Laurent Perrier is one of the most famous Champagnes across the world. As of 2017, Laurent-Perrier is the fifth largest Champagne brands in the world. Unlike other large Champagne houses that are mostly owned by multinational companies, Laurent Perrier remains family-owned.
Laurent-Perrier was founded in 1812 (also the birth year of Charles Dickens), it was owned by a few families over the past two decades. Bernard de Nonancourt took over Laurent Perrier in 1948 after a three year apprenticeship with Delamotte and Lanson. Until the management of de Nonancourt, Laurent-Perrier turned into one of the biggest Champagne houses in the world, the sales increased by one hundredfold from 1950 to 2000. de Nonancourt remained in control of Laurent Perrier until his death in 2010. After his departure, the two daughters of de Nonancourt took over the business.
Vineyard and Production
Grape Source: They buy 2/3 of the grapes from more than 1200 growers and picks the remaining 1/3 from both their estate-owned vineyards and leased contract vineyards.
Cellar Master: Michel Fauconnet
Style of wine: Elegant, reductive, and clean.
Annual production: 8 million bottles
Fun fact: Laurent Perrier is one of the first Champagne houses to vinify and age all their wines in stainless steel tanks.
Laurent Perrier is most famous for their rosé Champagne, which is unusually made differently. Laurent Perrier is the only large Champagne house that uses the Saignee method (leaving the skin in the juice and ‘bleed’ colour from dark skin grapes) rather than the common rosé d’assemblage method (adding 5-20% red wine before second fermentation).
Fun fact: Laurent Perrier is also the first large Champagne house to create of ‘prestige’ non-vintage cuvee (a blend of three excellent vintages) and a zero dosage Champagne.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a Laurent Perrier dinner organised by Laurent Perrier UK and Vivino at the Chef’s Table in The Dorchester, London.
Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut
‘La Cuvée’ is Laurent Perrier’s new house champagne, replacing their entry level Non Vintage Brut. Rebrand so to say.. but they also increased the reserve wine to 50% to improve on consistency, added 1 year of extra ageing on lees, tightened grape selection, and slightly reduced the dosage sweetness. Base vintage 2012 – A clear step-up in quality compared to the NV Brut, more approachable with a richer lees. Still a light bodied and easy-drinking wine. (83/100)
Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut
The Ultra Brut is Laurent Perrier’s zero dosage non-vintage wine. 100% Stainless steel like all Laurent Perrier wines. The Ultra Brut exhibits a muscular style with richer lees than the La Cuvée. Vibrant and high-toned toasty aroma with some mature flavours (I wouldn’t be surprised if the base vintage was 2009). Good weight, sharp and laser-like acidity. Not sure whether the zero dosage complemented this style of wine, hard work to keep the balance on the palate. (83/100)
Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rosé
Sweet strawberries and cream. Very fragrant and lifted spices. Pinot flavours driven with a rounded structure. Gentle effervescence and bright redcurrant and juicy berries. Stylish without much complexity and depth. (85/100)
Laurent Perrier Cuvee Alexandra 2004
Laurent Perrier Cuvee Alexandra is the only large Champagne house that uses the Saignee method (leaving the skin in the juice and ‘bleed’ colour from dark skin grapes) rather than the usual rosé d’assemblage method. Created in 1987 by Bernard de Nonancourt to celebrate his eldest daughter, Alexandra’s marriage. The 2004 is the 7th release of this cuvee. Gorgeous aroma of stylish red fruit, mandarin and peach. Beautiful summer perfume with intense flavours. Unbelievably delicate and complex. (95/100)
Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle
This is no ordinary non-vintage Champagne. Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle is a special non-vintage Champagne that is an assemblage of three excellent vintages, offering a unique expression compared to vintage Champagnes. The blending for the current release is – 2004, 2002, and 1999. This Grand Siecle is incredibly powerful and potent. Due to the stainless steel, reductive style of Laurent Perrier, this 04/02/99 tasted considerably younger than its age. Rich lees and dairy, slight honey and powerful fruits. Too young to drink. (92/100)
Laurent Perrier Demi-Sec Harmony
Sweet Champagnes were once very popular in the 19th Century, but the sweetness faded away gradually. Nowadays, zero dosage champagnes are very popular amongst many Champagne connoisseurs, and sweet champagnes are now few and far between. The Laurent Perrier Demi-Sec Harmony is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier. This tasted very young (2013/2014 base wine?), and the 40g/L sweetness amplifies the freshness as well. The effervescent is aggressive and needed half an hour in the glass to mellow down. The acidity and sweetness balance well with each other, however the juice is generic. (80/100)