The first part of any conversation when talking about the Champagnes from Jacques Lassaigne should be Montgueux, the location, because Montgueux (“mon-gou”) is something of a ‘island’ in Champagne. Essentially it’s a hillside village on a raised section formed 15 million years prior to the rest of Champagne, it’s made of mostly chalk soils, lies miles South of Côtes des Blancs yet still North of Côtes des Bars and is planted mostly to Chardonnay.
Champagne Jacques Lassaigne is now run by Jacques’ son, Emmanuel, who took control of the estate in 1999 and made the decision to start separating out the parcels and vinifying them separately to show the differences of their 9 sites within Montgueux. They own and lease a total of 4.7 hectares and have been farming organically since day one.
The winery is located at the top of their hillside vineyard at the very top of Montgueux, where their hand harvested fruit goes into a traditional vertical press as whole bunches and the smallest amount of sulphur is added to the fruit to prevent any adverse microbial behaviour or oxidation. After that the wines are never adjusted or added to in any way whatsoever (even after disgorgement). The juice is then gravity fed to the cellar below, where the majority of the ferments takes place in stainless steel. Primary fermentation is always wild/natural, the wines are never adjusted, secondary fermentation is done using their own native neutral yeast strain, and, aided by the cool, underground chalk cellars, they always seek to achieve a very fine bubble at a low pressure.
All of the wines are 100% Chardonnay, so Blanc de Blancs, all are without any dosage (so Brut Nature, though Emmanuel prefers to label the larger-production cuvées as Extra Brut as most consumers are unfamiliar with that term), and as a result of the low carbonation levels, all bottles are able to be disgorged by hand without any topping up. All of the wines spend an extended time in the cellar, as much as 10 years before release.
Annual production: 4.7 ha
Montgueux, Champagne, France