Jean Vesselle Brut Reserve 100% Grand Cru
Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
A magnificent, elegantly structured Champagne that exudes flavors of peach, crisp apple and toast. A finely balanced, fresh Champagne that spends 30 months on lees. This 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay blend (from 30+ year old vines) drinks like a vintage wine. Honeysuckle blossoms tickle the aromatic nose. Toasty, lovely notes of warm, crusty oatmeal biscuits drizzled with molasses and sweet, red fruits characterize the bountiful, layered mouth.
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Powerful, vinous and beautifully resonant, Vesselle's NV Brut Réserve hits all the right notes. The richness and radiance that make Bouzy Champagnes so compelling comes through in spades. Rich red stone fruit, spice, leather and lightly honeyed notes all form a super-attractive fabric of aromas and flavors in this deep, intensely satisfying NV Champagne. What a gorgeous wine this is."
Wine Spectator - "Emphasizing pinot noir’s richness (80 percent of the blend) with hints of chamomile from the chardonnay (20 percent), this has brisk notes of strawberries and tart pink grapefruit. It’s chalky and tense, with touches of sweetness to contrast and broaden the tight feel of the bubbles."
Jean Vesselle Winery
Delphine Vesselle is a perfect example of what the next generation of winemakers in Champagne (or France, for that matter) is capable. Trained both in France as well as in South Africa and Australia, Delphine is steeped in both modern techniques and family tradition. The ancient family estate (more than 300 years old) is located in the Côte de Noirs town of Bouzy, most famous for its powerful Pinot Noir wines. Her wines have a classic Bouzy signature, but also show impressive finesse and grace.
After the death of her father, Jean Vesselle, in 1996, Delphine has preserved his memory by continuing the family tradition of making outstanding Champagne. She told us that she "tries hard every day to honor his confidence by working towards quality and respect for the wine, with passion and dedication."
The family wines hail from two vineyards which they own. Their vine holdings are 90% Pinot Noir (much of which grows on mineral-rich Kimmeridgian soil) and 10% Chardonnay.
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About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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