by Fred McMillin
for March 16, 1998
This Brut's a Beaut
New in 1811 in Europe: 1) Franz Liszt is born, 2) Prince Aleksandr Kurakin, Russian ambassador to France, introduces the practice of serving meals in courses instead of placing many dishes on the table at once, and 3) the Champagne House of Perrier-Jouet is founded in Epernay, France.
The 1846 vintage of Perrier-Jouet changed the history of champagne. The firm shipped a sample of their natural, UNSWEETENED sparkler to a London wine merchant named Burnes. (At the time all champagne contained a large dose of added sugar, making it a sweet dessert wine.) Burnes felt sweet sparkling wine would never replace port as a dessert wine but if instead it tasted of the grape, it could be enjoyed throughout the meal. "Brut" (low-sugar) champagne was born!
Needless to say, Perrier-Jouet has never lost its touch with BRUT (broot). Some comments:
"powerful structure that explodes on the palate,"
says the Slow Food Wine Guide.
"Their Grand Brut is extremely consistent, with lovely, delicate fruit,"
says the Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine.
So, you MUST try the dry champagne that started it all.
Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut, Non-Vintage
Art Buchwald: I like champagne because it tastes like my foot's asleep.
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