Jacquesson: Non-Vintage Greatness
Jacquesson is an old illustrious house. They date back to the 18th century. They splintered in the 19th century, giving birth to Krug. Throughout the 20th century, they were reliably found on the wine lists of Parisian 3 stars. And then they decided to change everything.
In 2000, Jacquesson scrapped their branded non-vintage Brut -- the kind of wine that every other house produces, indistinguishable on the label, and often in the glass, from earlier releases from the same house. Instead, they started naming their non-vintage Champagnes sequentially by number, starting with 728 (because it was the 728th Champagne that the house had released). 728 was base vintage 2000. Each release since then has a new number, based on the next vintage. We are now up to 746. Quality and individual personality has taken the place of Champagne's usual obsession with consistency.
Production methods were also massively upgraded. Jacquesson makes its non-vintage wines mostly with fruit that they grow themselves, with the balance coming from neighboring sites that they oversee. They blend Champagne’s three principal grapes, including reserve wines, based on vintage conditions to make the best possible wine. Fermentations occur in giant oak barrels, dosage is kept to a minimum (the 746 is an Extra Brut), and the wines are aged sur latte for almost five years. It’s an approach that combines boutique house traditionalism with the precise techniques used by the most demanding Grower producers.
Jacquesson's revolution has been incredibly successful, and the 700 series Champagnes are now widely admired and sought after for their combination of refinement and power. Peter Liem, author of Champagne, has described it as the best non-vintage wine of Champagne.
The 746 is based on the 2018 vintage. It’s a vintage that is being heralded by many as a truly great one for its power and ripeness. While initially some growers were concerned about the vintage’s low total acidity levels, it actually ended up surprising everyone for its normal levels of tartaric acid – the kind that is crucial for giving Champagne its marvelously crisp structure.
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