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When Pierre-Nicolas Perrier the uncle of Joseph Perrier, married Adèle Jouët, in 1811, the Perrier Jouët brand was created by adding her maiden name to his. Pierre soon created a healthy export demand for his product, but it was his son, Charles Perrier, who did most to build up the reputation of this Champagne, supplying it to the courts of Napoleon III, King Leopold of the Belgians and Queen Victoria. He built Chateau Perrier opposite Maison Perrier-Jouet in the avenue de Champagne, which is used today as the local library and museum.
Ownership of Perrier-Jouet passed on to Charles Perrier's nephew, Henri Gallice then to Louis Budin who was married to a member of the Gallice family. Louis Budin's son, Michel, took over in 1959, the same year the house was acquired by the Mumm Group. In June 1999 Seagram sold Perrier-Jouet (and Mumm) to a private investment firm who sold it on a few month later to Allied Domecq.
Perrier-Jouet has always been light, elegant and true-brut in style, with heaps of fruit. The amount of Chardonnay in these wines is often thought to be considerably higher than it actually is, because Perrier-Jouet's vineyards in Cramant yield such dominant fruit. Perrier-Jouët was the first Champagne House to display the year of the vintage on its bottles. They also decided that if, as sometimes happens, the harvests do not meet its exacting quality standards, the House would not compromise so they would abandon production and not release a vintage for that year.
Hervé Deschamps became the 7th Perrier-Jouët Cellar Master in 1993. The ten previous years he spent at his predecessor's side helped him master the subtleties of the House style and its unique floral tonality. As a guardian of this knowledge, he turns each cuvée into a unique wine that expresses all the characteristic elegance and finesse of the House of Perrier-Jouët. "I throw myself into each composition with one combined effort, like the creative flow of an artist, at that moment when intuition, sensitivity and skill somehow inexplicably come together." Hervé Deschamps.
Champagne Belle Epoque was Pierre Ernst's idea. Ernst was Michel Budin's associate, and ran the company before Thierry Budin took over. He found a dusty old bottle in a cupboard at Perrier-Jouet. It was the enamel decorated anemones bottle signed by Emile Galle, the great art nouveau glassmaker, who in 1902 designed it . Galle had created the design just two years before his death, to evoke the Gay Nineties, and Ernst thought it would make an ideal bottle to hold a special cuvee to sell through Maxim's . The first vintage to be released in this bottle was the 1964, launched in 1969, and it was indeed sold exclusively through Maxim's and Fauchon, the elite grocery store. In the early 1980 's, Belle Epoque Rose was launched with the 1976 vintage.
The house owns 27 hectares of Grand Cru plots in Cramant. Two that are most precious to the House are Bourons Leroy and Bourons du Midi as both plots contain rare pockets of pure chalk soil. Both combine to create the rare cuvée Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs which is only 1 percent of the total Belle Epoque production. "A unique cuvée, Belle Époque Blanc de Blancs reveals the purity and authenticity of the Perrier-Jouët terroir." Hervé Deschamps, Cellar Master.