When Perrier met Jouet: Champagne Perrier-Jouët

The TML team spend their time searching out stories about people, places and things that can make life magnificent.

Some of the stories we write celebrate local achievers bringing pleasure, knowledge and uplift to a modest circle of admirers. The wider world may never know them.

Perrier Jouet This Magnificent LifeOther times we get to play on a world stage, when we are invited to experience pleasures of the kind we imagine are savoured with some regularity in the palaces and penthouses of billionaires.

Starting from the top …

The mighty Pernod Ricard Company, custodian of many of the world’s finest beverages, has its headquarters very high above Sydney’s Barangaroo district. Way below the re-purposed precinct now bubbles with dozens of smart shops cafes restaurants and bars. As we look out across the Bridge, the Opera House and Harbour towards the Tasman we note a blank space just beside us. The new casino is not much more than a hole in the ground. We all hope when it is built it doesn’t hinder the view we now drink in.

Because today, if we were discussing New Zealand wines you could almost point out the vineyards from here.

Perrier-Jouett This Magnificent Life
© Gerard Uferas

But we are on a Northern Hemisphere indulgence.

Champagne with a Capital C, and Caviar, likewise.

Among Pernod Ricard’s portfolio is Perrier-Jouët one of the most romantic of all champagnes.

Perrier Jouet This Magnificent LifeThe Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque bottle with its bouquet of anemones embracing its curves in a classic 1902 Art Nouveau pattern is one of the prettier sights in the drink kingdom.

The House was founded in 1811 with the marriage of Pierre Nicolas Perrier and Rose Adélaide Jouët. By 1815 they were exporting their bubbles to England and in 1837 to the USA.

Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Hervé Deschamps

The current Perrier-Jouët Cellar Master, Hervé Deschamps, appointed in 1993 is only the seventh to occupy that demanding position in two centuries.

We are here to taste his current offerings alongside the appropriate accompaniment … a selection of caviars.

Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Chris Sheehy. A man on a mission for bubbles

Our host and mentor is P-R’s Champagne Ambassador and Educator, Chris Sheehy. Let a soft and gentle pop start us off. 

Grand Brut. The Heir of the House Style
Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Grand Brut, our introduction to the legendary house style

Deschamps describes it thus: “ … the perfect introduction the House style, an alluring champagne that expresses the floral elegance of Chardonnay.” Exceptionally generous. A huge whoosh of classic limey peachiness. Full of layers and textures but elegant and refreshing to finish.

Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blanc. The Signature Cuvée.
Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
A swirl of anemones surround a swirl of bubbles from the world’s prettiest bottle

“ …distinctive for its freshness and floral vivacity, an exemplary tribute to Chardonnay, the signature grape of the House.” So light, bright and delicious. Not big and boisterous but with purity of fruit and flowers that lingers. Chardonnay from Cramant in the heart of the Côtes des Blancs. Hervé spent 20 years perfecting the parcels for this blend. One vineyard whose output he coveted had an 8-year contract to another House. He waited.

Belle Époque 2011. An Iconic Cuvée with a Floral and Intricate Fresh Character

“ … a wonderfully harmonious vintage displaying invigorating freshness and acidity – liveliness and refinement in perfect balance.”

Vivacious and alluring, a wine to compliment the bottle. Five years ageing but still so fresh and vibrant inviting an immediate second sip.

A wine for lovers with time on their hands.

Belle Époque Rosé Vintage 2005. The Most Extravagant Cuvée
Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Pretty and precocious pink in the Belle Epoque bottle

“The most sensual wine of the Belle Époque collection.”

A precocious pink colour leads you into a luscious, sassy, roll-in-the-mouth volume of flavours like strawberries and warm brioche. A glorious glass with which to watch the sunset on a perfect day.

Blason Rosé. The Most Gourmet Wine
Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
A more friendly and approachable pink to serve right through a meal

“…the gourmet wine … a full and fruity blend that confers generosity and spontaneity.”

A softer gentler wine. Bright crisp and pretty on the palate. Subtle strawberries. Spiciness is noticeable. Clean fresh vibrant with a touch of firmness on the finish. An excellent wine with food.

Oh yes, the nibbles

On a black spoon, we are offered fresh Hervey Bay scallops with a hint of cold-pressed olive oil topped with a teeny mound of caviar, Siberian Oscietra.

Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Fresh scallop with oscietra caviar. Bit of gold leaf helps it along

Then locally caught tuna fresh from the fish markets at 5.30 that morning crowned with a dash of Sevruga and micro flowers.

Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Not many ways to improve Tassie salmon. Beluga helps

Next a spoonful of seared Tasmanian salmon with a modest mound of Beluga and tingly green enhancements.

Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Two steps to appreciate caviar. Step 1, place your spoonful …

Finally, Lisa Downs, our Caviar Ambassador from Simon Johnson, shows us how a single-minded caviar tasting should be done. She generously offers a rather larger spoonful of the glossy black pearls, which are rested on the back of the hand. Once they attain body temperature they are taken into the mouth. There, the taste buds take over, dancing delightfully at the burst of buttery, nutty saltiness as the softness is crushed. It is not your everyday mouthful.

Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
Step 2, let it warm and raise to your lips
And to finish…

No, we haven’t had enough indulgence so we tidy up our taste buds with a sip or two of Martell cognac. A very fine beverage from the Pernod-Ricard’s list. We try an XO and a Cordon Bleu. From a company founded in 1715 several hundred kilometres down to the south-west of Champagne. A totally different drink, but gleaming with the same purity and the power of tradition.

Perrier-Jouët This Magnificent Life
One of the first Cognac Houses at your service

It would be hard to find a tasting better than this one in a year of trying.

 

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Ian MacTavish

Mr MacTavish is a celebrated writer and one of Australia's more respected Wine reviewers, appearing regularly in national magazines, in print and on line. So far, he has never been heard to say 'no' to a wee dram.

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