Perrier-Jouët is based in Epernay and produces approximately 3 million bottles of wine a year. They were founded over 2 centuries ago in 1811 by Pierre-Nicolas Perrier, and the Jouët came from his wife's maiden name. Shortly afterwards they were exporting to the England and then the US. They have had a number of ownership changes, have been owned by Mumm and Seagram, are are currently owned by Pernod Ricard, a French company best known for their Pernod. Pernod Ricard also owns numerous other alcohol related brands, including Jamesons Irish Whiskey, Absolut, Chivas Regal, and about 2 dozen more.
Under the leadership of Charles Perrier, the son of the founder, they were early innovators. In 1854, when most Champagnes were very sweet, they essentially invented the "Brut" style and many others quickly followed with dry Champagnes as well. They were an early producer of vintage champagne, which wasn't widely available until the 1890s. Another early innovation was making single vineyard wines and labeling their bottles with origin information, such as the names of the villages where the grapes came from. These practices are still not widespread, but becoming more common today with the influence of more grower wines as well as some houses such as Krug.
They are best known for their "Flower Bottle" Champagne, officially known as "La Belle Epoque" or "Fleur de Champagne" in the United States. Its is their Vintage Tete de Cuvee and with 50% Chardonnay from Cramant and Avize, 45% Pinot Noir from Mailly, and surprisingly for a Tete de Cuvee also contains 5% Pinot Meunier (in their words, "to complete the harmony"). The La Belle Epoque Rose is similar with the addition of some still Pinot Noir, and the La Belle Epoque Blanc de blancs is 100% Cramant Chardonnay from choice plots.
Early in my Champagne drinking days I had been underwhelmed, nearly bored, by this wine several times and have found it is a common experience. Not only is it elegant and delicate rather than a powerhouse wine, but it also requires a few years to show it's true grace and elegance. It is truly fine wine!
Other wines produced by Perrier-Jouët include the Non Vintage Grand Brut ( 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay) and Blason Rose (slightly more Pinot Noir).
The Grand Brut was my house bubbly for years.
Tasting Note: Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut - March 2013, rated B+
The nose is Crisp lemon, lime, some apple. More minerals enter the picture as it warms and breathes.
On the palate there is lemon custard, juicy apple and minerals. Rather pleasantly sweet but not too sweet. Creamy as it warms. Slight tinge of orange peel.
This wine just kept getting better. I can't help but think that 6-24 months of aging, even though it is a non vintage wine, would make it show even better.
This did not disappoint and is a solid value at its price point of around UD$40-45.