– At what age did you drink your first glass of champagne?
– At seven years old. I remember it was a 1952 vintage Mercier.
– When did you decide to devote yourself to champagne?
– As a teenager, I realized that I was lucky to be born in such a unique place as Champagne. And then I decided that I should use what was given to you, and began to show interest in the process of making champagne.
– How long have you been “in the wings”?
– No, I quickly became at the helm of our house, because my father had health problems. Now we run everything together with Brother Laurent.
– Do you produce a lot of champagne a year?
– We are not chasing quantity. For us, quality is much more important. Moreover, we are deliberately reducing our production, and now we make 40% less champagne than our house produced 25 years ago. All this is only to keep the best of our best vineyards in order to be able to follow the whole process more closely. We believe that only this approach allows us to produce wonderful champagne, the quality of which is growing from year to year.
– Are there any more secrets from Jacquesson?
– Of course, terroir is of great importance. We are lucky with him – he is unique and cannot be repeated anywhere else in the world. But we ourselves are very careful about everything that is given to us by nature. But, perhaps, the main rule for us is “Lucky to work hard”. (“Happy to work hard”). Can this be called a secret?
– I am sure that I am not the first to ask you about this. Why do your champagnes Cuvée 733, Cuvée 737 and so on have such names?
– My brother and I had this idea about fifteen years ago. The “numbered” Cuvée 700 is a mixture of harvests from several years, and therefore cannot be identified by the harvest year. And then we decided to give the wine a number according to the record in our register, where our wines were inscribed for many years. So Cuvée N ° 1 was produced in 1898 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the house. So our first blend, based on the 2000 crop, is called Cuvée 728.
A typical day in the Jacquesson vineyards
– What are your children? Will you continue your business?
– This is a very difficult question. Our children and my brother are already adults, and they have not yet shown much zeal to continue our family business. They, of course, can be understood – modern life is different from the one we are busy with. But here we have already made a decision: it is better to sell our business to people who have an interest in it than to leave it to children who will ruin it.
– Aren’t you afraid that others will ruin him? They will not feel the continuity of generations.
“That’s exactly what I’m not afraid of. I do not think that people will invest their considerable funds so that they can then be blown down the wind. By the way, there is a great example not far from us. One Chinese businessman bought a wine house, and he only improves it, attracting not only funds, but also the best specialists. Because only people who are keen on winemaking and wine can buy such a specific business.
Jacquesson wine cellars
– We will be transported from France to us. How did you end up at Riga Wine & Champagne Week? Have you heard anything about this festival before?
– Honestly, I have not. But when I was invited to it by Noble Wine sommelier Ronald Petersons, I inquired and made inquiries. And when my old friend and recognized expert in the world of champagne, Peter Liv, announced that he would also be at this event, I immediately agreed, knowing that Peter could not recommend me something uninteresting.
– And what is your impression – from Riga, from the champagne festival?
– This is my first time in Riga. A beautiful city with its own style. Everything at the festival is organized at a decent level – it is very interesting and useful for us.
– What is the purpose of your participation in Riga Wine & Champagne Week?
– On the one hand, it is the study and promotion of new markets. But I also have a global mission – to talk about champagne, transfer knowledge about this wonderful drink and instill in others a taste for good champagne.
– And do you often attend this kind of event?
– No. Usually once a year we have a champagne presentation in Champagne. And once, maximum twice a year, we go abroad. It just so happened that I recently returned from Australia – an interesting and new market for us.
– The selection of sparkling wines in the world is very large. Where does Jacquesson rank in the Champagne ranking?
– Of course, I would like to say that we are the best. But it can certainly be said without exaggeration that Jacquesson is in the TOP-5 of the best champagnes in the world.
– But the world’s most famous brands of champagne (I will not name them) are heard in the world of show business and sports. Do you want to be among them?
– Absolutely not! There is champagne to be poured over at the Formula 1 awards, and we make Jacquesson for people to drink and enjoy.
Wine House Jacquesson: Napoleon, Muslet, Return
The history of the Jacquesson wine house, founded by Claude Jacquesson and his son Memmi, began in 1798. Success accompanied them from the first years of champagne production – Napoleon himself was a fan of this brand, who visited this house in 1809, and in 1810 the emperor awarded this champagne with a gold medal for quality. For his wedding to the Grand Duchess Marie-Louise of Austria, Napoleon bought a substantial batch of champagne from the Jacquesson wine house.
In 1835, Adolphe Jacquesson took over the company and made fundamental changes, improving and expanding production. It was he who invented the muselet – yes, the same wire bridle for fixing the cork in a champagne bottle, which he patented in 1844, and which is now used by all champagne producers. By the end of the 19th century, the Jacquesson wine house was producing about one million bottles a year, but after the death of Adolf, the family showed little interest in winemaking.
It was only in 1974 that the Schiquet family acquired the Jacquesson house and made a number of improvements to the wine production process, as well as improved the vineyard processing system. Today Jacquesson owns 30 hectares of vineyards located in the grand cru and premier cru. The Schiquet family restored the reputation of the Jacquesson brand, which today is associated with the highest quality sparkling wines.