Lassaigne Clos Sainte Sophie 2015
Regular price $240.00
Unit price per
Region: Montgueux, Aube, Champagne, France
Soils: Chalk + Clay
Vinification: Direct press, then fermented in various barrels
Aging: Aged for 3-5 years on the lees, then disgorged. No dosage.
Fining or Filtering: Disgorged
Sulfur: Small amount at pressing
Notes from the Importer: Jacques Lassaigne is a 4.7 hectare family vineyard located in Montgueux. The vineyards boast prime southeastern exposure & consist primarily of Chardonnay vines (94%) & the rest is made up of Pinot Noir (6%). The Montgueux vineyard sites were originally held for the Montrachet of Champagne & are located near the gates of Troyes—the former capital of Champagne. The terroir in Montgueux is nearly identical to the growing sites found further north in le Mesnil, as they share the same limestone vain —this is exceptional terroir for making great champagne. The non-vintage Blanc de Blanc is a blend of nine different vineyard sites & two successive vintages.
Emmanuel Lassaigne, Jacques’ son who now runs the vineyard, began working the vines in 1999, and made the bold decision to craft wines from individual parcels. At the time his local neighbors thought him a fool and didn’t understand the method behind his madness. Emmanuel makes all the important decisions with the wine virtually alone, and experiments boldly in ways that baffle us with their courageousness, for when he decides to make a change, he isn’t able to fully realize the results of that change for another 3-4 years.
The initial tank or barrel fermentations of all Emmanuel’s wine is carried out with only indigenous yeast. He sulfurs minimally at press to prevent oxidation, and then never adds any sulfur again. Emmanuel disgorges all the bottles by hand himself, a very uncommon practice in Champagne, where machine disgorgement is the norm. He developed this technique so he wouldn’t have to top up the bottles after disgorgement.
Clos Saint-Sophie is a site that was owned by Marcel Dupont, a friend of the French botanist Charles Baltet, author of an important 19th-century treatise on grafting, and Baltet used the Clos for experiments. Rather than having any kind of ecclesiastical origin, the vineyard in fact takes its name from Dupont's wife. In 1876, Emperor Meiji of Japan sent two Japanese to Montgueux to study viticulture at the Clos Saint-Sophie, and in 1877, they imported 100 vines to Japan. Thus, the first plantings in history of vitas vinifera in Japan—on Mount Fuji—are inextricably linked with this small corner of the Aube. Today, the Clos is owned by the Valton family—better known as the proprietor of childrens' clothing brand Petit Batteau—and Lassaigne makes the wine. When most of Montgueux's vineyards were been abandoned after the War, the Clos was one of the few to remain in cultivation, so it represents a living link with the village's past.