The name is essentially a boast of how good this wine is. From one parcel of vines entirely owned by Joseph Perrier, this wine is a complete wine-lover's heaven.
100% Pinot Noir from one vintage and with no dosage, this Brut Nature is searingly focused in youth, but develops in to a phenomenally complex and rewarding glass in only a matter of years. The aim of the winery is to capture the essence of each vintage and allow its peculiarity to be articulated in each bottle.
A nose of perfumed dried flowers is followed by aromas of peach, ripe red fruit and compote. Give it a swirl in the glass and you'll get pomegranate and strawberry coulis notes sitting over toasted brioche. The palate is more subtle at first but the texture is taught, chiselled and serious. Notes of citrus peel, orange zest sit with developing nuttiness and a body that grows; the finish - my goodness - delivers a bitter twang and even saline notes. They only make about 7500 bottles per anum and each one is completely made for food...
100% Pinot Noir from this "Côte à Bras" site which sits between grapes for Dom Perignan and Cristal... it is a gourmand wine that has only been possible to make since 2007 and the strict growing of only Pinot Noir in this vineyard. Paired with ceviche or shellfish, there seems to be a trick in getting he best out of the wine which is to open it about half an hour before serving and to serve it at a temperature between 10 and 12 degrees. This is warmer than you might think it should be, but seriously, it's worth it!
Joseph Perrier's story has a few cool point along the way - appointed by both Queen Victoria and Edward the 7th (hence the Cuvée Royale trademark), the wine was perfected because of the friendship of the grand-nephew of Perrier (who was the owner at the time) and one certain French scientist, Louis Pasteur, who was critically important to the wine industry (possibly moreso than the dairy industry even!). And another favourite historical piece (sadly totally historic now) is that it was the Champagne served on Concorde's first flight. Ultra-sonic Champagne.
It's a house that depends massively on export - over 70% of their volume is shipped outside of France and it has almost always been seen as a boutique, artisan house where quality would never be sacrificed in favour of quantity.
In the old days, we used to meet people and chat about wines over a cup of coffee. But when I met the export chap from Joseph Perrier, we met over charcuterie and glasses of Champagne made by this excellent, family-run and totally underrated house. Discussing the history of land guarantees for the price of grapes in the post-War era, climatic issues of the last 20 years, methods of disgorgement, dosage quantities and the different plots of land used by many different producers in the region, I had a fascinating time.
But what impressed me more than local and historical knowledge, was the ethos of attention to detail and quiet excellence that is manifested as humility, wrapping a core of nervy, focused tension in the wines. These are, first and foremost, delicious wines made from excellent parcels of grapes grown in the 23 hectares of the family vineyards in Chalons-en-Champagne, including the famed strip that sits in between Roederer's and Dom Perignan's most prized parcels. Cover crops grown between the vines to keep any spraying an absolute minimum. It's definitely working, as half of their vineyards are certified organic. Natalie Laplaige has been the cellar master since 2017 and came to the winery because of the freshness and purity that mark their character.
Stylistically the house sits between the leanness of Ayala and Lanson, and the richness of Charles Heidsieck and Louir Roederer, which is typically what is said about Pol Roger; so if you like any of these (and you really should) then this is very much for you. In this vintage version, it might be a bit of a stretch, but the point of comparison would therefore be Cuvée Winston Churchill... oh yes.
Grape(s): Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Style: Fresh, Elegant, Complex, Bright
Best food matches: Sushi, St Stephen's Day, Shellfish, Poultry, Lobster, Fine Dining, Christmas Dinner