Monthly Pick: J L Vergnon Eloquence Extra Brut

The JL Vergnon estate only grows and produces Chardonnay. But boy, do they have a great CV of locations for their Chardonnay vines! The majority of their plots lie in the famous Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil sur Oger where Chardonnay dominates. Their holdings are also in the Grand Cru villages of Oger and Avize. Even their Premier Cru holdings lie in top real estate such as Vertus and Villeneuve.

The family has owned their current house, where JL Vergnon operates, for five generations. It was originally a wine and alcohol retail shop. In 1950 Jean-Louis, who inherited it from his parents, started to acquire vineyards in Le Mesnil sur Oger and was able to make his own Champagne shortly after. Generation after generation, the family have carried on Jean-Louis' philosophy of ‘exceptional grapes make exceptional wine’. Now fifth generation, Clement Vergnon has taken over the realm of his family legacy and looks after their small 5-hectare holding.

Clement was never in the wine business. His career was built on professional sport management, but Champagne runs deep in his veins and eventually his passion for wine and his commitment to running his family business brought him back to where he truly belongs. On my last visit with Clement, I was so inspired by his journey of his relentless pursuit of learning not only the business side but also the viticulture and the viniculture of making Champagne. Although self-taught, he strategically surrounded himself with some of the Champagne’s top oenologists. Now he is on the top of his game.

Now for some geeky stuff which you are welcome to skip over… the harvest is all manual, and the team push the harvest time to the very limit so they are able to get the ripest grapes. This gives them the ability to eliminate chaptalization, block malolactic fermentation, and require very little dosage, making the wines extremely intense but fresh.  The vineyards are all naturally managed with no pesticides, chemicals and unnatural interventions. Fermentation is done in both stainless steel and oak barrels. The minimum aging of all their cuvees is three years on the lees.

“Eloquence” is one of my personal favourite Vergnon cuvees. The grapes for this bottling come from the three Grand Cru villages: le Mesnil sur Oger, Oger and Avize.  80% of the wines are from newest vintage with 20% of reserved wines that have been aged in oak barrels.  On the nose it has the freshest aroma of ice-cold grapefruit zests, almond essence, and ripe green pears. The palate has the most refreshing attack of minerality with touches of spiciness and salinity that makes it so moorish.  As the names suggests, this is the most elegant and fluent expression of JL Vergnon.

I'll be hosting a live Zoom tasting with Clement on 1st October. All you need to do to receive an invite is purchase a bottle of JL Vergnon before then! 

Buy a bottle of the J L Vergnon Eloquence Extra Brut here