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The 746 is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, finished with a very low dosage at less than a gram per litre which lets all the purity of the fruit to come through. For the 2018 harvest in Aÿ, Dizy, Hautvillers (68%), Avize and Oiry (32%), the previous winter was exceptionally rainy, this was followed by a mild, stormy spring. The weather changed from June onwards, becoming fine and dry, resulting in a particularly early harvest: we started picking on 30 August and finished on 11 September. The vines were in perfect health and the harvest was abundant with an excellent degree of ripeness and moderate acidity. The resulting wines are particularly fine and elegant. – Jacquesson
For those unfamiliar with the concept, this is the Chiquets’ riposte to the concept of NV Champagne. “The Cuvée 700 concept is unique in Champagne and is the opposite of a non-vintage wine,” they explain. “We seek excellence rather than homogeneity, respect for the character of the vintage rather than its denial, and we prefer to strive for a great wine rather than maintain a ‘house style’.” They blend in small portions of reserve wines in order reinforce the complexity of the cuvée without hiding the character of the base year.
The wines come from Jacquesson’s three grands crus and two premiers crus, using only the first pressings. They’re vinified in oak casks, and almost always unfiltered. They are thus, above all, a Grand Vin de Champagne. They have the potential to age for a remarkably long time – which is why Jacquesson offers it as both a current release (undergoing more than four years’ lees ageing in the bottle) and, further down the track, as a late-disgorged (“dégorgement tardif”, with more than nine years on yeast lees) wine.
So what’s this 700 business? Since the wine contains fruit from more than one harvest, it isn’t allowed to be identified by a year. Hence the numbering system – but the figure wasn’t plucked from thin air. When Laurent and Jean-Hervé ditched the NV convention in 2000, they decided to give the wine the production number the cuvée had in their cellar book. Cuvée n° 1 had been made in 1898 by Jacquesson to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Thus it was with Cuvée n° 728, based on the 2000 vintage, that their adventure began. Cuvée n° 739, the latest chapter, recounts the tale of 2011. That winter was freezing and wet, while the ensuing spring was very hot and dry, albeit with occasional frosts. Summer got off to a gloomy start but the growing season ﬁnished with much better weather. Once again that trademark focus in the vineyard and winery brought about a precise, ﬁne and harmonious Champagne. The numbers, you see, tell a story – and the Chiquets are happy to share it. “Their back labels are among the most informative of any Champagne house, shamelessly declaring disgorgement date, dosage, base vintage, blend and even productions quantities,” concludes Tyson Stelzer. “There are no secrets here, just great Champagnes, and better than ever.”
Four-fifths of the Jacquesson’s grapes come from its own vineyards.
The defiantly idiosyncratic 700-series wines reflect this singular approach,
From the 2018 harvest in Aÿ, Dizy, Hautvillers (68%), Avize and Oiry (32%)