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The Story

Ask the average Frenchman to name one champagne house their answer would probably be Mercier. For all of its present popularity, Mercier Champagne House owes its biggest debt of gratitude to its founder, Eugène Mercier. He was a man endowed with amazing energy, innovative vision and a flair for extraordinary publicity stunts, and he was only twenty years-old! His simple ambition was to bring high-quality champagne to everyday folk which he accomplished through a series of stunning events, an aggressive price policy and a highly-creative advertising strategy that retains its brilliance a century later.


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Vintage 1959

World’s eighth wonder

One of Éugene Mercier's greatest publicity stunts was a giant, twenty-tonne ‘Cathedral of Champagne’ cask – the world’s largest wine barrel. He wanted to build it from old Hungarian oak trees. For this reason, he sent his cooper, fittingly named Jolibois (literally ‘pretty woods’), to Hungary to handpick 150 oak trees, each of which were at least one hundred years old, which would be cut down for the vat’s construction. After fifteen years of hard work, on 7 July 1885 the Mercier’s inventory for that day registers: A 200,000 bottle barrel, estimated by the administration to hold 1,600 hectolitres, weighing 20,000 kilos and comprising 800 working pieces.
Only two years later, the grape harvest produced the needed 1,600 hectolitres of wine to fill the cask. It was the largest vintage ever achieved.
Eugène Mercier reserved his most breathtaking showmanship for the three world exhibitions held in Paris. For the first event in 1878 he had already built an enormous cask with a capacity of 75,000 bottles.

The ‘Eiffel Tower’ of wines

By the time the second fair was to take place in Paris in 1889, his ‘Cathedral of Champagne’ cask was ready. He announced that his cask would be one of the main attractions at the fair.
First, he had to tear down the walls of the enormous storeroom in which the cask was housed. Twenty-four hours later, on 17 April 1889, the cask was ready for transport to Paris. It took eight days and nights, twenty-four oxen from Morwan and eighteen horses, to transport this world’s largest wine cask with a 200,000-bottle capacity from Epernay to Paris.
On the journey, two bridges collapsed under the weight, and several others required major repairs. A large number of city lights and building facades were damaged. He had to buy five houses for a small fortune, which he then demolished in order to make way, but the publicity achieved made all the tough work worthwhile. Although the 20-tonne cask was overshadowed by the main attraction – the Eiffel Tower – it garnered loads of attention. Afterwards, it was returned to Epernay, where it was used for blending until 1947.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note


Deep, Amber and Bright


Medium, Round and Lingering


Mint, Apricot, Waxy, Mineral, Nutty and Sherry-like


Mature, Generous, Refined and Charming


Average in Acidity, Balanced, Complex, Good texture, Tired, Medium-bodied, Average, Round, Harmonious, Elegant and Dry



Written Notes

With slightly more mousse and freshness I would have melted utterly when faced with this wine. As should be the case with a 1959, one must put one's trust in power and authority. The aftertaste is extremely smoky and very long.

  • 90p
Good looking normal size bottle. Colour is amber, and looking bright and deep. On the nose it is open, mature, generous, charming and forward. The taste is round, harmonious, and dry, and average in acidity, medium-bodied, with balanced, good texture structure, tired and the palate is average. On the palate it is layered and has apricot, nutty, sherry-like, waxy, mineral and mint flavours. The finish is long, round and lingering. This wine is fine. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 1-5 years.
- (Created by Tb)
  • 87p



Épernay, Champagne


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 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Mercier Vintage Brut 1959  ( Mercier )

With slightly more mousse and freshness I would have melted utterly when faced with this wine. As should be the case with a 1959, one must put one's trust in power and authority. The aftertaste is extremely smoky and very long.

2m 13d ago

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