For nearly 300 years, the Vesselle family has been tilling the chalky soils of Bouzy and cultivating some of the village’s best-placed Pinot Noir vines. Domaine Jean Vesselle crafts “grower” Champagne, a récoltant-manipulant house that grows its own grapes and makes its own wine all on site. This qualitative difference is crucial for those seeking the ultimate in Champagne flavor and character.
The family’s vineyards are planted to 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay, a fidelity to Pinot Noir that’s much greater than other houses in the region. Vines are cared for according to lutte raisonée principles, concentrating mostly on organic practices and avoiding chemical treatments. Vineyard rows are plowed to avoid the use of herbicides. The estate too uses solar energy and recycles rainwater to reduce its energy footprint.
Soils in general are the classic chalk of the Montagne de Reims. Grapes are harvested exclusively by hand and pressed gently, then fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Wines undergo second fermentation in bottle (méthode Champenoise) and are cellared for two years to 10, depending on the cuvée. Wines are disgorged just before they are shipped.
The family’s collection of top terroirs and generations of leadership in championing Pinot Noir is what makes wines from Domaine Jean Vesselle such eloquent examples of Blanc de Noirs Champagnes. The family owns one of Champagne’s smallest walled vineyards, the ‘Petit Clos.’ Located just outside the Vesselle home in Bouzy, ‘Petit Clos’ is the pinnacle of the powerful yet elegant Bouzy style, pure grand cru Pinot Noir fermented in barrels made from oak trees from the Champagne region, and aged for a decade in bottle.
Wines here combine a classic Champagne elegance with the signature Bouzy power, especially in wines such as ‘Oeil de Perdrix.’
This unique rose de saignée is a taste of Champagne history, a style of wine long forgotten before winemakers Delphine and David Vesselle—to honor the traditions of their Champagne-making forefathers—brought it back with great success. The orange-pink color of this “eye of the partridge” Pinot Noir-based wine historically was the hue of most Champagne made in Bouzy in the nineteenth century. (The wine’s singular hue is like the color of a partridge’s eye.) Pinot Noir grapes are macerated briefly to extract color then pressed. Pink roses, lavender, wild strawberry and pomegranate.