A while in the past, we featured the great Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Blanc de Blancs 2006. A number of years earlier than that, the much more thrilling 2002 (for causes lengthy forgotten, we missed 2004, however I think we merely thought that maybe it might need been overkill, however that doesn’t imply that it was something however one other stellar champagne). On the finish of the 2006 article, I discussed how scintillating I anticipated the 2008 to be.
For me, coming from such a really sensible classic, it may have been one of many biggest champagnes ever made. The 2002 is definitely one of many best I’ve ever loved, so why would ’08 prime it. 2008, for me, is just the best classic since 1988.
Till the day I fall from the perch, nobody will ever be capable of clarify why however the crew at Perrier-Jouët determined to not make a 2008 classic. Studying this was a bit like I’d think about being advised that Picasso determined to not paint ‘Guernica’ or Springsteen by no means wrote ‘Born to Run’. A loss to humanity of inestimable proportions. However, break up milk.
Happily, Perrier-Jouët made no such error with the subsequent prime classic, 2012. Their Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Blanc des Blancs 2012 (est, A$800) has hit the market, and like each launch of this glorious champagne, it’s obtainable in tiny portions solely.
That is, after all, a champagne constituted of 100% Chardonnay (which is what blanc des blancs signifies). For earlier vintages, the vineyards from the place the grapes had been sourced had been all in Cramant within the very coronary heart of the Côtes des Blancs. The Cote des Blancs is the crown jewel of the Champagne district in relation to Chardonnay. The home has owned these two vineyards, Bouron Leroi and Bouron du Midi, for round two centuries. The vineyards whole 6.8 hectares, though solely a small quantity of those grapes are used for this wine.
Whole manufacturing of the Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Blanc de Blancs by no means exceeds 40,000 bottles and a few years have been 1 / 4 of that or much less. Dosage is normally simply 8 grams/liter and the wine will spend not less than six to eight years on lees. That tiny manufacturing represents simply 1% of the overall manufacturing of Belle Époque. The Rose accounts for an additional 8% and the unique, the rest.
For this 2012 classic that has expanded and the wine consists of grapes from Avize and Chouilly, in addition to these from Cramant. The home focuses on Grand Cru vineyards with ‘pure chalk soils’, which give the wine with the minerality for which it’s identified. Additionally, the dosage has been restrained a contact, and is just 6 grams/liter. The wine spent not less than 8 years on lees.
Perrier-Jouët has lengthy been well-known for its Belle Époque champagnes. They added a Rose to the long-standing authentic BE after which, with the 1993, launched this wine. The thought was a restricted manufacturing, very particular champagne with which they may have fun the Millenium. Since then, they’ve additionally launched 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, earlier than this newest champagne.
The brand new chef de cave, Severine Frerson, describes the wine as “a vibrant and distinguished wine, with a pure authority. Pure and exact, delicate and complicated, it has a chic, silken texture, virtually infinite size on the palate, and – final however under no circumstances least – nice potential for ageing.”
Severine is the present chef de cave, taking up from the legendary Hervé Deschamps in mid-2022. Whereas we have now seen a revolving door at many champagne homes lately, Perrier-Jouët could be very a lot the other. Severine is simply the 8th chef de cave within the historical past of the home. Spectacular after we think about that the home was based in 1811. Hervé held the function for 27 years – he additionally spent ten years there earlier than taking the function.
Throughout his tenure, so many sensational wines had been launched, in addition to many inventions. This Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc des Blancs not least amongst them.
Hervé all the time had a stunning method with phrases. He has been quoted elsewhere, when describing the qualities of the assorted grapes, as urging one to not overlook the small quantity of Pinot Meunier from the village of Dizy, that they use (not on this particular wine, after all), noting that it acts as a hyperlink between the 2 main varieties, very similar to the hyphen between Perrier and Jouët.
For anybody involved in regards to the future, Severine spent a while working with Hervé and spent a few years with Piper and Charles Heidsieck, not a foul coaching floor.
