“Christophe Constant has put a highly personal stamp on this domaine, creating wines of intense expression and vivid personality. His champagnes are always racy and tense, characterized by their prominent malic acidities, yet they’re rarely aggressive, achieving a carefully judged and finely tuned harmony. This is one of the top estates in the Côte des Blancs today. –Peter Liem, Champagneguide.net
♦ Core vineyards are Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Chardonnay
♦ Also prime holdings in Avize, Oger, Vertus and Villeneuve
♦ Old vines – average is 40 years
♦ Harvests ripe grapes
♦ Uses lower dosage
♦ Intense and tensile wines
In the heart of the chalk wonderland that is Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Christophe Constant of Champagne JL Vergnon has turned a small 5 hectare estate into an elite producer in the village. The domaine as it exists today was established in 1950, and it was in 1985 that Jean-Louis Vergnon first began producing estate-bottled wine. In 2002, seeking to gain the most from their enviable holdings primarily in the village of Le Mesnil, the family brought in the talented Christophe Constant to take over all aspects of farming and winemaking. With his infusion of energy and an inspired sense of direction, Christophe upgraded the farming practices on the domaine’s prized, old vine vineyards and began to make highly personal wines full of power and tension. Under his stewardship, JL Vergnon has turned into one of the most exciting growers in the Côtes des Blancs.
At Champagne JL Vergnon, the grapes are always harvested ripe, up to 11 degrees of natural potential alcohol or more. This allows Christophe to completely eliminate chaptalization, block malolactic fermentation, and use a very low dosage across his wines. As he puts it, “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. But it’s not true—you just have to harvest ripe grapes.” Most of the wines are vinified in stainless steel tanks and aged for a minimum of 36 months on the lees before release. In the last few years, he has experimented with using small barrique to vinify parcels separately. This type of vinification was first used in the all barrel made cuvée ‘Confidence’. Tasting through the remarkable range of wines, there exists the classic virile qualities of Le Mesnil that has made this village so famous and lauded around the world. They also possess their own unique personalities that come from the singular vision of Christophe Constant. It is this combination of exceptional terroir and inspired winemaking talent that has caught the attention of the world’s Champagne enthusiasts, and we couldn’t be prouder to welcome JL Vergnon to the Skurnik Wines family.
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