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A single harvest, a single grape variety, a single terroir.
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs champagne is not only the rarest Perrier-Jouët cuvée, but also the most emblematic – the culmination of the House’s 200-year expertise in revealing the intricate floral facets of its signature Chardonnay grape. Sourced from just two legendary parcels of vines, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs is the expression of a single grape variety, a single terroir and a single year – a sublime champagne shimmering with golden light, whose freshness and purity are the exhilarating prelude to an explosion of lush floral notes.
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs is crafted from 100% Chardonnay grapes from only two small parcels of vines – Bouron Leroi and Bouron du Midi – within Cramant, one of the most prestigious Grand Cru villages in the renowned Côte des Blancs. These two exceptional plots, covering just 6.8 hectares/16.8 acres, were among the first acquired by Maison Perrier-Jouët in the mid-19th century, when Charles Perrier, the son of the founders, used his extensive knowledge of viticulture and the terroirs of Champagne to identify their potential for yielding the supreme expression of the Chardonnay grape. Bouron Leroi and Bouron du Midi do indeed unite all the conditions necessary for revealing the unique floral character of Chardonnay. Set halfway up a gentle southeast-facing slope, they enjoy ideal exposure to the morning sun, while their chalky soil maintains constant levels of humidity throughout the year.
The small size of these prized plots, and Maison Perrier-Jouët’s meticulous approach to viticulture, mean that only a limited quantity of grapes can be produced in any given year, while a vintage is declared only in years of near-perfect conditions. Consequently, no vintage of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs numbers more than 40,000 bottles.
A difficult start to the year led to early budbreak. There were some damaging hailstorms in early May, but the frost ultimately stayed away. The summer was overall warm and thanks to the hot and dry August, the grapes looked promising for the harvest. However, a damp September challenged producers and dilution was an issue for some. The 1999 harvest that started on September 15th produced a large yield (12,989 kg/ha) of sweet grapes that resulted in soft wines, low in acidity, which produced Champagnes that, in many cases, miss linearity and structure. Voluptuous and enjoyable with ripe, fruity, even exotic characters but in most cases for the medium-term only, even if the best seem to be maturing better than initially expected. The red wines of the year were exceptional and resulted in some outstanding prestige cuvée rosés, such as Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé and Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé.