On occasion, life throws you opportunities to drink something very special. And while CT is not about how much you can spend on quality champagne (moreover, we’re about how much you could save) we also think that any chance of being able to experience the upper echelons of the drink should never be ignored!
So to cover these drinks we have created a “Splash Out” section of tasting notes (un-scored) to give an impression of bottles over $100. We hope you enjoy our humble opinions.
Perrier Jouët is the quiet next-door neighbour to loud and proud champagne giant Moët et Chandon, on the Avenue De Champagne in Epernay, Champagne. The Perrier Jouët house was established in 1811. It is famous for its flower-laden branding, particularly that of the prestigious and fancily painted Belle Epoqué vintage champagne bottles that you can spot in the special cabinets of most liquor stores. It is the 10th largest house in all of champagne and produces 3 million bottles per year.
The house operates as a Negociant Manipulant. It is also one of the Grande Marques & Maisons (Grand Brands & Houses) of Champagne.
No longer a family owned producer, in current guise it is owned by famous French liquor group Pernod Ricard (which makes it a sister brand to G.H. Mumm). This offers PJ extensive distribution around the world and makes it somewhat easy to find and obtain.
One of it’s rarer champagnes however, is its Blanc de Blancs. 100% Chardonnay in content it embodies what the PJ style is all about, as this seen as the grape that best embodies the house’s style.
Only a recent addition to select bottleshop shelves after years of refining by head wine maker (Chef de Cave) Hervé Deschamps, this Blanc de Blancs is an exercise in showcasing the excellence of PJ’s chardonnay supplies. The base wines are produced in stainless steel tanks, and undergo special fermentation methods (full malolactic) to give a creamy texture, prior to time in the cellar for more than 3 years.
But enough talk; let’s give it a try and see what you get.
From: Epernay, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: $120 from Vintage Cellars
Blend Ratio: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier: (0/100/0) with 8 g/l dosage.
Aging: 3+ Years
Sipped: June 2018
The first thing that intrigues about the PJ Blanc de Blancs is the colour of the wine and the bottle. A beautiful, crystal clear low-iron glass bottle holds the pale gold champagne that has an incredible clarity to it; super clear. Combined with the minimalist labelling stickers and a colour matched gold capsule, the whole offering just stands out – it makes the wine speak for itself.
The designer at PJ needs to be applauded because it’s just as classy as the house’s famous flower covered Belle Epoque bottles – which people hang on to long after the wine is drunk!
Getting down to business; make sure it is nice and chilled (6-7 degree’s is a good start), then knock the top off it and pour it out. It just sits there fizzing away with a great bubble stream.
A quick sniff gives a nice and very lively aroma of ripe lemons, sweetened off with honey and having the fresh baked bread smell that comes with good time spent on fermenting yeasts. It’s bang on point and enticing.
The first sip however, is where it makes its biggest statement. It’s certainly a well executed blanc de blancs; arriving with all the sweetness and tartness of the great pure chardonnay champagnes. It is expression allows for the use of all of the clichéd tasting lines: crispness, freshness, tangy… They are all very true. It has a great vitality to it.
It’s kind of like drinking a very good lemon tart with the right amount of cream, with clean and well balanced acidity that sits on the tongue and satisfies. There is no trace of burning, nor does it leave you hoping for more flavour. After a bit of time, the lemon tart evolves, smoothing itself out to finish with a slight caramelisation that reminds you of a matured red apple.
My recommendation: find the best oysters you can get, and treat yourself.
Maybe find someone to share the experience with too. It’s up to you…
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