Champagne JL Vergnon
Visiting the Champagne
The first visit of this trip was with Christophe Constant (pictured
above), cellar master, who has worked here for 15 years.
Vergnon as a winery date back to the 1950s, and have 5.5 hectares in
the Côte des Blancs with 18 parcels in the Grand Crus (Cramant,
Oger, Avize) and 2 plots in Premier Crus (Vertus and Villeneuve).
For the last five years they've also been buying some grapes. They
also buy in some red wine for the rosé.
Le Mesnil on a chilly late April day
Most of their plots were planted around 15 years ago, and they work
the soil. They aren't organic but they are close. 'If the weather is
bad we might use systemic fungicide,' he says. 'I don't want to be
organic because it is difficult in Champagne.' Christophe says that
if you have lots of grass then you lose yield, which is why they
work the soil.
He reckons Le Mesnil is a really good terroir and it's possible to
reach good maturity there if the quantities aren't too high. 'You
can do wine at 15 tons/ha here but I think it is better at 10,' he
Vinification is in a mix of stainless steel (70%) and barrels (30%).
'We try to do wine before Champagne,' says Christophe. 'We are
looking to make wine with more personality and more complexity.
Before we made Champagne. Now we make wine with some bubbles.'
Production here is around 75 000 bottles annually, and half is
exported. These are very stylish grower Champagnes and worth looking
Champagne JL Vergnon Eloquence Extra Brut NV France
This is a Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs. Lively and expressive with a
fresh, lemony nose. Precise, tight, lemony palate is very pure and
detailed with a subtle herbal edge. There's great purity and focus
here with a subtle appley edge. Very tight with good acidity and
some subtle waxy notes in the background. 92/100
Champagne JL Vergnon Rose Motion Extra Brut Grand Cru NV
Base is 2012, with 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir (they buy the
red wine in for this), and only tank fermentation of the base wine.
Lively, bright and precise with an appley edge to the fruit. Very
crisp with a distinct herbiness. Laser sharp lemony finish. 91/100
Champagne JL Vergnon Brut Nature Grand Cru O.G 2010 France
This is from Oger, but can't be labelled so because Christoph
doesn't have a carnet de pressoir for it. In tank for 9 months, no
malolactic. There's some Chardonnay musque in the parcel. Complex,
taut, fruity lemon, apple and herb characters with some fine nut and
wax notes. Quite powerful with real complexity, and a slightly
savoury edge with good structure and focus. 93/100
Champagne JL Vergnon Resonance Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs
Grand Cru 2008 France
This is from a 1 hectare plot, with alcoholic fermentation in tank
and no malolactic. Disgorged December 2015 with 3 g/l dosage.
There's a supple creamy edge to the appley nose. Very powerful and
fresh with lovely lemony acidity and apple and herb notes. Taut and
pristine with some salinity. 94/100
Champagne JL Vergnon Confidence Brut Nature 2009 France
From two parcels, all aged in barrel. Complex, appley and
lemony on the nose with nuts and wax. The palate is savoury, intense
and complex with good structure and high acidity. Powerful and
complex with real intensity. Apples, lemons, nuts and spice here
with good depth. Powerful and gastronomic. 94/100
Clicquot Cave Privee Champagnes
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