Champagne Jacquesson & Fils Brut Rosé NV
In Champagne, one of the most northerly of wine growing regions, the concept of a consistent tasting non-vintage cuvée was developed as it can help a producer disguise any problems caused by a difficult growing season; however, this also means that in great years the better qualities in the raw materials that are available to the winemaker have to be sacrificed in order to maintain a House blend. Jacquesson ceased making non-vintage cuvées that aimed for the same taste from year to year some years ago. They also eschew the use of herbicides. They use only the cuvée from each pressing and have absolutely no hesitation, in difficult vintages, in rejecting juice which does not meet high standards. The non-vintage wines retain the best of every harvest and faithfully reflect the characteristics of the base vintage whilst benefiting from the addition of some vins de réserve. Therefore, the wines have a personality which can be quite different depending on their base vintage, which means they each need to have their own identity. Thus Cuvée No 733, based on the 2005 vintage, succeeds Cuvée No 732 which was based on the 2004 vintage. There were no dramas with the weather in 2005. Winter was cold and dry, spring mild and tranquil, July a bit wetter than optimal so that the heat and humidity experienced between 15 August and 15 September favoured the development of botrytis. Happily, harvest took place in a second half of September that was blessed with sunny weather and the final stages of ripening took place under very good weather conditions. The wines were vinified, as usual, in large oak casks on their lees, with weekly bâtonnage and with absolutely no filtration. The Chardonnays were very aromatic and balanced with good potential for ageing, the Pinot Noirs were fine and vinous while the Pinot Meuniers were fruity but less complex. The blend is composed of 52% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier and the wines from the 2005 harvest were completed with reserve wines from 2004 (16%) and 2001 (6%).
Champagne is at the northernmost limit where it is possible to cultivate vitis vinifera successfully. Jacquesson's home village of Dizy lies at a latitude of 49°04 north; its mean annual temperature is a mere 10° C (50° F). The harsh local climate is partly responsible for the typicity of this very special region, and requires great skill and care in the husbandry of the vineyards to allow them to develop and express the distinctive nuances which set them apart.
Very good, fine mousse upon pouring. Color of ripe barley. The texture upon entry is gentle and pleasing; no soda-like coarseness to be had here. Flavor is toast and melted butter with just a touch of nutmeg. After 5 minutes in the glass, the wine continues to effervesce nicely. A well-made NV Champagne which I can whole-heartedly recommend.
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