Laurent-Perrier is one of the most famous houses in Champagne. Owned by several families over the two centuries since its establishment, it was Bernard de Nonancourt who laid the foundation and philosophy of this house when he took over in 1948. Since then, his two daughters joined the firm and are now part of the management team of the holding company that controls the house. The house has never shied away from innovation, and was the first to introduce a prestige multi-vintage cuvee.
Tours-Sur-Marne, +33 3 26 58 91 22.
The wines of Laurent-Perrier are recognised for their freshness and minerality, and stand apart from those more focused on the expression of autolysis.
Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut
55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir from over 12 different villages. This zero dosage wine was launched in 1981, long before the style was fashionable, and was perhaps made as an ode to their famous wine sold in London in 1889, ‘Grand Vin Sans Sucre’. Matured for a minimum of 4 years.
50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Meunier. The wine ages on its lees for a minimum of 3 years (4-5 years for magnums) and has only a low dosage. Other than the Demi-Sec, it is the only wine in the range to utilise Meunier.
45% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 20% Meunier. This is a blend of over 55 crus and up to 20% reserve wines. The wine ages for at least 3 years and has a dosage of 40g/L.
Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle
55% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru villages of Avize, Chouilly, Cramant and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; and 45% Pinot Noir from Ambonnay, Bouzy, Louvois, Mailly, Tours-sur-Marne and Verzenay. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, malolactic fermentation is encouraged. After blending and second fermentation in bottle, the wine ages on the lees for 7-8 years. This multi-vintage wine is a blend of three years and is named after a prosperous era in France under the rule of the Sun King, Louis XIV, known as the ‘Grand Siecle’.
Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose
100% Pinot Noir derived from mostly Grand Cru villages in the Montagne de Reims. Quite possibly the most famous rose in the world, the wine is made by the saignee method. The grapes macerate on their skins for 48-72 hours which gives the wine not just its colour, but its depth of aroma and Pinot Noir character. The famous bottle is an homage to the era of King Henri IV in the 16th century.
Laurent-Perrier Grande Cuvee Alexandra Rose
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards. This wine was first released in 1987, in celebration of the marriage of Bernard de Nonancourt’s eldest daughter, Alexandra. The distinctive character of this vintage wine comes from a combined maceration period of Pinot Noir with a certain percentage of Chardonnay. The wine ages for at least eight years and is made only in the best vintages. Since its first release, only seven subsequent vintages have been deemed of high enough quality to produce the Alexandra Rose.
Laurent-Perrier Brut Millesime
Around 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. The proportion of each variety varies depending on the vintage, but all the grapes come from Grand Cru villages in the Cote des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. Only the first pressing is used. The wine ages in the cellars for seven years or more.
Laurent-Perrier Silver Jubilee 1977
A special cuvee created in celebration of the Queen of England’s Silver Jubilee.
Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Lumiere du Millenaire
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir selected from Grand Cru vineyards.
The house of Laurent-Perrier is one of the most recognized and popular brands in Champagne today. It has experienced extreme highs and lows in the two centuries since its establishment, but has withstood the tribulations to achieve great commercial success.
A cooper by the name of Andre Michel Pierlot founded the house in 1812. On his passing, he bestowed the house to Eugene Laurent, who ran it with his ambitious, determined wife, Mathilde Emilie Perrier. When Eugene died in 1887, Mathilde renamed the house Veuve Laurent Perrier and went on to achieve great renown for the champagne. The house might have achieved even greater heights were it not for the start of the first World War, which caused upheaval for the industry and devastation to the vineyards.
In 1925 Eugenie Hortense Laurent, the daughter of Mathilde, inherited the house upon the death of her mother. Eugenie worked hard to keep the house afloat, but the situation was too dire. When close to bankruptcy in 1939, she sold the house to Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt, who purchased it as an investment for her sons. However, just as she took control of the house, World War II began, and her two sons went off to fight in the French Resistance. Her elder son, whom she was grooming to run the company, was killed. It was therefore Bernard, her younger son, who began a rigorous training in all aspects of the business, and in 1948, at the age of 28, he was appointed chairman and CEO.
Bernard de Nonancourt excelled in his role. His innate passion for quality, tradition and innovation propelled the business to new levels of success. He established the foundations of the modern Laurent-Perrier and the celebrated range of wines we know today.
Bernard’s daughter, Alexandra Pereyre de Nonancourt, joined him in the business in 1987, and her sister, Stephanie Meneux de Nonancourt, joined in 1995. Bernard died in October of 2010 at age 90, but his vision, motivation and conviction were crucial to the development of the brand.
Today the house is controlled by the Laurent-Perrier Group. Bernard’s daughters are on the management board, along with cellar master Michel Fauconnet, and 43% of the company is owned by shareholders. In addition to Laurent-Perrier, they also oversee Champagne houses Salon, Delamotte, De Castellane and Lemoine.
Cellar master Michel Fauconnet has spent his entire career at Laurent-Perrier. Starting as a cellar worker in 1974, he was the assistant of the former chef de cave, Alain Terrier, for over a decade and took over the role himself in 2004. Michel is in charge not just of making the wines, but overseas all aspects from vineyard management to bottling.
The house owns 150 hectares of vineyards, but this supplies only a small percentage of their production. Over the decades, they have established strong bonds with the farmers whose grapes they buy, and only the best grapes from the best plots are used.
Bernard de Nonancourt was one of the first vintners in Champagne to make use of stainless steel tanks for fermentation in the late 1950s. He felt that this method helped to capture the freshness of the wine and the intricacy of the aromas. He is attributed with creating the first temperature controlled winery in the region.