used white Burgundy barrels. In the past this has been bottled only in magnums, though this year oenopole will have some standard 750 ml bottles.
Bronzer. Complex bouquet: golden apple, citrus, chalk, toast, brioche, a faint floral note and a hint of souring milk. The softest and fleshiest of the three. Some sweetness on the attack but dry on the finish. Oxidizing sour apples, candied citrus zest and lingering crystals. Long, round and layered. Less structured than the Millésime 2005, but no less appealing: a deluxe vin plaisir.

Written by carswell

November 5, 2012 at 12:01

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  1. […] seafood, pasta and braised and grilled meat dishes, all tailored to an impressive series of wines: Champagne Jacques Lassaigne to start, then COS’s Rami, Frappato, Nero di Lupo, Cerasuolo di Vittoria and Maldafrica, with […]

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