About Laurent-Perrier Champagne
Mention the name Laurent-Perrier and minds inevitably turn to visions of arguably, the best known and most revered Rose Champagne produced – the squat, green bottle of Laurent Perrier Rose, with its pink label, has become synonymous with quality, style, romanticism, and pure enjoyment. However there is far more to the Laurent-Perrier brand than just Rose.
It often comes as a surprise that Laurent-Perrier is the 5th biggest Champagne brand in the UK, ahead of arguably better known names such as Lanson, Taittinger and Piper-Heidsieck. In Champagne production terms, it is even more important, being the 3rd largest producer in Champagne, in terms of value, the 4th by volume of production, with sales of over 8 million bottles per annum.
What's The Background To Laurent-Perrier?
The Laurent-Perrier Champagne house was founded in 1812, but owes much of its history and legacy to 2 strong women, who forged the destiny of the house. In the 19th century, Mathilde Perrier, the widow of the owner Eugene Laurent, was the driving force behind the brand, creating the name Laurent-Perrier, and building sales of the Champagne brand in both France and internationally, especially England, up to 50,000cls.
She died in 1925, leaving the company to Eugenie Laurent, but in a very bad financial state; Eugenie sold the virtually bankrupt business in 1939 to Marie-Louise de Nonancourt, who bought it as an investment for her sons, and fought very hard to keep the business afloat, through the Second World War and much hardship. One of her sons died in a concentration camp, but the second son, Bernard, returned from war to take over the business and build the legacy of Laurent-Perrier.
Bernard de Nonancourt was a visionary and innovator, who is largely responsible for turning the company into the major force in the Champagne market that it is today. He was one of the first to introduce a higher proportion of Chardonnay into the house blend, in order to produce a lighter, fresher style, and in 1963, again one of the first to bring in the practice of fermenting the wines in stainless steel rather than oak, in order to preserve the freshness and pure fruit style of the wine.
But it was in 1959, that Bernard de Nonancourt undertook, arguably, his most controversial and ground-breaking project – the creation of a prestige, multi-vintage blend, when at the time, all the prestige cuvees were from a single vineyard. Not only that, but he then put the focus on a prestige Rose cuvee, which became the world renouned and revered Laurent-Perrier Rose, launched in 1968, amidst derisory claims that no one could launch a ‘serious’ Rose Champagne.
Finally, he re-introduced a bone dry style of Champagne, which had first been introduced in 1889, with zero dosage, i.e. absolutely no sugar addition in the final blend, known as Laurent-Perrier Ultra brut, and now beloved of Parisian ladies and catwalk models, due to its lower calorie count!
Today the company is run by Bernard’s 2 daughters, and is still 57% family controlled.
What Styles Of Wine Does Laurent-Perrier Make?
Laurent Perrier Brut NV - the house style, this is predominantly Chardonnay, unlike many other houses, and has a delicate, fresh, elegant style.
Laurent Perrier Brut Rose NV - probably one of the most recognised Champagne bottles in the world! With careful selection of grapes, maceration to exact just the right colour, and following fermentation, a minimum of 4 years bottle ageing, this is a unique, serious Rose, with bright fruit, and deep, complex character.
Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut NV - launched in the early 1980s, a bone dry, ethereal, pure Champagne, with no sugar, just crisp, lean, but oh so elegant fruit.
Laurent Perrier Demi-Sec - an off dry, richer style, with a higher degree of sugar dosage, yet still preserving the freshness and vivacity of the house style.
Laurent Perrier Cuvee Alexandra Rose Brut - a vintage rose created in 1987 for the marriage of Bernard’s daughter Alexandra, and made only in top years – only 6 vintages have been produced since the launch. Elegant, stylish, with restrained berry fruit.
Laurent Perrier Brut Vintage - working with a similar style to the house non-vintage, these are wines produced with a similarly high proportion of Chardonnay, but only in exceptional vintages.