Charmed by the champagne house of Ployez-Jacquemart

As we pulled up through the gates of the champagne house/B&B of Ployez-Jacquemart we heard a doorbell go off. I walked back through the gate to get a picture and the bell went off again. Ah, a sensor gate, a very good way to know when people have entered the compound, either on foot or by car, especially when the winemaker is in the kitchen or round the side in the winery. A jolly, small round French woman came rushing out the front door to greet us. It was the owner and winemaker of Ployez-Jacquemart, Laurance Ployez. I could already tell that Laurance was very passionate about her wines and on a tour of the winery and cellars she was bursting to give us as much information as possible about her house and they wines that they make. Laurance is one of the small grower/producers that make up the bulk of Champagne producers. Most own no more than 3 hectares. Based in Ludes, Ployez is family run champagne and has been since 1930 when it was founded by Marcel Ployez and Yvonne Jacquemart. Laurance grows pinot noir and pinot meunier which come from the Premier and Grand cru villages of Ludes and Mailly and all work is done by hand. As is common practice, she guys in grapes, in this case, chardonnay but only from a carefully selected band of growers, some of whom she’s worked with for over 20 years. Everything is done by hand and only the first pressing juice is used, from the picking to the riddling, she oversees it all. Although they have no particular house “style”, Laurence is always trying to create a wine that is unique to her. They use the “methode traditionalle” and long bottle fermentation as well as not letting their wines go through malolactic fermentation, so they will keep their fresh qualities for many years. They also change the blend every year depending on the quality of the grapes. There is no “recipe” at Ployez-Jacquemart....

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Lanson Gold Label 1999

Sep 12, 11 Lanson Gold Label 1999

Posted by in Champagne, France

I had the pleasure of trying the Lanson Gold Label 1999 the other day while I was in Champagne with the CIVC. Lanson is well known for their non-vintage champagnes but their lesser known vintage wines are the ones to wait for. Lanson makes their wine in a different style to many of the grandes marques in that they don’t let their base wines go through malolactic fermentation. To make a long story short, malo (as it’s known) is the process where the malic acids of the wine – commonly associated with green apple flavours is converted into lactic acid by means of usually innoculating the wine with lactic bacteria and allowing the malic acid to be converted to lactic acid. Lactic acid gives wine a rounder mouthfeel and buttery, creamy and bread or yeast notes. Well, Lanson will have none of that and so their wines can often be tart and acidic when young. However, they don’t do malo because they want their wines to age for a considerable time and if you have plenty of that malic acid, the wine can retain it’s freshness and vibrancy for much longer. And that is the beauty of their vintage wines. If you give them a decade or longer, they really begin to come into their own. The Lanson Gold Label is a 50/50 blend roughly of chardonnay and pinot noir but depending on vintage, they can have different percentages of each. “Vintage” in Champagne means that all the wines used in the blend must come from the same year. Pouring the wine, aromas of pears, ripe green apples and a baked bread notes coming from the glass. On the palate, still very youthful, lots of tiny bubbles assailing my nose and a creamy lemon finish. Definitely a champagne that could be enjoyed by itself as an aperitif or possibly pan seared chicken with a creamy mushroom sauce. Hmmm, I’m hungry and very thirsty now…. One of the best things about this Champagne is the...

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