The Pommery name is forever associated with Madame Louise Pommery, a famous and feisty widow who took control of the house in the 19th century following the death of her husband. Her vision was of a light, refined and dry style, and she is recognized as producing the first ‘brut’ style of champagne in 1874. In the late 20th century the house changed hands several times, and now belongs to Jean-Francois Vranken, who is dedicated to reenergizing the brand and recuperating the quality of the wines.
5 Place du General Gouraud, Reims.
The wines of Pommery all share a delicacy and precision, along with bright fruit and marked minerality.
Pommery Brut Royal
33% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Meunier from vines up to 60 years old. The blend consists of approximately 30% reserve wines.
40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Meunier. The wine is blended with a small amount of still red wine made from Pinot Noir and is aged in the cellars for at least 3 years.
Pommery Apanage Brut
45% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 20% Meunier. The wine is aged longer than the Brut Royal for a total of 42 months on the lees.
Pommery Apanage Rose
42% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 18% Meunier. Very much a food wine, the Apanage rose is hearty and robust.
Pommery Grand Cru
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir from 7 Grand Cru vineyards. A vintage wine made only in the best years.
60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Meunier. An assemblage brut rose. 40% of the blend comes from Grand Cru vineyards and 30% from Premier Cru sites. It is aged for 20 months.
100% Chardonnay. A non-vintage Blanc de Blancs.
100% Chardonnay. An Extra Dry Blanc de Blancs.
75% Pinot Noir, 25% Meunier. A Blanc de Noirs. The most difficult to produce in the style of Pommery as there is no Chardonnay. The wine is aged for 30 months.
Pommery Les Clos Pompadour (magnums only)
70% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 5% Meunier from the 25 hectare single vineyard, Clos Pompadour.
Pommery Cuvee Louise
60-65% Grand Cru Chardonnay from Avize and Cramant, 35-40% Grand Cru Pinot Noir from Ay. A vintage wine made only in the best years and aged between 6-8 years in the chalk cellars.
Pommery Cuvee Louise Rose
Mainly Chardonnay with Pinot Noir, the actual blend varies depending on the vintage. Made from only one harvest and only in the best years.
Louis Alexandre Pommery was involved with the house of Pommery for only two years before his untimely demise. During that time, he was somewhat apathetic about the promotion of his wines. Upon his passing, however, his extremely ambitious widow had a clear vision for the future of the house, and she was the one to put these wines on the map.
Madame Louise Pommery, second only to the widow (‘veuve’) Clicquot in fame and renown, was a force in Champagne in the mid-19th century. During her tenure, she built underground cellars 18 kilometers long with attractive arches and striking carvings on the walls. Louise was greatly interested in art and displayed it throughout the main house and cellars – a tradition that continues today.
In addition to embellishing the house, her biggest contribution is undoubtedly her creation of the first indisputably dry (brut) champagne. The fashion at the time was for heavy dosage to mask any inconsistencies in the wines. But Madame Pommery’s palate preferred a drier, more refined style, and she realised this was true of many others, especially in England. Her release of the illustrious 1874 vintage, with between 6-9 grams of residual sugar, astounded and delighted champagne lovers everywhere.
At the same time, she very astutely began amassing top vineyard sites, mainly in the Montagne de Reims area.
The next in line to inherit the house from Madame Pommery was her daughter, Louise, who assumed operations along with her husband, Prince Guy de Polignac. The house managed to stay in family hands until 1979 when a quick succession of different owners took possession, starting with Xavier Gardinier. Owner of Lanson at the time, Gardinier sold the house to finance his purchase of a chateau in Bordeaux. His buyer, the French food and wine conglomerate BSN, then sold the house to LVMH in 1990. The goal for LVMH at the time was to ramp up production rapidly, which had negative repercussions for the quality of the wines. After only six years of ownership, they sold Pommery to Belgian businessman Jean-Francois Vranken, but held on to some of the prime vineyard land.
Vranken is the current owner today, and he has revived the house and the brand. His choice to recruit the help and talents of cellar master Thierry Gasco has proven extremely effective.
Gasco has an intimate knowledge of Champagne – his father was the cellar master of Lanson – and before coming to Pommery he worked for Champagne De Venoge. He is involved with many committees and associations in Champagne and is a member of the Technical Commission of the CIVC.
The majority of the Pommery vineyards are located in Ay, Avize and Cramant. They also own the largest walled vineyard in Champagne - the Clos Pompadour, covering 25 hectares in the heart of Reims - from which they produce a single vineyard wine in magnum. The extensive holdings of the house supply only 30-35% of their total requirements, and the rest is bought from judicious growers in the area.
Madame Pommery’s legacy is of a champagne style that is light and vibrant, which is why Gasco concentrates on Chardonnay as the main ingredient for his wines. The lively fruit character, combined with the terroir-driven elegance of Chardonnay, provides the ideal stage for the wines to perform.
Almost all the wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks, however a few spend time in small oak barrels. It depends on the evolution of the vintage and what Gasco thinks will serve the wines best.