Laurent-Perrier is one of Champagne's most famous houses, founded in 1812 in the village of Tours-sur-Marne. Its house style is known for its finesse and elegance. Chardonnay is the dominant grape variety in La Cuvée (the renamed Brut NV), accounting for 55 percent of the blend. This proportion was increased from 2004 when the company gained access to some additional Chardonnay vineyards. Recently the dosage has dropped from 12.5 to 9 grams per liter.
Across the range Pinot Noir is used to provide structure and ageability. Pinot Meunier is only used in small proportions in La Cuvée NV Brut and the Harmony Demi-Sec cuvée. The Brut Vintage is made less often than is the case for some houses. Both this and the Ultra Brut (in fact a brut nature / zero dosage wine) are typically made from equal parts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Alongside these white wines, Laurent-Perrier makes a pair of rosé Champagnes (for which it is particularly well known). The popular Cuvée Rosé is made entirely from Pinot Noir. In its elegant bottle inspired by the times of French King Henri IV, Cuvée Rosé Laurent-Perrier soon made a name for itself and has become the most recognized rosé champagne in the world and is considered a benchmark for rosé champagne. The wine is made using nearly a dozen crus, most of them Grands Crus as well as special plots in the vineyards owned by Laurent-Perrier itself. The Pinot Noir grapes are selected for their perfect ripeness and manually sorted in Laurent-Perrier harvest stations, then destemmed to retain only the berries before they go into the maceration tanks. The maceration process lasts 48-72 hours after picking and extracts a delicate salmon pink color expressing the full aromatic breadth of the Pinot Noir grapes. After bottling the wine is aged a minimum of four year in bottle before release.
The wines are vinified separately by vineyard, allowing for more control over the blending process. Laurent-Perrier was one of the first Champagne houses to use stainless steel tanks for fermentation. The company has thousands of bottles stored in 11 kilometers (seven miles) of cool, humid cellars under the house at Tours-sur-Marne, awaiting their eventual disgorgement and release.
Like Veuve Clicquot, Laurent Perrier's success is due to a widow, in this case Mathilde Emilie Perrier. After the vineyards were established, the original owner gave control of the company to his cellarmaster Eugene Laurent and his wife Perrier.
After his death in 1887, Perrier took over the house, naming it for herself and her late husband. Under her leadership, Laurent-Perrier became one of Champagne's most successful companies in the years leading up to World War I.
Laurent-Perrier was sold in 1939 to the de Nonancourt family. Bernard de Nonancourt, a war hero who was a part of the unit that unearthed Hitler's wine cellar following World War II, took control of the house in 1948. He held the reigns until his death in 2010, and is widely credited with creating the modern image of Laurent-Perrier.
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