Primed to be one of the most sought after Belle Epoque cuvée vintages in the past 20 years, the Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2007 was recently unveiled in Singapore. In celebration, a beautiful French-Japanese champagne pairing dinner was hosted at Lewin Terrace where we had the opportunity to catch-up with Perrier-Jouët’s Chef de Cave, Hervé Deschamps.
With a jovial and warm personality, Deschamps discussed the inspiration behind the vintage. As only the seventh Chef de Cave since the House of Perrier-Jouët was first conceived in 1811, Deschamps explained the significance of his long tenure as Chief Winemaker, “You are the guardian of quality and memories for the house,” he said. “It’s very important to be consistent – to maintain the style. It’s a minimum of 30 years to have this consistency.”
Deschamps first assisted the previous cellar master at Perrier-Jouët for 10 years to understand what he describes as a “patient art of blending champagne”. “Unlike other types of alcohol like whisky and cognac, you only see results anywhere between two to six years (depending if it’s a vintage),” he said. “So when you create a blend it’s very important to have a vision.”
“2007 was a very special year with an early spring – it was very warm in April and May,” explains Deschamps. “The flowering started at the end of May but hits its peak in the middle to end of June. Harvesting is at the end of August instead of end of September.” Warm summer days meant cool summer nights, which lead to better preservation of the natural acidity. “It’s not every year that you can achieve a balance between the alcohol and acidity. 2007 is the only good year for the past 20 years.” said Deschamps.
For Deschamps, blending a vintage is not unlike putting together a flower bouquet. His aim was to create a blend of delicately fruity and floral scents dominated by aromas of elderflower, peach, Yuzu zest and cherries. Only mildly acidic and wonderfully refreshing, he explains that the peach tinted vintage is best paired with “Japanese cuisine, with raw fish like sashimi or with scallops and crabs. Seafood, lots of seafood.”
Of the 2007’s elegant design, Deschamp was proud to explain the heritage. “In 1902, Emile Gallé (leader of the Art Nouveau movement) created the decor for this bottle. He had tried some champagne before and had a vision of this kind of flower — a Japanese anemone — very specifically. While the beautifully-enamelled flora on each bottle expresses a “powerful femininity,” Deschamps reassures us that champagne is not just for women but should be appreciated by a large audience, particularly by “people who like the arts and elegance.”
This is one of many visits to Asia that Deschamps has made and he see’s similarities with his home region. “It’s not the same culture, it’s not the cuisine, it’s not even the same weather but here you also drink white champagne for happiness.”
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2007 will be available at Fullerton Hotel, Fullerton Bay Hotel, Grand Hyatt, Shangri- La, Saint Pierre, Flutes, Gunther’s, Tamashii Robatoya, The Black Swan, and Gattopardo from June 2015 onwards.