In 1881, Eugène Laurent, the cellar master, inherited the small business of Champagne from Alphonse Pierlot and saw the need to develop it.

He provided it with the essential pillars for the production of great champagne wines: houses and land to constitute a real estate. He bought several houses in Tours-sur-Marne and acquired vineyards located on the best terroirs: Bouzy, Tours-sur-Marne, Ambonnay. He also had 800 meters of cellars dug and a tasting laboratory built.

This is how the Domaine Laurent-Perrier was born in Tours-sur-Marne. This picturesque village is ideally located at the crossroads of the three main wine-producing regions of the Marne, the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs, and is one of the 17 communes classified as Grand Cru in Champagne.

The champagne house Laurent-Perrier

The style Laurent-Perrier

Bernard de Nonancourt has created the Laurent-Perrier style. He knew how to use the traditional uses of Champagne, but also to initiate and stimulate new technical approaches ofelaboration. He gave birth to a range of unique wines, each with its own history and style.

Laurent-Perrier is recognized for its taste and the consistency of its quality, vintage after vintage. If everything starts in the vineyard, champagne wine is also made in the winery. Blending is the art of champagne, it is the know-how of Laurent-Perrier and its Cellar Master, Michel Fauconnet.

Making a wine is first of all selecting the best juices in the press.
To make a wine, it is to compose with 3 grape varieties: Chardonnay, very often the majority and the base of the style, Pinot Noir and Meunier.
Making a wine means choosing the clear wines that will go into the composition of each future cuvée in the range, from the best of the 320 AOC Champagne villages, including 17 Grands Crus and 44 Premiers Crus.

Making a wine means achieving the perfect balance between a base year and the reserve wines to find each year the style so characteristic of the House.
Making a wine also means aging our vintages for a long time so that they are perfectly ready to drink when they are put on the market.
Each of these steps can only be done if we have the best grapes, which is why the long-standing partnership, sometimes several generations, with local wine growers and cooperatives, is essential.

The imprint on the Champagnes Laurent-Perrier

At the end of the 1960s, Laurent-Perrier was one of the few Champagne Houses to choose stainless steel vats.

By controlling the first fermentation at low temperature, they leave the wine fresh and preserve the complexity of its aromas. They contribute to the development of the House's "style": freshness, finesse, elegance.
Bernard de Nonancourt shows his ambition for Laurent-Perrier by building the first thermo-regulated winery.

Alain Terrier, Cellar Master from 1983 to 2004, perfects the art ofblending, in keeping with the quest for excellence that nourishes the spirit of Laurent-Perrier. He selects grapes from the best areas of the Champagne vineyards, vinifies each batch separately and supervises the blending with great care. This parcel-based vinification has become a signature of the House: worked separately, each vineyard offers the Cellar Master who makes the blends a very wide range of aromas, terroirs and styles.

Michel Fauconnet, who succeeded him as Cellar Master, perpetuates this practice with his entire team.

The champagnes are marked by the Pinot Noir of Aÿ. Those of the range developed in stainless steel vats are ample and powerful. They are suitable for theaperitif, but also go well with lightly spiced dishes. Those vinified in barrels are even fuller and more dominant. Powerful, expressive, with a lot of substance, they are among the most concentrated champagnes of the whole region and, therefore, perfectly suited throughout the meal.

The house Laurent-Perrier, which has just entered its third century, was small before the Second World War. If it has become one of the largest, it is mainly thanks to the legendary Bernard de Nonancourt, who died in 2010 at the age of 90.

On May 4, 1945, Nonancourt, then a young tank commander, was in the Bavarian Alps, below the Eagle's Nest - Hitler's secret hideout - as Don and Petie Kladstrup report in War and Wine. Since he is from Champagne and knows a thing or two about wine, he is tasked with exploring a cellar supposedly housing the Führer's personal bottles. After having dynamited the steel door, he slips inside and discovers a formidable stock of wines. In the middle of the Châteaux Lafite, Margaux and d'Yquem are hundreds of cases of Salon. Little did he know that forty-four years later, he would add this prestigious brand to his empire.

Founded in 1812 in Tours-sur-Marne by André-Michel Pierlot, the House fell to his cellar master, Eugène Laurent, who gave it his name. After his accidental death in 1887, his wife, Mathilde Émilie Perrier, took over. A strong-willed widow, she developed the company and renamed it Laurent-Perrier. She was the first to launch a sugar-free champagne in the United Kingdom, with the slogan: "The recommended champagne when others are forbidden The House will reintroduce it in 1981, it will be the Ultra Brut.

On the eve of the First World War, the cellars of Laurent-Perrier had 600,000 bottles. In 1939, after the disasters of this war and the economic crisis, there were only 36 000 bottles. The new owner, Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt, bricked up the door, installed a statue of the Virgin Mary and waited for her sons to return. The eldest, Maurice, dies in a concentration camp. It is thus to Bernard that falls the task of re-developing the House Laurent-Perrier.

His mother insisted that he acquire a thorough knowledge of all aspects of the business from her family, within the House of Lanson, until she was assured of its seriousness. In 1948, he took over the business, which then had 20 employees and sold 80,000 bottles per year. With his cellar masters, Édouard Leclerc and Alain Terrier, he developed the elegant and fresh style of the House: the chardonnay half of the non-vintage brut is made from yeast, and a special strain of yeast is used so that the fruit flavors dominate the toasted bread flavor. He was one of the first to use temperature-controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks.

In 1968, when pink was perceived as an extremely frivolous color by the serious Houses, Laurent-Perrier innovated by releasing a rosé. It is obtained from a still wine, a rosé from Provence for example, whose color comes from the skin of black grapes, in this case pinot noir, and not from the addition of a drop of red wine. we believe that the aroma of the fruit is reflected in the smell and taste," says David Hesketh, director of Laurent-Perrier UK. For us, it's not the color that matters, as it varies from vintage to vintage."

Today the House has only 110 hectares of vineyards, which covers only 10% of its needs, but Hesketh explains, "Nonancourt considered it better to contract with good winemakers than to have poor vines. " When Bernard de Nonancourt took over the House, he was convinced that the secret of a good champagne lay in the blending and he proved it by releasing Grand Siècle in 1959, then made up of the 1952, 1953 and 1955 vintages. Sold in a bottle identical to the bottles of champagne drunk at Versailles in the time of Louis XIV, the Sun King, this vintage will always be a blend of three great vintagesexcept in 1985 and 1990, when it will be composed of only one vintage.

Today, an ad for Grand Siècle would never be shown on television. In 1975, however, French viewers saw one with Patrick MacNee and Linda Thorson as Steed and Tara King respectively in Chapeau Melon et bottes de cuir: she was beating a group of bad guys with an umbrella while he calmly opened a bottle of Grand Siècle.

As for Bernard de Nonancourt, who was succeeded by his two daughters, here is what Hesketh says about him: "He was a man of extreme kindness. His passion for champagne was palpable, and working alongside him, when he was working to make this House what it is today, must have been extraordinary."

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