Every bottle tells a story. What’s Yours? Every week we interview people in the world of Champagne on their iconic bottles. Now & then TheChampagneSommelier will interview some of the true people of Champagne. He will ask a few questions about their company, their profession, current trends, etc.
We had a bubbly chat with Lucie Pereyre from Champagne Laurent-Perrier in Tours-sûr-Marne. Merci Lucie !
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Describe yourself in a few sentences!
‘My name is Lucie Pereyre, I am the 4th generation family member at Champagne Laurent-Perrier and my role is to represent Grand Siècle, our prestige cuvée, worldwide.
What I love about my work is that I am able to work with different department within the company, like the vineyard, the winery, the marketing and the commercial department. It is very polyvalent and this is what I enjoyed the most.’
How did you get into the champagne profession?
‘Even if I was born within a Champagne family, it was not obvious for me to join and I always had the freedom to choose my own path.
I discovered my passion for wine late in my studies. This is when I decided to fully study wine by getting my WSET diploma and to work in a Spanish winery. Inspired and strengthened by these experiences, I joined the family business in 2019 to train with our Cellar Master Michel Fauconnet, the Production and Salesforce teams, to be part of the innovative know-how of Laurent-Perrier.’
Since Your Champagne company started, how many chef de caves have Your company had?
‘Just to remind you that Laurent-Perrier belongs to my family since 1939. Since then, we only had 3 cellar masters. What is incredible is that our current cellar master arrived at 21 years old in 1973 and worked closely with the 2 previous ones, which is completely unique nowadays. It has allowed us to preserve our know-how and consistency in style, while always looking for more innovation.‘
How would You describe Your ’house/producer style’ and how do You achieve it ?
‘Since the beginning, it has been very clear for my grandfather that he would do things differently. He was a visionary man and creativity was his state of mind. That is why he decided to favor the Chardonnay when this grape was not the most used in Champagne. He was the first one to bring stainless tanks in 1973 within an oak-barrel region, because he wanted to adopt a reductive winemaking style and he was among the first to elaborate a zero dosage champagne to reveal the purity of the terroir. Since then we have raised the quality of our supply, we are continuously improving our production techniques and increased our ageing time on lees to obtain the style we have today: a style defined by its freshness, its elegance and its purity.’
What role do grape varieties play in creating Your style ?
‘All of our wines, except our two rosés, have a majority of Chardonnay completed by Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay grape gives us the freshness, the citrus aromas and the long ageing potential we are looking for and the Pinot Noir brings us an elegant structure and a lot of complex aromas. ‘
What do You think of the current trend of ’terroir champagnes’ made of single parcels?
‘It is important to reveal the purity of the terroir and its distinctive characteristics. However, at Laurent-Perrier we think that it is possible to get a better result by blending those parcels for their complementarity to reach a more complex wine. We know our parcels and what they can give, and depending on the vintage and their expression we will define the right proportion for each of them into the final blend to obtain the perfect balance. ‘
2020 was a very special year. What’s Your idea of the near future for Champagne in general ?
‘In 2020, the COVID and the lockdown were really not expected and it was not easy. But, despite this situation, the winegrowers maintained their work in the vineyard as the Nature was not waiting for us. Moreover, the following year was not an easy one either. Everyone had to be very flexible and realized how much the climate change was affecting seriously our work.’
‘We already have a big purpose as a whole region to reduce our carbon impact by 2050, and reach by 2030, 100% of the producers to obtain the VDC certification (Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne). And then, individually, we are trying to do efforts wherever we can to protect our Nature and Terroir.’
What else do You drink apart from Your own Champagnes ?
‘In my everyday life, I enjoy discovering new terroir in our region and taste some of our partner’s champagnes to understand better their identity. And if I don’t drink Champagne, I would go for a glass of red. I enjoy a lot old red wines from regions like Barolo, Saint-Julien, Côte-Rôtie or Rioja.’
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why ?
‘I would like to treat my grandfather by sharing with him the first Iteration of Grand Siècle, made out of blend of 1952, 1953 and 1955. It would be the perfect opportunity to tell him how proud I am to represent his very first innovation that still remain unique today: a blend of 3 exceptional vintages to recreate the perfect oenological year.’
PS2 [ what piece of music would you listen to drinking Champagne with Your dream guest ? ]
‘I think I would go for a classic… The Cello Suite N°1 from Johann Sebastian Bach.’