Jacquesson Dizy Corne Bautray Brut, Champagne, France, 2004
Bottle Size: 75cl
Region: France: Champagne
Grape Variety: Chardonnay
Jacquesson’s roughly 5,000 bottles of 2004 Extra Brut Dizy Corne Bautray issue from (what were then) 44 year-old vines in the cool, breezy upper reaches of the eponymous site. This translates into a metaphorically cool, laid-back wine that for some tasters – and especially when first opened – might seem slightly aloof. But there is dazzling complexity here, as well as the impeccably balance – at near bone dryness – that characterizes all of the Jacquesson bottlings I most recently tasted. Scents of iris, apple pip, peach kernel, quinine, and toasted almond set the tone for piquancy that follows on a palate strongly alkaline in undertone and loaded with bittersweet, illusive inner-mouth floral perfume. Imagine chomping from behind on honeysuckle, stem and all, and you have some inkling of the effect. The sense of transparency here is striking, and there is even more to be glimpsed after the wine has been open for a day, with toasted pumpkin seed, lime rind, and an enhanced vividness of iris perfume emerging. A hint of salinity stimulates the salivary glands in the long, interactively complex, and downright thought-provoking finish. This will seduce you only if you meet it more than half way, and it is not about to shed its silken, mineral-sequined shroud. I suspect it will merit following for more than a decade, though I must confess ignorance with older exemplars of this bottling.
Possessed of vines in a who’s-who of disparate Champagne villages supplemented by purchased fruit from a few equally renowned communes in which they do not have holdings, Laurent and Jean-Herve Chiquet have – particularly over the past decade – led their already successful house along some unusual not to mention unusually successful paths. Virtually all of their wines are bone-dry (and labeled “Extra Brut”) yet come off as admirably balanced, following cask fermentation and aging with malo-lactic transformation, and long stays in bottle pre-disgorgement. In lieu of a conventional non-vintage blend, there is a wine sequentially numbered (allegedly to coincide with the totality of cuvees in Jacquesson history), and dominated by as well as designed to express the character of a single vintage. The estate’s upper-tier (and alas, for those of us on any kind of budget, that’s spelled with a capital “U”) now features a trio of highly limited, vineyard-designated bottlings whose recently disgorged instantiations are already about as complex as young Champagne can be. I did not visit with the Chiquet brothers this year, and shall look forward to doing so – and to reporting on a wider range of their wines – next year. Date Tasted: November 2013. 94 points. David Schildknecht. Robert Parker.