When they took over the family business in Dizy from their father in 1988, the Chiquet brothers, Jean-Hervé and Laurent, were not very happy with what they inherited. They sold off 5ha of vineyard they didn’t think good enough and set about changing how their land was worked. Today their vineyards, which provide around 80% of their needs, are largely farmed organically. As Jean-Hervé says: “Terroir, even great terroir, is worth nothing unless properly looked after.”
Their vines are in two main areas, the Grande Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. The first group is in the villages of nearby Hautvillers, and the Grand Cru of Aÿ, which adjoins Dizy to the east, on slopes facing east, south or south west, where chalk lies at varying depths. The Côte des Blancs holdings are in the grands crus of Avize and Oiry, south-facing parcels with chalk showing on the surface. What they buy in largely comes from neighbours in the same crus.
While they gradually made lots of changes, the turning point came, says Jean-Hervé, with 2000 and 2002 harvests with Cuvée 700 created and then the initial single vineyard champagnes being bottled in 2002. The first development, arguably the most significant and groundbreaking in Champagne, was when in 2000 they changed their non-vintage cuvée from a consistently recognisable style, year after year, to the best possible blend they could produce from any individual harvest.
After 28 vintages working together the Chiquet brothers’ range at Jacquesson has evolved into Cuvée 700 (currently Cuvée 739 based on the 2011 harvest) a late disgorged version of this, at present Cuvée n° 735 Dégorgement Tardif (based on 2007), plus four single vineyard vintage wines from Dizy (two), Aÿ and Avize.