Represented by Clément Vergnon & Julien Goût
Jean-Louis Vergnon began producing estate-bottled champagnes in 1985, although the estate has been in existence since 1950, and the family’s roots in the area go back for five generations. Since 2002, Christophe Constant has been in charge of the cellars, and he is in the midst of transforming this estate into one of the finest producers in the village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.
The J.-L. Vergnon estate owns a little over five hectares of vineyards, all planted with chardonnay and spread over the villages of Le Mesnil, Oger, Avize, Vertus and Villeneuve. Since Constant’s arrival, he has consciously made an effort to harvest riper grapes, up to 11 degrees of natural potential alcohol or more, which allows him to completely eliminate chaptalization. Also, this riper fruit allows Constant to avoid the malolactic, which would otherwise be typically advisable with the intense acidity of chardonnay from the southern Côte des Blancs, and it permits him to reduce the level of dosage. “Some people say that in Le Mesnil, with no malo, if you don’t dose these young wines with ten or 11 grams of sugar they’re undrinkable,” says Constant. “But it’s not true—you just have to harvest ripe grapes.”
The wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks, and bottling is relatively late, following six months of aging on the fine lees. While the cellar is not yet equipped for vinifying a great number of parcels separately, Constant began experimenting with 300-liter barrels from a local Champenois cooper in 2004, which permit him to isolate selected parcels for a special cuvée called Confidence.
Information courtesy of Peter Liem's ChampagneGuide.net ©