Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque 2002
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
The aspect - clear, crystalline and translucent; the fresh-fruit and white flower notes offset by a hint of citrus and a vanilla finish on the nose; a wine at once rounded and delicate where depth and acidity combine and contrast with each other.
Wine Enthusiast - "With it's distinctive flower bottle, this is an immediately recognizable Champagne, both in its looks and its distinctive Perrier-Jouët elegance. Lively while fruits play with acidity and a tangy back-bone of apple skins."
Wine Spectator - "Loads of gingerbread, honey and grapefruit flavors course through this vibrant Champagne, which is medium-bodied and balanced, lingering nicely on the nutty finish. Should develop quickly. Drink now through 2024."
International Wine Cellar - "Light gold. Fresh citrus and pear aromas are complemented by notes of brioche, honey and minerals. Fruit-driven, silky and refreshing, with an undertone of minerals adding lift to the sappy pear and nectarine flavors. Finishes on a brisk note of lemon curd, with very good, gently toasty persistence. I like this wine's balance and sneaky depth."
Wine & Spirits - "A relatively gentle 2002, this begins in a tight place, yielding little more than ginger scents. With air, fresh nut flavors emerge, hinting at Marcona almonds, macadamia and something sweeter, like marzipan. Probably at its best in a year or two, to serve with a whole roasted fish."
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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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