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Champagne J.M. Tissier: on the way to innovation


Portrait Pierry

Champagne J.M. Tissier

On the way to innovation

Taking advantage of the presence of Best Sommelier of the World Paolo Basso and Fabrice Sommier, MOF Sommelier and Master of Port, in Champagne for the SommelierS International tasting in Pierry, Jacques Tissier invited them to present a new cuvée in project.

Paolo Basso, Marie-Christine Tissier, Jacques Tissier, Fabrice Sommier and Anthony Tissier
The Champagne J.M. Tissier family house exploits a vineyard of 5.4 hectares divided over Chavot-Courcourt, Moussy, Pierry and the Sézanne area. The diversity of the vineyard enables original blends whose secret is jealously kept. After bottling, 3 to 5 years are necessary for the wine to perfect in the cellars.

Champagne J.M. Tissier is handed over from father to son since three generations (Diogène, the Jean-Marie and now Jacques). And Jacques' sons are seriously preparing to join their father on the estate. And it is Anthony who welcomes with his parents the eminent visitors, Paolo Basso and Fabrice Sommier.

The house is currently working on a new cuvée. The father and the son build up the project together. “When starting studying, I knew my father wished to innovate. I decided to write my report about the Blanc de Blancs matured in vats”. More exactly the impact of the vats on the wine.

Tasting samples just collected the barrels. They chose to vinify Chardonnay in two different types of 400-l vats. One third in new oak barrels, two thirds in Sauvignon barrels. They age the wines on the lees with different types of stirring and without malolactic fermen­tation.
When a wine grower wants to make a wine that is appreciated, it is im­portant for him to be assessed through tastings, fairs, contests, but also by getting the opinions of professionals who are in direct contact with the market and the consumers.
That is why Jacques Tissier wished to invite Paolo Basso and Fabrice Sommier. At the moment, he has different possible choices about the wines now maturing: create a Blanc de Blancs, use that wine in blends? Which proportion of each barrel in the final blend? Keep on ageing on the complete lees or rack a part or all the wine? Wait for more maturity at harvest? So much options that have an influence on the final wine.
The wine was placed in the vats on September 20th. The one stemming from the Sauvignon vats was already marked by the characteristic scents of the grape variety. Paolo Basso underlines that “the consumers like these aromas”. He states that the sample “has a delicate structure, but it deserves a bit more richness”. As for the wine in new vats, it is “richer, rounder, suppler at first taste”. Paolo Basso playfully tries a blend by mixing both samples in the same proportions (2/3 Sauvignon barrel, 1/3 new barrel).
An interesting exchange between the wine growers, father and son, and the great sommeliers—who also are consul­tants—that highlighted how important these encoun­ters between producers and prescribers are. The first better understand the expectations of the consumers; the seconds better comprehend the wine grower's work, his questioning when creating a new cuvée that he wants to be at his image but also has to find its market.
Sylvia van der Velden

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