Review: Mercier Brut NV

Mercier is an eclectic champagne house located in Epernay, Champagne. Its origins begin in 1858 when Eugène Mercier founded the house. Mercier’s mission was to create champagne that was accessible to the masses but without forsaking quality.

To get the wider people’s attention Mercier was a quirky and innovative marketing man, particularly for the 19th century where there was no Instagram or Facebook. He spruiked (promoted) his wares across a wide range of mediums, creating film commercials for his champagne and adopting some abstract promotional items. Most notable was his participation in Expos where he performed tastings en-masse. A highlight of these was the 1889 World’s fair, where an enormous wine barrel with the capacity of approximately 800 regular barrels (or 200000 bottles) was made and displayed. Sadly for Mercier the display netted second place to the Eifel tower for best in show.

These days the marketing genius is left to the boffins at LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Moet & Hennessy) Group. Being part of this group makes Mercier the young stablemate to Moet and Chandon, Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot and Ruinart champagne houses. This youth is reflected in its price (around $42 a bottle) and this may well also be one of the key reasons why Mercier is one of the most popular champagnes in France.

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Details:

From: Epernay, Champagne, France
Code: NM-543-002
Cost & Source: $42 a bottle from Dan Murphy’s

Blend Ratio: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier (Unknown)
Aging: Unknown
Disgorged: Unknown
Sipped: Mid August 2016

In The Glass:

Look: A soft golden colour with good translucence. Bubbles are strong with a nice frequency.

Smell: Mercier NV Brut has a fresh fruity fragrance with an element of yeasty notes to it.

Taste: Mercier’s bubbly introduction starts off with a subtle honeyed first impression, which is quite pleasant. This alters toward a much drier middle profile where the sweetness is removed and replaced with a strong lemon rind and slightly vinegar flavour.

This phase of the Mercier brut also has a notably bitter acidity taking hold of the middle of your tongue, and is the flavour that remains with you for some time as it slowly begins to fade away.

Notes:

In spite of much research I cannot find any information on the blend proportions and aging, which is so far a first for any review I have done.

Recommendations:

Party Potential: Although Mercier has a nice price tag that makes it appealing for bulk purchasing for larger parties, if you are expecting it be a poor man’s Moet be prepared to not have your expectations met – for I find it too polarising to be a drink for most guests to enjoy. In the price region Piper (if not on sale) and Lanson and even Cattier offer competitive alternatives. As BYO Mercier is perfectly fine, but if you like depth of flavour then it may not be your best option.

As a Gift: It would make a reasonable present for anyone if you are looking to spend sub-$50. It’s nicely presented by a bit unknown in these parts, so I would use it as an informal gift or some kind of casual dinner party offering when invited.

At Home: Mercier Brut would perform reasonably well in a quiet seafood at home evening to spoil yourself. This is a champagne that is better exploited for matching and may require some trial and error.

Matching: Mercier brut, with its long and bitey finish is better suited to brothy, savoury items to match with – possibly boiled mussels or even Moules–Frites if you can go that fancy! On its own I think that it is not as strong as others in the price range.

Score & Verdict:

5.00/10

The young cousin of the most popular kids in town – but it’s not cut from entirely the same cloth. It’s a little more quirky and lacks the polish of its relatives. You can handle them from time to time but at some point they are going to leave a bad taste in your mouth with their behaviour.

At $42 I feel it is average value for the quality.

How did I drink it?

I bought a bottle for my Grandmother’s birthday, which was a relaxed and informal barbecue in the backyard.

How did you drink it?

And how did you find it? Let me know!

 

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