Created in 1811, the iconic champagne was regularly served at Queen Victoria’s banquets, poured when Grace Kelly wed the Prince of Monaco, and, perhaps most infamously, delivered to Oscar Wilde’s prison cell. (Wilde is said to have requested a glass of Perrier-Jouët 1874 vintage as his dying wish – now that’s how you know a bottle of good champagne.)
Its reputation for taste and quality has stood the test of time but, unlike other heritage brands, Perrier-Jouët isn’t one to get bogged down in tradition. The house has continually evolved over its 200-year history, embracing new growing practices and technologies in its pursuit of excellence and better environmental stewardship. Which is exactly what caught our eye.
Over the past few years, the house has been implementing a program to promote sustainable viticulture across its vineyard. So far, this has included certifying 100 per cent of its vineyard as Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne, a zero-herbicide policy, steps to preserve biodiversity and regenerate soil health, and new sustainable growing practices. All of the waste from the vinification process (seeds, skins, pulp and lees) is composted or recycled to make essential oils and cooking oils, and Perrier-Jouët’s distinctive green bottles are also made from 85 per cent recycled glass.
The impressive environmental credentials don’t stop there. Perrier-Jouët has also reduced CO₂ emissions by 55 per cent since 2009, uses renewable energy to power all its sites, has a zero-flight policy for product transport and, most recently, launched a range of fully recyclable packaging made from 100 per cent natural fibres, sourced from FSC-certified forests. It’s big strides for a house that produces millions of bottles of champagne each year.
Oh, and did we mention the taste? Perrier-Jouët’s champagnes deliver all these environmental benefits without compromising on quality or a palatable experience. And while the house isn’t a lone trailblazer in this space (there are plenty of sustainable winemakers out there nowadays) it is setting a standard for other prestige labels.
If all this has you ready to raise a toast with an aromatic, vibrant and sparkling beverage in hand, then keep reading. These are Perrier-Jouët’s top tips for serving champagne like a pro at your next social gathering.
Never underestimate the power of a well-stocked ice bucket. Champagne is best served at 8–10°C. No cooler, no warmer. (Please don’t try to cheat by freezing your champagne bottle: it’s an OH&S hazard and will mess with the delicate flavour profile.)
This is the test that will really separate the sheep from the goats. The trick is to get a firm hold on the bottle and cork then carefully twist the bottle (not the cork!). As the bottle gets looser, you will feel the air pressure naturally start to push the cork out. This is when you can go in with a gentle flick of the thumb to pop your champagne bottle.
Okay so you know Moët is pronounced with a hard “t”, but here’s some champagne knowledge that will really impress your guests: the three-part tasting process.