Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque
Belle Epoque is a marvellous reflection of Perrier-Jouët's matchless expertise. This vintage champagne dominated by the noble Chardonnay grapes from Cramant, has been made from the most prestigious crus in the Champagne region. It is distinguished by its finesse, and its truly outstanding bouquet and fruity flavour. 1998 Vintage. The year was characterised by a lot of rain, particularly during April, June and the beginning of September. Spring was wet and cold. Temperatures dropped to -4°C on 13th and 14th April and frosts affected the Chardonnay crop. Milder temperatures at the beginning of June encouraged quick and even flowering. Rains returned at beginning of July, but the second half of the month was dry, but not sunny. August was a heat wave. It rained from 1st September for 15 days solidly, but the cold prevented grey rot and the sun in late September stabilised maturation until the end of harvest. 1998 Harvest. Picking began on 18th September for Chardonnay and 19th September for Pinot Noir. A good harvest in terms of volume and quality, the sugar-acidity balance comparable with 1992, 1989 and 1985. Ripeness: 9.7% vol, with 7.8g/l acidity and 3.06pH. Grape yield: 12,936 kg/ha (including 2,600 kg/ha for reserve stocks). Grape price: 25 Francs per kg. Key Wine Making Points. The Chardonnay wines from Cramant and Avize showed potential for a classic vintage for Belle Epoque: full-bodied but soft, with floral accents and notes of white, citrus and exotic fruits. Strong contrasts were discernible between early-harvested wines (lighter and fresher) and those made from grapes picked towards the end of the vintage (more mature and substantial). All wines showed good balance between sugar and acid. Reviews. 94/100.""This was an excellent year for Chardonnay and that shines through. The nose has a candied aspect, followed on the palate by savoury tones. It's light and delicate, creamy and elegant, but not yet quite formed. This is due in the UK in March 2006 and needs that time at least to come together. Drink 2006-2025."". Charles Metcalfe, Wine International Magazine, December 2005.