Glass of Bubbly Issue 15
Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis
With a budget of $400 US, or $850, one can easily obtain one of the best Champagnes in the world, a bottle of Salon or Krug Clos de Mesnil. With any luck, the Grand Cru Chardonnay-based bubbly will be expressive, generous and fine, though this may take years of rest in your cellar. For a fraction of that, the top of the line bottling from Andre Jacquart, their 2006 Millesime Experience Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Champagne, at $86.99, offers a more immediately captivating and rare view into the beauty of the Le Mesnil vineyard and its haunting nature.
With 27 hectares of prime grand cru Chardonnay in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Andre Jacquart has clearly established a reputation for its fine tuned and powerful wines. Founded in 1958, the estate has since 2004 been managed by Marie Doyard and her brother Benoit, grandchildren of Andre and great-grandchildren of CIVC founder Maurice Doyard. Vines are an average of 40 years old, and as with Krug and a handful of other well-known producers, vinification of the base wine is in neutral barrels, giving the final product a more wine-like depth of character and a touch of oxidation. Their Champagnes benefit from long aging in the cellar before release, 4 years for the non-vintage and 5-8 years for the vintage cuvees. All are exquisitely bone dry due to low to no dosage. While this Recoltant-Manipulant/Farmer Fizz is a family, not corporate operation, their annual 100,000 bottle production makes them easy enough to find. Champagne guru Richard Juhlin, in Scent of Champagne, says “Andre Jacquart is one of the growers of the area who is on the rise and whose Champagne is soon expected to fetch exorbitant prices.”
The nv Andre Jacquart Brut Experience Vertus/Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne, 12%, 750 ml, $49.99, is an elegant, fine and tart 100% Chardonnay with notes of lemon, honey, almond tart, pine needle and beach stone.
The nv Andre Jacquart Mesnil Experience Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Champagne, 12%, 750 ml, $61.99, is a light, fine, elegant and bone dry 100% Chardonnay with notes of lemon curd, white flowers, almond biscotti, honey and chalk.
The stunning 2006 Andre Jacquart Millesime Experience Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Champagne, 12%, 750 ml, $86.99, is an elegant and expressive 100% Chardonnay with very fine mousse and notes of lemon, melon rind, chamomile, chalk, gingerbread cookie and toasted baguette.
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