I’m still in a state of shock over the horrific injury suffered by Arsenal’s Eduardo this weekend. It’s a huge blow to my team, but honestly it doesn’t matter what side you support—a potentially career-threatening injury like that is devastating for the game of football as a whole. Beyond any illusions of him recovering anytime soon, I just hope that he can even play football again.
On a more positive note, I tasted a terrific non-dosé champagne this morning in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, among a number of other wines tasted with Christophe Constant of Champagne J.-L. Vergnon. At first glance a description of the Cuvée Confidence Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs 2002 makes it seem like a prop from a dental horror movie: besides not having any dosage, it comes entirely from Le Mesnil and didn’t go through any malolactic fermentation at all. “Some people say that in Le Mesnil, with no malo, if you don’t dose these young wines with 10 or 11 grams of sugar they’re undrinkable,” says Constant. “But it’s not true—you just have to harvest ripe grapes.” This wine was harvested at 11.5 degrees of potential alcohol, and it’s impeccably balanced, feeling long, expressive and complete. There’s really nothing severe about it at all.
So the bad news is, you can’t buy it. Vergnon used to be imported to the U.S. by Kip & Nancy Wine Marketing in Lagunitas, CA, but Constant isn’t working with them anymore. While you might find this wine at a few select restaurants here in France, there were only 1200 bottles made, so it’s not plentiful. The good news is that Constant is doing exciting things with this small, five-hectare estate. He’s only been making wine here since 2002, so it’ll take some time to get the estate to where he wants it to be, but his practices of ripe harvesting, little to no chaptalisation, no malolactic and long aging on the fine lees before bottling all add up to wine worth searching for. Hopefully he’ll find a new U.S. importer soon.