Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque 1999
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
The 1999 Fleur de Champagne is a Brut wine, composed of 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier grapes. The blend contains a high proportion of Chardonnay that comes from the grand crus of the Côte des Blancs. Pinot Noir originating from the 100-percent-rated villages of Mailly, Verzenay and Verzy in the Montagne de Reims combine with the Chardonnay to create a delicate cuvée. The cold, frostless winter of 1999, coupled with a moderate spring and cool August, were perfect weather conditions, resulting in an excellent harvest.
Color: Pale gold
Bouquet: The wine shows hints of floral and fruit aromas, opening with white flowers and a touch of honey, ending with a hint of brioche.
Palate: The palate is crisp and clean, with hints of almond and nougat. While the cuvée is light and elegant, it has a surprisingly long finish.
Wine Spectator - "Round and expressive, offering caramel, apricot and vanilla pastry aromas and flavors on an elegant frame. On the soft side, this is a voluptuous, inviting Champagne that's easy to sink into, with a long, nutty finish. Drink now through 2018. "
International Wine Cellar - "Pale straw with a lively bead. Musky yellow plum and cling peach aromas are complicated by nutmeg and dried flowers. Broad and fleshy, with powerful pit fruit and cherry pit flavors and a slightly bitter citrus pith grip. An earthy, weighty, serious style of Champagne, in need of rich food. "
Perrier-Jouët was founded in 1811 in Epernay by Pierre-Nicolas-Marie Perrier and his wife, Adele Jouët. One of the most prestigious houses in Champagne, the firm was shipping wine to Great Britain by 1813 and to the United States by 1837. Perrier-Jouët owns 266 acres of vineyards in Champagne, with an average rating of 95%, and is known worldwide for its consistency of style.
By the end of the 19th Century, its Brut cuvées earned the reputation of nobility and prestige that continues today. Perrier Jouët's glamorous "Cuvée Belle Epoque", known in the United States as Fleur de Champagne, was launched in 1969 and has become the most important cuvée de prestige to appear after World War II. The bottle is adorned with enamel-painted anenomes originally created by Emile Gallé in 1900, but the wine is as famous for its taste as it is for its beautiful packaging. View all Perrier-Jouët Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.