19th century bottle ? by Joseph Perrier

Picture of Björnstierne Antonsson

Björnstierne Antonsson

Here, in the next few hours, Björnstierne Antonsson will get a proper history lesson – spanning 154 vintages between 1860s-2014 [read the full champagne story] 

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

A sunny Thursday morning, yes or night it is still, when the alarm clock shows 04:12 when I get up. Taking the early bird from Stockholm to Paris. My driver Nicolas takes me whizzing with French frenzy and energy the few miles from the airport to my final destination, Châlons-en-Champagne, in the Marne river valley. Here, in the next few hours, I will get a proper history lesson – spanning 154 vintages between 1860s-2014.

An exciting & unexpected email …

I sat with my usual time pressure during the days before submitting various scripts. Dual screens with split-screen to have access to all much-needed info. In the speakers Cœur de Pirat sings; ‘Après ce temps je t’ai vraiment perdu. Et un seul ange à tes coté pendant que j’en oublie tes baisers.’ There is a pinging in the right screen longed down to the left.

A quick glance … I jump at the headline … ’19th century Champagne?!’ I curiously and a little impatiently open the email;

’My dear Champagne loving friend, I wanted to invite you to an exceptional experience within the Maison Joseph Perrier. Indeed, a passionate collector called us a few weeks ago because he found a bottle of Joseph Perrier from the end of the 19th century. This passionate man offered us to open this bottle at Joseph Perrier around a nice meal. For this occasion, I want to invite only the best champagne connoisseurs. We will serve the best vintages of Joseph Perrier up to this bottle during an exceptional lunch in Châlons-en-Champagne.’

Benjamin Fourmon – Président Directeur Général

The email is signed Benjamin Fourmon – Président Directeur Général, must admit I like French formal titles. As recently as January this year I sat & enjoyed the latest vintage of Joseph Perrier ‘Cuvée Josephine’ at the Royal Champagne & Spa just a few miles away from their residence in Châlons-en-Champagne. What was the likelihood that this invitation would appear a few months later?!

Mature Champagne …

At a time when many consumers are attracted by wines where oak character, high alcohol, tropical fruit and mild acidity are appreciated, champagne feels much like a ballet dancer next to a sumo wrestler. A tight and cool fruit with an often razor-sharp acidity, tangible mineral character, lack of oak and sometimes with a balancing decadent age sweetness that is so unfashionable today. In my opinion, there is no parallel if we look at the wine’s qualities and experience.

‘What is the allure of really old Champagne?’

Björnstierne Antonsson
wine director & head sommelier
Champagne Club by Richard Juhlin

I think the allure of old champagne is due to several factors. Here are some of the main reasons why, as a champagne lover, I appreciate really old champagnes:

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