Champagne is celebration in a glass, and Champagne Jacquart has every reason to rejoice in 2015. Fifty years young, Jacquart champagnes are modern in style, fresh and balanced, and blended to a higher standard, all at an affordable price.
Floriane Eznack, the dynamic young woman charged with defining Jacquart’s style for the next generation, recently came to Los Angeles to launch their 50th anniversary campaign. Meeting with wine writers at the On Sunset Restaurant within the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, corks were popped, wines poured and compared, and the strengths of Jacquart’s blend emerged from the fizzy bubbles. Only the first press of the finest grapes, extended fermentation, and a longer time aging in bottle elevates Jacquart’s wines. Since the art of Champagne is in the blend, which is consistent year after year, Eznack is channeling its spirit into the Mosaique Collection. Based on the concept of a mosaic work of art, these Champagnes speak of vineyard plots, yearly variations, and the efforts of over 200 people, to paint a cohesive vision of sparkling wine.
Maison Jacquart differs from many other Champagne houses, in that they partner with local growers, producing an artisan style of Champagne that reflects a montage of the vineyards in the region. In fact, Jacquart is the original “grower champagne”, starting with 30 families in 1962, and expanding to approximately 700 today. The numbers are impressive: 1,800 vineyards contribute fruit from 2,400 hectares of vines, of which 60% are located in the best or Cru sites, rated 90 and above on the Échelle des Crus classification scale. Currently, Jacquart produces 7% of Champagne’s total output, no small feat since there are hundreds of champagne houses in the region.
Floriane says she’s the “luckiest winemaker in Champagne”, charged with creating the future of the brand. With “no rules to follow”, she is free to “make her own rules”, and blend a contemporary style, using more Chardonnay to craft an elegant wine of freshness and finesse. Traditionally, Chardonnay was a smaller percentage of the formula, with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier contributing ripe fruit and structure. Blending grape varietals across different vineyard plots from multiple vintages yields a “house style” that is distinctive to each Champagne house. This is what makes Champagne unique, year in and year out, you can count on a very specific wine, with a palate that is consistent no matter the weather.
Four years into her mission, Eznack is one of just a handful of women cellar masters in Champagne, who create the blends, innovate the House style to keep with current trends, and ultimately, infuse the sparkling wines with a spirit unique to the brand. As the youngest cellar master in the Champagne region, Floriane says, “more women (in the field) will change the style of Champagne in the future”, and that she is there “to improve and enrich the style, to create a straightforward, smooth, appealing wine with a soft finish and a refined palate”.
The new Mosaique Collection translates Jacquart’s original mosaic concept into a modern triad of vineyard plots, vintages, and people. Made from grapes picked from a select 350 hectares, the wines undergo careful assemblage, a product of 3-4 months of daily tastings by the team to determine the blend. Then the wines undergo a minimum of 4 years aging in bottle, much more than the 15 months required by AOP law, which gives the champagne texture and complexity. We tasted two from the collection, the Brut Mosaique and the Rosé Mosaique, along with a vintage Blanc de Blancs and Prestige Cuvée.
Jacquart Brut Mosaique Champagne, their non-vintage Signature Cuvée, is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 25% Pinot Meunier. It’s bright bubbles, juicy acidity, mineral body, and flavors of apple, pear, pink grapefruit, almond, and fresh baked bread, accented by a touch of smoke, make for a refreshing sparkler, a great value for Champagne that retails for under $30.
Jacquart Rosé Mosaique Champagne is a non-vintage blend of 18% Pinot Noir and 82% of the Brut Mosaique blended still wine. Only in Champagne can a rosé wine be made by blending red and white wines together, and this wine is a beautiful salmon color with copper flecks. With a palate of red berries, cherry, licorice, and spice, this sparkler, according to Eznack, is “an aperitif, a wine for immediate pleasure, to share with friends”. With rosé wines exploding in popularity, and trending higher, Jacquart is bottling a 50th Anniversary Cuvée, a limited edition Brut Rosé Mosaique Magnum, to be released this July. Jacquart will also unveil the Rosé Cube glass, a break with the traditional champagne flute, where the flute shape is sculpted inside the cube, a modern design that still preserves the bubbles.
The Champagne Jacquart 2006 Blanc de Blancs is 100% Chardonnay, made in only the best vintages, more powerful and mineral, in an elegant unoaked style, with a palate of white peach and citrus, orange blossom, brioche, and white pepper. It’s a versatile, food-friendly wine, perfect with tapas and seafood.
And, finally, the Champagne Jacquart Prestige Cuvée Alpha 2006 is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. A rich wine of more depth, its chalky minerality, floral notes, ripe berry fruit with a touch of citrus, and silky texture, crowns this wine for Jacquart.
As for Floriane Eznack, her focus is keeping Jacquart contemporary, with an increasing focus on Chardonnay in the blends, since the Chardonnay grape “gives elegance and finesse and freshness, our style is really based on freshness”. It seems that Jaquart’s future is bright, and with Eznack at the helm, Champagne Jacquart is poised to be your go-to Champagne, to enjoy with friends, and bring you bubbly pleasure.