Last edited on 11/23/2009 by win
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Gold. Light. Eternal. Ephemeral. These describe the Champagnes of Jean Laurent. Jean's family has been growing wine in the village of Celles-sur-Ource for more than 1,000 years. The estate is situated in the Aube, an outlying Champagne district south of Marne that shares the same chalky soils as the heart of Champagne and Chablis.
Jean farms a total of 39 acres, split between Pinot Noir (30 acres) and Chardonnay (9 acres), with no Pinot Meunier. Though the Aube is unquestionably Pinot Noir territory and his flagship wine is the Blanc de Noirs, Jean has enjoyed spectacular success with his Blanc de Blancs, and is planting/purchasing more Chardonnay vines to meet demand.
The basic NV bruts (Blanc de Noirs, Blanc de Blancs and Rosť) are typically blended from three vintages, and aged a minimum of 3 years on the yeast. Vintage Champagnes are only produced in exceptional years and are generally released after 10 years of age. Jean also has a treasure cellar of older vintages and large format bottles that are disgorged and labeled to order. They are not inexpensive, but are an excellent option for those searching for a special jeroboam or the perfect anniversary bottle.
As a RM ("Recoltant Manipulant" - the French term for Grower's Champagne), Jean makes Champagnes exclusively from his own vineyards. Many consumers have begun to favor Grower's Champagne over the Grande Marques labels, which often offer high quality and a true house style, but little in the way of the expression of terroir, as the basic bruts are often blended from a wide range of Champagne districts. Jean Laurent is a prime example of how deeply traditional winemaking, estate-grown fruit, small batch vinification, and a fanatical devotion to quality can result in distinctive Champagnes of individuality and character.