Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Night Bubbles

NV Jacquesson Brut Cuvée 732, $42, Winebow. I just discovered in reading the Wine Doctor's profile that Jacquesson was purchased in 1974 by the Chiquet family. Gaston Chiquet, also in Dizy, makes great wines that are part of Terry Theise's lineup. So, when Jean-Hervé and Laurent Chiquet (Jacquesson) sit down to dinner with their brother, or cousin, or whatever Gaston is to them, how do they decide which wine they will drink? I wish I had such problems.

Cuvée 732 is Jacquesson's version of a NV Brut wine. It is unusual as a non-vintage wine in that it is more of a vintage-specific wine. 732 is based on the 2004 vintage (79% of the blend), and is meant to showcase its identity as a wine made from 2004's grapes. Next year's version of this wine, Cuvée 733, will be all about the 2005 grapes, and depending on the character of the wines made from those grapes, it could be a very different wine. Yes, that's right - unlike most NV Brut wines, particularly those made by the bigger houses, the character of this wine can change each year.

The wine went through many changes in the glass. Not an auspicious beginning, with a cider-y nose, somewhat simple with loads of apple on the palate, and a rather thin feeling to the wine altogether. I had high expectations for this wine, and so I was feeling rather disappointed.

I'd read great things about this wine - it was Peter Liem's Wine of the Week back in May. It was part of the Wine & Spirits blind Champagne tasting a few weeks ago, and I loved it there, it was absolutely one of my favorite non-vintage wines. So what was going on with my bottle?!?

Jacquesson's wines offer a bevy of great information on the back label, something that I hope becomes more common. My bottle was disgorged in the 2nd quarter of 2007. I put Peter's photograph through an accelerator mass spectrometer, and determined that the bottle he reviewed was disgorged in the 3rd quarter of 2007. The dosage is the same - 3.5 grams. Could a few more months on the lees make such a big difference? And what about the bottle we tasted blind in the Wine & Spirits office, when was it disgorged?

As the night progressed, the nose took on a more complex character, with hazelnuts, baked apples, and a bit of toast. A lovely nose in the end, but it took a while. The palate too - a very smooth texture with great acidity, and nice flavors of roast almonds and citrus. Stately and elegant. The finish was chalky and fragrant with green apples. I liked this wine very much, but it is definitely not the same wine I tasted at Wine & Spirits. In the interest of science, I recently purchased a bottle of 732 that was disgorged in the 4th quarter of 2007. We'll get to the bottom of this yet.


Do Bianchi said...

Jacquesson is awesome... is it possible the bottle was mishandled at some point?

Brooklynguy said...

hey Jeremy - there was nothing wrong with the wine, it in good condition and rather tasty. just not as good as the other bottle, which i'm guessing was a different disgorgement. and the one Peter had was also a different disgorgement. i'm interested to learn more about how the difference of a few months might make for such a different wine.

Vinogirl said...

Still sounds like a nice bubbly.

Peter Liem said...

Mine was indeed 3rd quarter. (Although it actually said 3rd trimester... I'm choosing to ignore that right now.) I'm interested to see how your 4th quarter is. Yet also remember that we're tasting in vastly different locations, which I believe has even more impact than disgorgement date. Not that tasting in America is bad, but I would not expect my 3rd quarter to taste exactly the same in NYC as in Dizy. Still, it's disappointing that you were disappointed.

Also, just to be annoyingly ornery, I'll state my response to your statement: "unlike most NV Brut wines, particularly those made by the bigger houses, the character of this wine can change each year." The character of the wine always changes every year. Most houses just don't admit it!

Brooklynguy said...

it was a nice bubbly, better than 'nice.' it just wasn't what i remembered, and that was probably wine that was disgorged later than the one I drank this time. i'm really looking forward to the 4th qtr wine.

Anonymous said...

I always buy one Jacquesson's N.V case per year in order to drink one of each per year, and I've not yet begun the 732 case. 730 and 731 were fine last time I opened one.
Does Jacquesson suffer from seasick ???
I'm looking forward to buying 733...
Hopefully Jacquesson is redesigning its website, we will soon have updated news.

You could also try Philipponnat's N.V which is currently based on 2004 (Big up to them as they also give a lot of info)