Created by a group of thirty passionate winegrowers in 1964, Champagne Jacquart is today one of the world’s leading Champagne houses. Jamie Ndah caught up with their Managing Director, Laurent Reinteau, to find out more.
LM: How did Champagne Jacquart come about?
LR: It is the passion for the terroir of Champagne, and the wines, that pushed a handful of winemakers to create Jacquart. In 1964, this bold economic vision was the first sign of audacity as up until that point vineyards were only grouped by their village. Champagne Jacquart’s founders immediately saw the bigger picture: the House should unite winegrowers, across the region, in a shared style and shared brand values. The two founding directors were Maurice Bonnet who became president, and Joseph Fresne.
From vintage to vintage, the head winemakers of Champagne Jacquart have worked hard to establish and preserve the Jacquart style. All feel proud to be part of the Jacquart adventure – creating a successful brand that continues to build on its success year after year. In the late 60s and 70s the Jacquart style was refined under the leadership of Michel Sohet and Jacques Peters. In 1979, Régis Camus became his successor and continued to highlight the quality of Champagne Jacquart. Nicolas Francois followed on from him in 1990, and in 2000, Richard Dailly took over. Today the winemaker is the talented Floriane Eznack who, in her words, sees her role as a custodian of the Jacquart passion, pride and individuality.
LM: To mark the 50th Anniversary, Champagne Jacquart revealed their new Mosaïc Collection: Brut Mosaïc, Extra-Brut Mosaïc and Rosé Mosaïc. Can you tell us more please about the collection?
LR: The Mosaïc Collection represents the heart of the brand. Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaïc is its signature cuvee, and represents its house style. The vineyards cultivated by its winemakers cover 24,000 hectares spread over sixty crus, that is to say, sixty villages throughout the champagne area. Jacquart selects only the best 350 hectares for winemaking. The Brut Mosaïc is a champagne for all times, sharing the pleasures of daily life, celebrating good news – it is the champagne you always have in the fridge.
Extra Brut Mosaïc is for wine enthusiasts, with its bold flavours and fresh notes of white blossom, pears and citrus fruit. Rosé Mosaïc opens up a whole new palette of colours and flavours with an intense salmon pink hue and an aromatic elegance.
LM: The new Mosaïc Collection reflects Champagne Jacquart’s key house principles: audacity, elegance and passion. What other key elements are important to the brand?
LR: The new design shows the alliance between heritage and modernity and highlights the elegance and simplicity of a house that is constantly evolving. Each cuvee is represented by a different colour: Taupe for Brut Mosaïc, Silver for Extra-Brut Mosaïc and Pink for Rosé Mosaïc.
Champagne Jacquart is combining the world of design with a contemporary vision and reinventing the codes of luxury through a pure design.
LM: The Champagne Jacquart brand promises authenticity. How do you keep to this?
LR: One of Jacquart’s strengths is being able to source grapes from the whole of the Champagne region. Its vineyard represents 2400 hectares (7% AOC Champagne) – 350 of which are used for the selection of the best grapes. These 350 hectares are spread over 60 different Crus.
From vintage to vintage, the head winemakers of Champagne Jacquart share the same pride in preserving Jacquart’s unique style, and although the Champagne House is one of the largest owners of vines in the region, it strives to retain an independent and artisan feel to its wines.
For the growers it is something to be proud of and which unites them, but at the same time allows them to remain independent. This allows Jacquart to occupy a unique place among the great houses who, by contrast, are often part of large international groups. The strength of Champagne Jacquart is the ability to have established a singular style for fifty vintages. A style of simplicity and elegance. Since its inception fifty years ago, Brut Mosaïc has been the emblematic cuvee which embodies and best represents the house style of elegance, freshness and harmony.
LM: The discreet elegance of the Hôtel de Brimont sets in stone the long term brand vision for Jacquart. Please tell us more.
LR: When it was first founded, Jacquart was located in the capital of Champagne, Reims, along the original street that gave Jacquart its name. Since 2009 however, the infamous Hotel de Brimont has been the headquarters of Jacquart located along the prestigious Boulevard Lundy and surrounded by other well-known Champagne houses. The return to its original neighbourhood has influenced the house dramatically. Elegance and contemporary design are the key features of the house that was designed by French architect Paul Blondel in the Louis XIV style and completed in 1897. Blondel was known to have helped Baron Haussmann in the extensive modernisation of Paris.
The mosaic pattern is very dear to Jacquart – the house is built from ornate mosaics made in 1898 by two artists, Blanc and Guillonet. These mosaic are now included in the Inventory of the Historical Monuments. The House has been the seat of Jacquart for many years. This work pays tribute to the winemaker and in another sense, Champagne, referring to the five major stages of development. Inspired by the millions of pieces of enamel meticulously pieced together by the artists, the Jacquart style is a delicate blend of a number of parcels that requires patience and a delicate hand.
To make the wines, Champagne Jacquart follows the traditional winemaking methods. But it doesn’t stop there – the house always aims to excel, to surpass the industry guidelines and aims for a much higher standard. Blended with care and passion, an extended fermentation period and prolonged cellar ageing allows Jacquart to create fine wines that are unique and complex and able to age gracefully.
LM: As a relatively young brand in Champagne terms what excites you about the future for Champagne Jacquart?
LR: It is exciting because there is so much that can be done and so many markets to discover. The past 50 years were about creating the strong foundations for the house, and the next 50 will be about developing the brand.
Its ambition is to consolidate its position as the leading international brand born from the vine. Increasing distribution of champagne Jacquart worldwide, the team wants to express the excellence and diversity of Champagne in the range of its wines while being known for its independence and passionate spirit.
Since the beginning, Champagne Jacquart has used sophisticated tools and wine making equipment with the belief that remaining at the forefront of technology allows winemakers the opportunity to reveal the diversity and quality of the land. Its craftsmen in the vineyards and its cellar workers are therefore guided by science alongside a respect for the wines.
Champagne Jacquart is also proud to be developing sustainable viticultural practices so these values can be passed on to their children.
LM: Has much changed within the Champagne industry since 1964?
LR: Perhaps – during this time the market for Champagne has become truly international so the challenge has been to meet demand whilst at the same time ensuring that their aim for the best quality is never compromised. The United Kingdom is our favourite market – indeed the British consume more champagne than any other country in the world, and this continues to grow each year.
LM: The brand logo and image that appears on the Champagne Jacquart label has appeared on every bottle of Champagne JACQUART since the house was established. What does this symbol represent for the brand?
LR: The founders selected the Pegasus to be the key image on the labels – a symbol of radiance and vitality, and a fitting reflection of the brand.
LM: You recently held a stunning party for Champagne Jacquart’s 50th Anniversary in London and had some pretty cool guests attend such as Amber Le Bon and Henry Conway to name but a few. Why do you think the brand has become so popular amongst the celebrity world?
LR: I think it’s because we are a youthful and international brand. Jacquart creates fine wines that are unique and complex, and have a soul.