2008 Laurent-Perrier Brut, Champagne, France (750 ml)

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This delicious Brut Millésimé (Millésime means “vintage” in French) is from 2008. It is a blend of 50% Chardonnay from the Côtes des Blancs Grand Cru villages of Chouilly, Cramant, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger with 50% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims Grand Cru villages of Verzy, Verzenay, Mailly, Louvois and Bouzy. It was aged for nine years sur lie before disgorgement with a dosage of 8 grams per liter. André-Michel Pierlot settled in Tours-sur-Marne as a Champagne négotiant in 1812 and founded what would become Laurent-Perrier. He passed the business down to his son, Alphonse, who in turn, bequeathed it to his cellar master, Eugène Laurent, because he had no heirs to whom he could pass it on. The Champagne house became known as Laurent-Perrier when Mr. Laurent died suddenly in 1887 and his widow or “veuve” in French, Mathilde Emilie Perrier, had to take over the business (much the same way that Veuve Clicquot came to be.) Mathilde’s daughter, Eugénie-Hortense, took over in 1925 and tried to keep it afloat through the years following the Great Depression but unfortunately had to sell the estate in 1939 to Marie-Louise Nonancourt. It was Marie-Louise’s son, Bernard, who really grew Laurent-Perrier into the important global Champagne marque it is today. After fighting in the French Resistance during WWII and going through an apprenticeship performing every job from picking grapes, working in the cellar and on the street as a sales rep, Bernard was appointed Chairman and CEO at the age of 28. With his youthful energy and enthusiasm, he ushered in many technical innovations and developed an attractive brand image. One of the smartest things he did was invest in the growers who supply their grapes for production by allowing them to purchase a portion of the company. Today, the Nonancourt family (Bernard’s daughters who took over after he died in 2010) owns 60% while the growers own 40% and are true stakeholders in the success of Laurent-Perrier.

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