The transmission from one cellar master to the next is a key event for any champagne house, but for Maison Perrier-Jouët, which has had just seven cellar masters in over 200 years, it is a historic moment that comes
Milano Wine Week 2020. In the 200 years of the Maison’s existence, Perrier-Jouët , has had only seven cellar masters. Starting from October 2020, Séverine Frerson will become the eight and the first woman to hold the position on the history of the house since the brand was founded by Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and Rose-Adélaïde Jouët in 1811. Succeeding Hervé Deschamps, whom she has been working with side by side.
The announcement was made on the same day that Paris shut all bars completely after the French government raised the city’s coronavirus alert to maximum following a period of high infection rates. A panel inside the courtyards of Palazzo Bovara, led by Luciano Fontana, Editor-in-Chief of Corriere della Sera and joined by Leo Damiani, commercial and marketing director of the Maison, welcomed Deschamps and Frerson via live stream from the Maison Belle Epoque – the historic villa in Epernay Guardian which acts has a heritage site for the champagne house, storing its renowned Art Nouveau collection.
Following his military services and studies in oenology, Hervé Deschamps joined Maison Perrier-Jouët at the age of twenty-six where he worked under the mentorship of André Baveret. «In the beginning, I had what you might call a ‘Burgundy sensibility’ – a preference for rich, mellow wines» he explains. «André Baveret transformed this, tasting after tasting, into an instinct for champagne, teaching me to look for the lightness and finesse without which the evolution of the wine is inevitably limited».
The finesse in question can be experienced through the two cuvées – vintage Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs and classic Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs – which Deschamps leaves as part of his material legacy. In fact, it was the Blanc de Blancs, that was selected to be served as a toasting to the evening’s event and Deschamps departure.
Following the panel – a show cooking session at the Babila Building with chef Yoji Tokuyoshi. Tokuyoshi, of Japanese origin, studied under Massimo Bottura for nine years at Osteria Francescana. The cuisine: ‘where Italian ingredients meet the Japanese eye and philosophy’ wasa nod to the Maison’s and Mr. Deschamp’s affection towards Japanese nature and botany. As a gardener, Deschamps takes pride takes pride in cultivating varieties of Japanese anemone: one pink, one white, – the latter flower represented by the Art Nouveau master Emile Gallé on the bottles of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque.
Founded in 1811 in Epernay, Maison Perrier-Jouët is known for its champagnes which reveal the essence of the Chardonnay grape . Renowned for its floral and intricate notes, influenced by its founders’ love of nature and art, the Champagne house is moreover known for its patronage of the Art Nouveau movement. Since its 1902 collaboration with Art Nouveau pioneer Emile Gallé, creator of the anemone design for its Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque prestige cuvée, Perrier-Jouët has commissioned work frrom artists including Daniel Arsham, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Miguel Chevalier, Makoto Azuma, Tord Boontje, Studio Glithero and Simon Heijdens, and more recently Vik Muniz, mischer’traxler, Ritsue Mishima, Andrew Kudless, Luftwerk and Bethan Laura Wood.