Perrier-Jouët Bella Époque 2004
Pretty bottle first, serious sparkling wine second.
Or at least that’s the way I’ve always viewed Bella Époque, the Champagne itself just a little soft and broadish considering its pricetag and grand marque positioning.
|Thomas Lignier on the sabre|
But the more I think about, the more I question whether I may just be ‘missing’ the style. Is delicacy underrated in the Champagne context?
At a recent function in Sydney I asked the Perrier-Jouët global ambassador, Thomas Lignier, what exactly the style intention was for Bella Époque, just to get a perspective of where the makers are coming from.
‘It’s a more elegant and refined style of Champagne’ he said ‘it is Chardonnay dominant and typically very feminine’. In Thomas’ eyes this is a pretty wine and is deliberately built as such – that is simply the house style.
This 2004 tows fits that mould too – its both subtle and delicate, whilst also just a little ill-defined, the nose all white flower and vanilla bean Chardonnay fruit (which is surprising considering that it is just 50% of the blend) in a quite reticent form.
For all of the shyness of the nose, the wine itself tastes fresh and long and genuinely well built, a Champagne that is citrussy, tight and artfully made, a more substantial drink than just the nose might suggest, even if it lacks some palate weight.
Ultimately this wine presents a conundrum. I enjoyed drinking it greatly and it fulfils the brief with aplumb, I just wonder whether it is as profound as what it could be (and indeed whether the intention is to aim for profound wine in the first place).
Score: 17.8/20 92/100
Would I buy it? No. Enjoyed my glass though.