What is a celebration without champagne? Especially when said celebration is all about champagne! Founded in 1812 when Eugene Laurent and Mathilde Emilie Perrier fell in love and married, French house Laurent Perrier celebrates 200 years of wine-making this year. For a lucky few select Australian devotees this meant a chance to sip a champagne specially released for bicentenary; Grand Siecle Reserve. Translating to ‘grand century’, the champagne is a balancing act between a trio of outstanding vintages from 1990, 1993 and 1995. Only six bottles are likely to make it onto our shores and into our flutes (I may have participated in the consuming of two of them already). It’s enough to make a grown Frenchman cry.
Laurent Perrier’s Victorian face Alan Nelson describes champagne as “a mix of fashion and perfume”. “It’s not like dealing with wine at all. Champagne is both glamorous, aspirational and let’s face it we all want it. I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t (maybe the odd yobbo down the football probably, but what would they know anyway!).”
Over a sparkling lunch at Circa The Prince, proprietor Julian Gerner reveals his assertion that the mark of the crown that now adorns Laurent Perrier’s bottles is due to his venue’s association with the champagne house (rather than their official title as purveyor of champagne to the Prince of Wales). After a few more glasses of Grand Siecle (or their fabulous brut rosé which is my favourite) I’m likely to start believing him.