In the blink of an eye, we’re preparing to ring in a new year once again. While 2017 had its fair share of trials and tribulations, there’s plenty to celebrate as well, which is why everyone is out hunting down some bubbly to pop when the clock strikes 12 on Sunday night.
I for one haven’t properly celebrated New Year’s Eve in several years because the holiday is notoriously busy for sommeliers. Last year I served glass upon glass of grower Champagne out of massive magnum and three-liter bottles, spending the better part of New Year’s Day in bed with dead arm. This year, I’ll skip the physical exertion and fast-forward straight to the good stuff — one of my favorite bottles of Champagne, the Jacquesson “Cuvée 740” Extra Brut.
Though Jacquesson has a terroir-driven, grower-producer vibe, it is actually a Champagne house, established in 1798. When brothers Jean-Hervé and Laurent Chiquet took over Jacquesson in the 1980s, they adopted the mentality of quality over quantity, focusing on soil specificity, organic viticulture, and vintage individuality. In fact, Jacquesson owns 80 percent of its vines, a remarkably high percentage for a Champagne house.
While the “Cuvée 740” technically serves as Jacquesson’s standard non-vintage bottling, it isn’t quite that simple. Each year, Jacquesson releases a numbered cuvée based on a single vintage, focusing not on style consistency but on overall quality given vintage conditions. The “Cuvée 740,” for instance, is based on the 2012 vintage and primarily comprised of Chardonnay, with 25 percent each Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Nervy and poised upon first sip, the Jacquesson “Cuvée 740” expands on the palate, unfolding into layers of lemon zest and curd, green apple, and slight brioche. Wave after wave of intense, finely grained, chalky minerality hits the tongue, the broad palate fighting for attention with contrasting, prickly acidity. Though it’s a non-vintage wine, it could be treated like a vintage in every respect, which is why you should stash an extra bottle away and see how it’s tasting in another year — just in time to close out 2018.