Jacques Lassaigne

Jacques Lassaigne is a 4.7-hectare family vineyard located in Montgueux. The vineyards boast prime southeastern exposure and consist entirely of Chardonnay. The Montgueux vineyard sites were originally held for the Montrachet of Champagne and are located near the gates of Troyes—the former capital of Champagne. This area is technically part of the Aube department, but is much further north than what people typically think of as the Aube, in the Cote des bars which features wines often primarily made from Pinot Meunier. The terroir in Montgueux is nearly identical to the growing sites found further north in le Mesnil, as they share the same limestone vein —this is exceptional terroir for making great champagne. An intense backbone of acidity is often present in these wines, but since it is located further south than the storied Cotes des blancs, ripening is not as much of an issue. The non-vintage Blanc de Blancs is a blend of nine different vineyard sites & two successive vintages.

Emmanuel Lassaigne, Jacques’ son who now runs the vineyard, began working the vines in 1999, and made the bold decision to craft wines from individual parcels. At the time his local neighbors thought of him as a fool and didn’t understand the methods behind his madness. Emmanuel makes all the important decisions regarding the wine virtually alone, and experiments boldly in ways that baffle us with his courageousness, for when he decides to make a change, he isn’t able to fully realize the results of that change for another 3, 4, 5 or even 10 years.

The initial tank or barrel fermentations of all Emmanuel’s wine is carried out with only indigenous yeast. He introduces sulfur minimally at pressing to prevent oxidation, and then never adds any sulfur again. Emmanuel disgorges all the bottles by hand himself, a very uncommon practice in Champagne, where machine disgorgement is the norm. He developed this technique so that he wouldn’t have to top up the bottles after disgorgement. You can see his unique timing technique in the video below.

Check out Levi Dalton’s interview with Emmanuel on episode 141 of the I’ll Drink to that Podcast!

Check out Jenny’s husband Jimmy’s photo gallery from the 2018 Harvest here! 

www.montgueux.com

 

 
 
 

Vignes de Montgueux Brut Blanc de Blancs: (non-vintage) — Back to the top

Lassaigne Blanc de Blancs tech sheet

Age of Vines: 35 Years

Yields: 60 hl/ha

Pruning Method: Guyot

Soil: Heavy clay and chalk

Varieties: Chardonnay

The grapes are harvested by hand—from 9 different sites—at their maximum ripeness before being destemmed & gently pressed. The fruit undergoes complete malolactic fermentation & no sulfites are added to the blend. The wine is aged in new & old barrels for 12 to 24 months and held in bottle for 1 to 5 years until it is disgorged, corked & released.

Tasting Note: Pale straw in the glass with lovely mineral, dried fruit and citrus zest aromatics that reflect the purest expression of the Montgueux terroir. The palate is vibrantly alive with crisp citrus and melon flavors that are backed by deft acidity & dazzling minerality. The finish resonates with succulent citrus notes.

Pairing: A wonderful match to oysters, seafood and shellfish. And of course, by itself.


Le Cotet: (non-vintage) — Back to the top

Lassaigne Le Cotet tech sheet

Click here to read more about the le Cotet bottle Solera System used to make this wine in Nick’s blog post.

Age of Vines: 40+ Years

Yields: 60 hl/ha

Pruning Method: Guyot

Soil: Heavy clay and chalk

Varieties: Chardonnay

Vinification Method: The grapes are harvested by hand from the Le Cotet parcel at their maximum ripeness before being destemmed and gently pressed. The fruit undergoes complete malolactic fermentation and no sulfites are added to the blend. The wine is aged in new & old barrels for 12 to 24 months and held in bottle for 1 to 5 years until it is disgorged, corked & released. Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs.

Tasting Note: This cuvée comes from a single vineyard called “Le Cotet”. Here, the 40+ year-old vines are deeply rooted in the chalky hillside, at the furthest eastern part of the Montgueux vineyards. A mineral wine, very fresh, that exhibits lemony notes on the finish.

Pairing: A wonderful match to oysters, seafood and shellfish.


La Colline Inspirée (non-vintage) — Back to the top

Lassaigne La Colline Inspiré tech sheet

Age of Vines: 40+ Years

Yields: 60 hl/ha

Pruning Method: Guyot

Soil: Heavy clay and chalk

Varieties: Chardonnay

Vinification Method: The unique path of the Colline Inspirée is that it is vinified and aged entirely in barrel. This process does not add any oak flavoring to the wine as the barrels are old. What it does add is a sumptuous essence of oxidation, similar to a fine aged white burgundy.

Tasting Notes: This wine is opulent and creamy, showing gorgeous hazelnut overtones and fresh baked brioche undertones.


Millésime  — Back to the top

While some champagne houses release a vintage cuvée only when conditions are what they deem best, Emmanuel makes a vintage cuvée every single year, to display the variation each year brings to the wines. He says the results often surprise even him, certain vintages he thought the wine was lackluster, but when he revisits that wine several years down the road he discovers the wine just needed time to come into its own and is in fact one of his favorites. 

Age of Vines: 40+ Years

Yields: 60 hl/ha

Pruning Method: Guyot

Soil: Heavy clay and chalk

Varieties: Chardonnay

Vinification notes: This wine is a blend of 2 or 3 parcels (not always the same parcels). The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks for about 8 months, then ages in bottle on the lees for 8 years before it is disgorged  


Clos Sainte-Sophie  — Back to the top

Clos Sainte-Sophie is a special parcel in the heart of Montgueux that Emmanuel vinifies on its own. 

Age of Vines: 40+ Years

Yields: 60 hl/ha

Pruning Method: Guyot

Soil: Heavy clay and chalk

Varieties: Chardonnay

Vinification Method: The Clos Sainte-Sophie juice is vinified in a combination of barrels previously used for Cognac, Savagnin ouillé (from Ganevat), and Burgundy barrels for 6 months. The juice is then blended in tank for 2 months. The wine is bottled in the spring of the following vintage and then spends 6 years on the lees in bottle. 

Tasting notes: This wine is opulence personified. Intense laser-beams of acidity balance out the caramel notes here and the finish goes on and on for millennia. This wine pairs well with  long-lived wedding anniversaries and doctoral dissertation completions, or it will make whatever random moment you decide to open one as special as either of those rare events. Extremely limited and unicorn-like. 


Ephemeral Cuvées  — Back to the top

Each year Emmanuel crafts one or two unique wines that he will never make again. He refers to these wines in an “Acte” and “Scène” numbering scheme. This is Manu’s place to tinker, perhaps with skin maceration, use of pinot noir to make a rosé, elevage in barrels previously used for vin jaune, or anything else Manu’s imagination can come up with. If you’re lucky enough to find a bottle of one of these special wines, we recommend immediate consumption with someone you are close with.