While it may not have been the brightest of Sydney days by the harbour, glasses of Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque sparkled as the Champagne house launched its new 2006 vintage on 6 February at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Guest of honour Hervé Deschamps, Perrier-Jouët's chef de cave (or head winemaker), played host at an intimate lunch and guided the tasting.
"The 2006 Belle Époque, for me, represents something very special in [the] history of the house," said Deschamps. "It's a symbol of the continuation of a 200-year tradition, a tradition of producing exquisite Champagne that is uncompromising in taste and age."
Catered by the MCA Restaurant, the two-course lunch menu was designed to show off the strengths of Perrier-Jouët's portfolio, including the Grand Brut, Blason Rosé and of course the 2006 Belle Époque itself.
We ate Prawn and tarragon tortellini with Pernod and lime beurre blanc and salmon caviar, followed by fennel salt-crusted ocean trout with sumac yoghurt, quinoa, watercress and ribbons of cucumber.
We drank The Grand Brut made a handsome apéritif, followed by a tasting of the Blason Rosé and then the 2006 Belle Époque, a cuvée of 50 per cent chardonnay, 45 per cent pinot noir and a dash of pinot meunier. What does that mean? The 2006 vintage, Deschamps explained, was an extraordinary year for growing grapes, with the highest potential alcohol in the past decade. After ageing, six years to be exact, we're left with a light, silky and refreshing Champagne with a subtle kick in terms of aroma - imagine floral, stone fruit and apple.
We loved Deschamps explained that Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque was chosen by Prince Albert II of Monaco to be served at the official dinner for his wedding to Princess Charlene.