Champagne Jacques Lassaigne has 4.7 hectares in Montgueux, 94% Chardonnay and 6% Pinot Noir, and also buys grapes very selectively from a few impressive farmers whom they have some influence over. As their wines are organic and as natural as possible, this is essential. Technically Jacques Lassaigne is a negociant, although their wines are Grower-Producer in style and taste. Jacques' son, Emmanuel Lassaigne, is the winemaker, at this family run house.
Montgeaux is a large chalky hill with similar terroir to more northern Mesnil, famous for its Chardonnay, and sharing the same limestone vein. Unlike Mesnil and the also more northern Côte des Blancs, also well known for its Chardonnay, Montgeaux is more fruit forward reportedly due to its southern exposure and certainly due to its southern latitude. It is sometimes known as the "Montrachet of Champagne." The wines taste quite different and spectacular, and I immediately got melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe when trying these wonderful wines.
The Aube is primarily Pinot Noir territory, so you might consider Jacques Lassaigne or rather Montgueux to be an island of Chardonnay.
Wines are harvested by hand at their point of maximum ripeness, destemmed, and no sulfites at all are used. The wine is aged in both new and old oak barrels and undergoes complete malolactic fermentation.
The Aube has had a tenuous connection with the rest of Champagne since the Middle Ages, and there have even been riots in the past (1911 in The Marne Valley) to try to prevent Aube's grapes from making it into Champagne. The Aube's limestone rich soils in many ways more resemble the terroir of nearby Chablis than the more traditionally chalky Champagne terroir.
Although some major houses such as Veuve Cliquot and others source many of their grapes from the Aube, it has been considered a second run area. The only major house there is Drappier (and I do love their wines), and up and coming producers like Jacques Lassaigne, Cedric Bouchard, Jean-Pierre Fleury, Bertrand Gautherot, Serge Mathieu, Vouette and Sorbee, and Dosnon & Lepage are putting the area squarely on the quality map.
I would describe Jacques Lassaigne's wines as fruit forward, ripe, very pure, very classy, and certainly serious wines. They are not well known enough to qualify as cult wines, but are worth searching out in my opinion for the Champagne lover although they can be appreciated by just about anyone unless their taste sucks! This shit rocks, and well known wine and food blogger Brooklyn Guy refers to them as "Hipster Wines" so grow a goatee and search them out.
There wines include the entry level NV Les Vignes de Montgueux Brut Blanc de Blancs (tasting note below), NV Cuvée Le Cotet Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, a single vineyard wine with vines around 45 years old and east facing so reportedly not as fruit forward, Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs, the vintage wine made every year although some years in microscopic quantities simply for Emmanuel's curiosity and education, and NV La Colline Inspirée Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, vinified entirely in barrel and previously only available in magnum. They have make a Rose de Montgueux occasionally, 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir from Eastern exposed slopes. Most of his wines may need some aging to show best, but the NV Les Vignes de Montgueux Brut Blanc de Blancs does not!
Tasting Note: La Colline Inspirée Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs - June 2015, rated B+/A-
Medium light yellow color, fine bubbles, and wow!
Deep cavernous chalk and minerals, as well as something warm and comforting on the nose.
The palate has immediate orange blossoms and is lip smacking delicious, apple, loads of minerals on the tailend. Touch of pineapple as it warms. At the very end a bit of mango.
Tasting Note: Rose de Montgueux Extra Brut NV - Jan 2015, rated A-
In a word, "Wow!"
Copper, pink, and a touch of blood red orange - lovely color!
The nose is very fresh with an animalistic quality, chalk, lots of minerals, very expansive, very nice. With air, raspberries and persimmons emerge. The raspberries were much more pronounced in a few sips that remained the next day.
On the palate this is quite masculine with primarily lots of minerals and plenty of red fruits: raspberries, strawberries, and cherries on the tail end end, nicely peering through the minerality instead of on top on par with it. Peaches and rebar. Persimmon. Copper ore (whatever that may taste like!).
Great body. An awesome wine!
Tasting Note: NV Cuvée Le Cotet Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs - Oct 2014, rated B+
This is from their 45+ year old east facing single vineyard "Le Cotet."
The nose has immediate lemon-lime, chalk, slight maritime seashell scents with builds with air, and minerals.
On the palate, there is a clean fresh apple, lemon-lime, and with air some pear and peaches.
Like every Lassaigne wine I've had, this took a while to open up and was a much different wine (and better wine) with an hour plus of air.
I think it's fair to say that these are all candidates for decanting.
Tasting Note: Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Deux Mille Cinq (2005) - Oct 2014, rated A-
This needs time as evidenced by the somewhat boring palate until it exploded after about an hour of air!
The nose was immediately impressive: very clean and crisp with delicate apple. With air, a lovely spicy chalkiness, a touch of orange peel, and hints of guava.
On the palate, initially boring with a little apple and seemingly some natural sweetness (no added sugar/dosage to this wine). After maybe an hour it exploded: very creamy lemon curd, long, elegant, truly superb.
Yowser. Worth searching out. This wine impresses me. I will decant it next time!
Tasting Note: NV Les Vignes de Montgueux Brut Blanc de Blancs - rated A-
Ohhhh La La!
A very light almost honeydew melon color with tinges of cucumber (yes, I wrote this after tasting - see below). A medium amount of mid sized bubbles.
Nose: Grapefruit, cantaloupe, baked bread, cucumber
Palate: Cantaloupe, Honeydew melon, a nice underlying mineral structure.
Very classy juice. Long and pure. Extremely elegant yet strong enough to hold up to a rather spicy Chinese green bean noodle and ground beef recipe I whipped up.