A wealth of flavourby Michael Cooper
The style of one of France’s finest celebrates subtlety, delicacy and finesse.
It’s not a household name here, but Perrier-Jouët (pronounced Perrier-Jouwet) was founded in France more than two centuries ago and ranks among the three biggest-selling champagnes in the US. Vibrant, intense, chardonnay-derived aromas and flavours are the essence of the house style, which celebrates subtlety, delicacy and finesse.
Although part of the Pernod Ricard empire (whose wine brands also include Brancott Estate, Church Road, Stoneleigh, Jacob’s Creek and Mumm Champagne), Perrier-Jouët remains in many respects a traditional house, with only seven chefs de cave (cellar masters) since 1811. Hervé Deschamps, the current cellar master, has been at his post for more than 20 years and arrived at Perrier-Jouët a decade before. “His palate is worth more than many suburbs in Sydney,” claims brand ambassador Chris Sheehy.
Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut accounts for two-thirds of the total output. Chardonnay forms just 20% of this non-vintage blend, but is sourced from the company’s extensive grand cru vineyards, and the pinot noir (40%) and pinot meunier (40%) ingredients in the recipe are specifically selected for their lightness and restraint. Blended from several vintages and matured for at least three years on its yeast lees, the Grand Brut is a strikingly elegant wine, scented, finely poised and lingering.
Perrier-Jouët’s luxury wines, Belle Epoque, jostle with such labels as La Grande Dame, Cristal and Dom Perignon for the palates of the world’s wealthy.
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2007 (5/5 stars)
Amazingly youthful and vigorous for its age, this is a beautifully fragrant wine with piercing, fresh, citrusy, yeasty flavours, complex, seamless and lasting. Pricey? Of course, but apparently it costs even more in France. $350.
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2006 (5/5 stars)
Recommended for pairing with game-bird dishes or desserts such as red-berry pavlova, this mature blend of chardonnay and pinot noir is hugely expensive but memorable, with lovely depth of strawberry and spice flavours, yeasty, dry and sustained. $450
Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé NV (4.5/5 stars)
Perrier-Jouët views this pinot noir-based blend (with smaller portions of pinot meunier and chardonnay) as its richest style and the most versatile with food. Salmon pink, it offers strong berryish, gently yeasty flavours, deliciously crisp and lively. $130
Wine of the week
Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV (5/5 stars)
Fragrant, racy, rich and satisfying, in an elegant style with lovely vigour and harmony. A great apéritif. $79.99 at Glengarry.
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