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Lassalle’s Gold Standard Champagne

Lassalle’s Gold Standard Champagne

by Dixon Brooke by Dixon Brooke

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NV Champagne Brut 1er Cru “Cachet Or”

NV Champagne Brut 1er Cru “Cachet Or”

J. Lassalle   

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J. Lassalle    France   |  Champagne   |  Chigny-les-Roses

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You may have heard the term “grower” Champagne, referring to Champagnes made by vignerons and vigneronnes, as opposed to those produced by large marketing houses with fruit purchased from farmers. We import four such Champagnes, and Kermit started importing J. Lassalle long before it occurred to anyone else to buy directly from a small grower, much as he was a pioneer in buying direct in Bordeaux. Founder Jules Lassalle began to make his own Champagne in 1943 in Chigny-les-Roses on the Montagne de Reims. His wife Olga, his daughter Chantal, and his granddaughter Angéline have followed this master artisan’s example quite ably. 
     With a base wine that is a minimum of four years old, Cachet Or would be a reserve wine at most Champagne houses. But J. Lassalle isn’t any Champagne house. This is their entry-level and most affordable Champagne. Hand-riddled in the family cellars underneath their winery, Cachet Or is a rich, luxurious bubbly built around the charming workhorse grape of these hills, Pinot Meunier, while also featuring healthy percentages of their prime premier cru Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards. The bottling is classic Champagne in every sense: full, well-balanced, and elegant, with a fine mousse, delicious to drink. You won’t find yourself missing anything, unless you chill only one bottle! We have partnered with Lassalle to bring this Champagne to the US at a price that ensures it can be enjoyed as widely as possible. A votre santé! 

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About The Region

Champagne

map of Champagne

True Champagne must not only sparkle, but also must come from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and be made using méthode champenoise—a process that involves prolonged aging of the wine as well as a bottle fermentation used to add the sparkle to the finished product. Though wine has been made in this region since at least the 5th century, Champagne as we now know is a relatively new creation. It wasn’t until the 19th century that sparkling wine production took hold on a large scale in much part due to improvements in the strength of glass for bottles and the embrace of French nobility of the sparkling wines of the region.

Only three grape varieties may be used to make Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The chalk-heavy soils not only provide complexity and texture to the finished wine, but also act as a natural humidifier thus keeping the vine’s roots warm during colder months of the year. There are grand cru and premier cru designated vineyard areas but unlike Burgundy, there are few lieu-dit vineyards (though in recent years there has been a greater interest in producing vineyard specific Champagnes).

Kermit’s first foray into the region came in 1981 when he began importing the wines of J. Lassalle and Paul Bara—two producers whose wines we still import. In the mid 2000s, Kermit began importing the wines of Veuve Fourny et Fils.

Of Champagne, Kermit says, “You might be surprised to learn that I don’t like a goût de terroir to dominate the taste of Champagnes. If it dominates, you lose finesse. I want some, obviously—but only enough to keep things interesting.”

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Old wine bottles

Let the brett nerds retire into protective bubbles, and whenever they thirst for wine it can be passed in to them through a sterile filter. Those of us on the outside can continue to enjoy complex, natural, living wines.

Inspiring Thirst, page 236

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