Joseph Perrier Champagne, France
Last week I was so lucky to be invited by St Austell to visit Champagne for a tour of the Joseph Perrier vineyard. It’s difficult to call it work as the day was mostly spent tasting the most fantastic champagnes from different vintages and styles. The only downer about the visit was the weather – it was 28 degrees in Somerset whilst in Paris it was rainy and dreary.
So on to the fun part – more about the Champagne…
Champagne is made up of 3 grape varieties – 2 red (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and one white (Chardonnay). All champagne has to follow strict criteria to earn the name, but the blends are individual to each house. It must be a minimum of 3 years old and I don’t want to bore you with the yeast extraction process, but you can see from the picture below that the bottles are laid flat at first and then slowly turned upright over a long period to extract the yeast.
Before the trip, I was a skeptic, mainly due to the price point. But after tasting these champagnes I must admit that the experience was mind blowing.
The Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royal house blend is a great drink. It’s fresh, appley, savoury and really lingers on the palate. It’s their entry level champagne but it really is a stunner. If you get a chance, snap it up and drink it at home. It would be great with seafood and shellfish – I think salmon (smoked or fresh), lobster, crab or scallops are all perfect pairings. If you want, pop in to Castle Bow where we serve all of the above.
We also visited the tomb and church of Dom Pérignon who was a monk and cellar master at the Benedictine abbey in Hautvillers. We learnt how he pioneered a number of winemaking techniques and was the first to blend grape varieties to improve the quality of wines by balancing one element with another to make a better whole.
It’s incredible how much work and passion goes in to creating champagne. As I always say, quality shines above all else and that’s what Joseph Perrier has achieved. So the next time you have a glass of champagne think of the craftsmanship and time that’s been spent creating it.