Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Learning About Perrier Jouet As I Leave France

A previous engagement kept me from accompanying the rest of my group to Epernay on a visit to the Perrier Jouet Champagne House.  Epernay had been a classic stop on my October trip to France so I was familiar with this champagne filled city, but wanted to learn more about this brand and its history.

Though the wine and spirits giant Pernod Ricard now owns Perrier Jouet, it still bears the legacy of the family it came from in 1811.  The house includes extensive caves which housed many fine champagnes, as well as Italian prisoners during the war.  Most of all, it is filled with tradition founded by Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and Rose Adelaide Jouët on Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, now home to an abundance of champagne houses. 

Before I left France, I did have a chance to sit with Cellar Master Herve Deschamps who told me about what makes Perrier Jouët stand out from the rest, “It’s a family work ethic,” he said, “to preserve the quality and maintain the same style.”  The vineyards, which are owned by the company, are known for not only their quality, but their consistency.  “When you have a good location,” acknowledges Deschamps, “it’s easy to make good wine.”

Herve Deschamps began learning how to make Perrier Jouët in 1983, when he began working under Andre Bavaret.  He says Bavaret was “like a father” to him and he worked with him to learn how to make his own blend.  Deschamps still gives most of the credit to the grapes the house owns. With these grapes, Deschamps is able to relay on “the chardonnay, with a touch of pinot meunier, to marry the chardonnay to the pinot noir.”
In addition to the introduction of Daniel Ashram’s legacy artwork for the Bi-Centenaire of Perrier Jouët, a cellar in the champagne’s house has been set apart with 100 magnums of Fleur de Champagne 1998. They are stored under the best possible conditions, awaiting their opening in 100 years.
Every trip to France is filled with discovery for me as it is a country so rich in the history of wine – and champagne.  I am grateful I had a chance to celebrate with Perrier Jouet and I look forward to returning to France soon.  Until then, Au revoir…

Don’t miss any of my wine and spirit travels around the world.
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