John Souerbry Jean-Claude Fourmon President Joseph Perrier

Joseph Perrier President Jean-Claude Fourmon (right) with WAJ’s John Souerbry

Many thanks to BevMo! and Exclusive Imports Inc. for hosting me and other local wine and food writers recently at a private tasting of wines from several of their French producers. The event was held at BevMo’s Walnut Creek store and kicked off with an informative Joseph Perrier Champagne tasting, followed by tastings of other sparkling wines and Bordeaux blends that I’ll be writing about next week. Each of the wines tasted are available in Bay Area BevMo! stores for prices ranging from around $29 to $105 per bottle.

The Joseph Perrier Champagne tasting was presented by Jean-Claude Fourmon, President of Joseph Perrier. He explained that Joseph Perrier is located in Chálons-en-Champagne and produces a little over 83,000 cases annually. About 70% of their production is exported to various destinations worldwide, with the majority going to BevMo! in the United States. In France, their wine is sold primarily in wine shops and restaurants.

Joseph Perrier Brute ChampagneWe tasted their current release of Cuvée Royale Brut, which Jean-Claude described as their everyday sipping Champagne ($29.99 ClubBev price, Wine Spectator 90 points). It’s a very light, refreshing sparkling wine with notes of apple and peach. The blend is 35% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and the remaining Pinot Meunier. Joseph Perrier ages all their wines at least three years, twice the minimum period required by French law.

Of Joseph Perrier’s nine current releases, these are available in BevMo!:

Cuvée Royale Brut – described above

Blanc de Blancs Royale – 100% Chardonnay, aged at least five years ($69)

Joséphine – 52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, all from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards, aged at least seven years ($105)

Jean-Claude also explained that in the Champagne region, only about 10% of vineyards are owned by wineries, the remainder are owned by independent growers. Some of the growers have contracts with producers going back over 100 years, though with each vintage Joseph Perrier tries to purchase fruit from the highest quality vineyards possible. The end product is indeed a line of very enjoyable Champagne for every day drinking and for special occasions.

Joseph Perrier Champagne

69, avenue de Paris

51016 Chálons-en-Champagne, France (see map below photos)