We are continuing our series to take a look at one of our favorite winemakers, Emmanuel Lassaigne. Manu is a rare breed: someone who works very instinctively and puts all his powers of creativity into action, seemingly without fear of failure or concern for what the market wants. He makes the Champagnes he wants to make, and he takes huge risks in doing so; risks that others would never even consider taking. He does all this almost entirely by himself, working alone in the vines and in his cellar throughout the year. We find the results to be truly stunning: incredibly focused and alive wines of terroir that are crystal clear renderings of the best Champagne has to offer. We’ll continue with this series throughout the fall season.
Emmanuel disgorges every single bottle of his wine by hand, himself. This is unheard of in Champagne. Emmanuel doesn’t like to top off bottles. Normally Champagne is frozen at the neck for disgorgement, and then when the cap is removed, the frozen dead yeast expels itself. This involves a loss of some wine, which must then be topped up from other bottles. Emmanuel has figured out a technique, which when done correctly, leaves a perfectly clear Champagne with virtually no loss of wine. As he explains in this video we shot of him last year, one must raise the bottle at a certain tempo while popping the cap off. If you do it too slow, you’ll have an empty bottle, and if you do it too fast, you’ll have a cloudy bottle as much of the sediment falls to the bottom: