Tuesday, July 26, 2016

LeDomduVin: Laurent-Perrier Bouzy Rouge Cuvée Cent Cinquantenaire 1812-1962

Laurent-Perrier Bouzy Rouge Cuvée Cent Cinquantenaire 1812-1962 | LeDomduVin ©

Laurent-Perrier Bouzy Rouge 
Cuvée Cent Cinquantenaire 1812-1962

Sometimes life brings you surprises, and I came to stumble on the story of this bottle by coincidence. 

One of my colleagues sent me the picture above (taken by and courtesy of a friend of his who owns the bottle) asking me if I knew anything about the wine and what its approximate value on the current market could be. 

I told him I had no clue, but the label's old look and the bottle's state triggered my interest, and I decided to investigate for him.  

Of course, as a seasoned Sommelier, saying that I had no clue what a "Bouzy Rouge" is would be lying. As for its value, Bouzy Rouge wines are usually rather inexpensive despite their rarity. However, this particular bottle may have a symbolic value, if not a historical one. 

Bouzy Rouge wines are strictly produced from Pinot Noir grapes and are only in high-quality vintages. Only very few producers still craft this delightful and cool climate-refreshing red wine.

Located in the heart of the Champagne region in northeastern France, Bouzy is a little commune of about 1,000 inhabitants in the Marne department, resting southeast of Montagne de Reims (roughly between Reims and Epernay) 

Bouzy | Google maps 

Bouzy's vineyards are situated on hill slopes called "Cotes des Noirs" (meaning slopes of the black grapes) and are classified 100% Grand Cru in the Champagne vineyards classification. 

Village of Bouzy | courtesy of www.champagne-pierre-paillard.com

Like most wines, depending on the desired style, the quality of the vintage, and most importantly, the grapes, Bouzy wines can be aged in vats or in oak barrels, which give them more soul, substance, and character and often strengthen their unique terroir characteristics.

Laurent-Perrier underground Cellars | photo courtesy of www.outlaws.co.uk/producer/laurent-perrier-champagne

Like for the Champagne, Bouzy Rouge are put to rest in underground cellars, labyrinths of galleries carved in the chalky soil more than 5-7 m deep (much deeper for some), naturally maintaining a temperature of about 12°C all year long. 

Photo courtesy of Wine Folly

Bouzy Rouge is a very distinctive wine, characterized by its freshness, finesse, and elegance enhanced by a great acidity and structured by well- integrated tannins delivering an harmonious palate exacerbating juicy red cherry fruit flavors with earthy mineral notes lingering in the finish (description LeDomduVin)

But enough of the facts, let's go back to the bottle. The look and the fact that I could not find much on the internet about it almost put doubt in my mind about its authenticity (living in Hong Kong close to China with the amount of fake bottles around did not help either...). 

I decided to call then email Laurent-Perrier in order to get more info on this "UB" (unidentified bottle) and exchanged a few emails with Fanny Cribier (Chargée d'Etudes Documentaires a la Maison de Champagne Laurent-Perrier), who kindly gave me the following. 

Photo courtesy of www.delcampe.net

Laurent-Perrier used to produce Bouzy Rouge until 2005. Yet, even though they stopped the production, they humbly recognized that "Bouzy Rouge" allowed Laurent-Perrier, from the 50s, to be present on the finest tables of the French Gastronomy and Paris Haute Cuisine venues and other capital culinary scenes like London.     

That particular bottle is a rare specimen as it is one of the last remaining bottles amongst the few thousands produced at the time for the Cent Cinquantenaire Anniversary 1812-1962.  

As such, this bottle is part of the Laurent-Perrier Heritage and has a high historical and symbolic value in the eyes of Laurent-Perrier. 

It is such a treasured bottle that Laurent-Perrier may convince its current owner to exchange it if he is willing to part with it. 

As I said, life is full of surprises. Many connoisseurs and amateurs I know would have not even paid attention to such a bottle... "Oh, but this is just a Bouzy.. a cheap wine.. no interest...,"   but I did... and I'm glad I did... Otherwise, I would have never been a part of this story... of this preserved memory of the past...

Thanks to my colleague John for showing me the picture in the first place and asking for my help to get more info about it.

Thanks to Fanny Cribier (Chargée d'Etudes Documentaires a la maison de Champagne Laurent-Perrier) for her help in this small investigation.

Cheers! Santé! 

Dom  (aka Dominique Noel, aka LeDomduVin) 

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