Founded in 1811 in Epernay, Maison Perrier-Jouët is one of France’s most iconic champagne houses, with just seven cellar masters in over 200 years, the transmission from one cellar master to the next, is truly a historic moment. In October 2020, Séverine Frerson will become the eighth cellar master – and the first woman to hold the position – in the history of the House, which was famously founded from the union of Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and Rose-Adélaïde Jouët in 1811. She succeeds Hervé Deschamps, whose retirement brings to an end a transition period during which he and Séverine Frerson have worked side by side, welcoming wine critics, sommeliers and friends of the House, touring international markets, tasting the rare cuvées in the Oenothèque Perrier-Jouët, and blending the wines from the 2019 harvest, which promises to be an excellent year. Hervé has always held special feelings towards Hong Kong and due to the outbreak of pandemic this year, he couldn’t personally say good-bye to all the friends he made from all over the world from his career milestone. For such reason, Maison Perrier-Jouët has selected 3 key places to host a virtual farewell and Hong Kong is lucky enough to be selected as 1 of the key places along New York and Tokyo. To address this special occasion, Perrier-Jouët has partnered with 2 Michelin Starred Restaurant – Arbor, to create two tailormade menu promotions to highlight the personal contribution of Hervé Deschamps to the legacy of Maison Perrier-Jouët, the emblematic Blanc de Blancs Non Vintage he created in 2016.
The legacy of Hervé Deschamps
Hervé Deschamps: keeping Perrier-Jouët where it belongs. This is a particularly poignant moment, evoking memories of the close relationship he forged with his own predecessor, André Baveret, who spotted his talent and encouraged him to develop it. He vividly remembers the older man’s parting advice, when he left Hervé Deschamps in sole charge back in 1993: “Keep Perrier-Jouët where it belongs. It’s easy to make good wines with good grapes.” Hervé Deschamps joined Maison Perrier-Jouët at the age of 26, following his military service and studies in oenology at the University of Dijon.
Hervé Deschamps has certainly kept Maison Perrier-Jouët right at the forefront of champagne houses, and indeed enhanced its renown in many ways. It is a legacy he can look back upon with pride, particularly since he has roots deep in the limestone soils of the Champagne region. “My grandparents were winegrowers in the Côte des Blancs,” he recalls. “I loved to help my grandfather with the vines and taste the grape juice fresh from the press at harvest time. My attachment to the land and my passion for champagne were formed early on.”
What Hervé Deschamps has also cultivated during his career with Maison Perrier-Jouët, is an entirely new dimension of the cellar master’s role – that of ambassador – which has become a blueprint for many champagne houses. He has tirelessly crisscrossed the globe, significantly raising the international profile of the House, as his natural sociability and passion for his craft have enabled him to connect with wine experts and amateurs beyond the barriers of language and culture.
If this can be described as Hervé Deschamps’ immaterial heritage, he leaves a material legacy that is equally impressive, notably two emblematic cuvées: vintage Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs and Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage.
Séverine Frerson: a woman at the pinnacle of her profession makes history
being the first woman appointed to be the Caller Master of Maison Perrier-Jouët
Passion. Memory. Intuition. For Séverine Frerson, these three words have an almost talismanic significance. Passion, first of all – a passion for wine, which led her, when she was barely 15, to choose oenology as her future career and to stick by her decision in defiance of those who told her it was a man’s world. That same passion – not to mention a fair measure of talent and determination – has seen her reach the pinnacle of her profession, as one of the first female cellar masters at a leading champagne house.
Séverine Frerson’s is a native of the region, yet not from a family of winegrowers, she has vivid memories of days spent with friends who tended vineyards in Verzenay. She recalls the excitement of the grape harvest and the odour of the presses, just as she remembers the smell of her grandmother’s homemade strawberry jam – of which she was strikingly reminded the first time she tasted Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé, with its luscious aromas of red fruit.
Lastly, intuition, which guides her in both her personal and her professional life. Professionally, when she is selecting the clear wines that will become part of a blend, she will often choose one without first looking at its cru, in order to taste it without preconception. A single tasting is all Séverine Frerson needs to remember a wine, after which she classifies it in one of the myriad tiny drawers that make up her mental library.
Marrying Nature & French Cuisine with Herve Deschamps’ latest creation,
Perrier-Jouet Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage, and Arbor’s 2 Michelin Starred Gastronomy
Maison Perrier-Jouët is one of France’s most iconic champagne houses, but also one of its most distinctive, renowned for its floral and intricate champagnes which reveal the true essence of the Chardonnay grape and an enduring tradition of savoir-faire – an unparalleled expertise of only seven Cellar Masters since its foundation. A boutique house with a family spirit, Perrier-Jouët has been profoundly influenced by its founders’ love of nature and art – twin inspirations which allow it to create exceptional experiences and moments of wonder that enhance everyday life. To bring out the synergy of “The Art of Revealing Nature” from the brand, Perrier Jouët has partnered with renowned 2 Michelin Starred Restaurant – Arbor to create a dish paired with Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage to feature in their dinner tasting menu, available starting from 17th of October till the 31st of October 2020. The innovative French cuisine at Arbor reflects the greatness of nature and a fundamental respect for the changing seasons, using French gastronomy techniques and premium ingredients which are mainly from Japan to create a unity of the senses. To honour Cellar Master Hervé Deschamps, a special dish was made to pair with Blanc De Blancs. This classic cuvée was created by Hervé with a single grape (Chardonnay) destined to become the enduring expression of the House’s specialist savoir-faire. Chef Eric Räty has prepared a refreshing starter using saba, a very light in flavoured fish, served with fruit tomato to make sure the dish does not override the floral aroma from Blanc De Blancs.
Furthermore, Perrier Jouët Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage will be paired with Arbor’s brunch menu starting from 17th October till the end of November 2020. Chef de Cuisine Eric Räty, rising star from Finland’s pristine environment with rich fine dining experience from elite destinations across the world, will create menu according to seasonal ingredients to highlight the signature cuvée. Arbor’s menu is inspired by nature and a fundamental respect for the changing seasons. Every dish reflects the woods, the forest and the trees through flavour, fragrance, preparation technique or creative presentation. Arbor’s cuisine is creatively light but developed with sharp, bright flavours that come from rare, exotic ingredients to nourish and excite the palate, which perfectly brings out Perrier Jouët’s floral aroma and freshness from every dish served.