Severine’s view of this champagne? “For its magnificence, its refinement and its great silken texture, I affiliate Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs with a white orchid, my favourite flower.” She has additionally stated that “Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Blanc de Blancs is the jewel of the gathering – the quintessential expression of Chardonnay within the fashion of Maison Perrier-Jouët.”
Given their many very good champagnes, that may be a somewhat massive name, however I’ll fortunately confess that it’s my favourite from Perrier-Jouët and certainly, one in all my favorites from all Champagne. Hervé has described the Belle Époque Blanc de Blancs as “the quintessence of Chardonnay with the brilliance and rarity of a yellow diamond.”
When discussing vintages for the area, somewhat than the same old press releases (superb what number of really nice vintages the advertising and marketing groups from all areas imagine they’ve), I like to have a look at ‘Vintage Champagne: 1899 to 2019’, by Charles Curtis.
An expensive good friend who has a unprecedented champagne palate describes 2012 as “Queensland winter sunshine shining down on surging water”. As weird as it’d sound, it sums it up completely.
Curtis is marginally extra prosaic, noting as an summary, 2012 went ‘from the worst to the very best.’ Very chilly to start out with document rain and frosts, issues didn’t look promising, however the rain stopped mid-July and heat to extremely popular circumstances dried the grapes and endured until harvest. Curtis concludes that 2012 was “a very profitable 12 months and one whose prime wines might be laid down for many years of cellaring.” I discover it a richer, considerably riper 12 months than the classically elegant 2008, however undoubtedly a terrific 12 months. Don’t hesitate to place the highest 2012s in your cellar and don’t have any considerations about leaving them for a few years.
The unique Belle Époque, the 1964 classic, was launched in 1970 at a celebration in Paris to have fun the 70th birthday of Duke Ellington. There may be some confusion over the discharge of the primary Belle Époque Rose, with the home recording the primary classic as 1978, however a number of champagne authorities disagree and have supplied notes on the 1976.
Belle Époque is without doubt one of the most recognizable wines on the planet. The beautiful design, within the artwork nouveau fashion, was created by Emile Gallé, an artist and grasp glassmaker, who is taken into account one of many pioneers of that motion. He designed the bottle for the home in 1902 (or 1912, relying in your supply), but it surely sat for a few years earlier than Perrier-Jouët adopted it for his or her preliminary Belle Époque.
Right this moment, Perrier-Jouët is owned by Pernod Ricard since 2005. In flip, the home owns 108 hectares unfold throughout seven villages (as so usually occurs, sources differ and a few recommendations are that their holdings are rather less than this). This accounts for 35% of their wants, however could be very a lot targeted on their best wines, with the remaining 65% bought from growers throughout forty villages. The center of their manufacturing is the Grand Cru village of Cramant, within the Cote des Blancs. They personal 29 hectares on this prestigious village.
Tasting notes – Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Blanc de Blancs 2012
That is merely beautiful. A wonderful inexperienced/gold coloration with the best, but most persistent bead. The nostril opens with hints of brioche, a contact of citrus and stonefruit, ginger, lemon grass, white peaches and lemon blossoms. That is all class. So nice, so targeted. Splendidly elegant and ethereal, that is seamless with a gorgeously seductive and creamy texture, which provides to the impression of a flick of the best high quality butter on the palate. A nice and prolonged end. So persistent.
There’s a trace of the 2012 richness however total, this sits on the extra elegant finish of the spectrum. Certainly this can drink fantastically for the subsequent ten, even twenty years. An exquisite addition to the vary, this won’t fairly match that heavenly 2002, but it surely definitely comes wafer-thin shut. For me, 98 now however in just a few years, I feel it is going to go to 99. After which, who is aware of?
For extra data, please go to www.perrier-jouet.com/en-ww/champagnes/belle-epoque-blanc-de-blancs-2012