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by Fred McMillin
for February 19, 1999

 

Winery of the Week

Hurry! It's Pommery


Prologue

Madame Pommery Written in 1882:
"Madame Pommery (pictured) made a great mark with her splendid cuvees of 1868 and 1874, the result being that her brand has become widely popular...the cellier includes 6,000 casks of the wine of the costly vintage of 1880, sufficient for a million and a half bottles of Champagne."

...by Parisian Henry Vizetelly, who did well until he was rash enough to publish the works of Zola, resulting in his imprisonment and financial ruin. The book: A History of Champagne

Written recently:
"The buildings and cellars of Pommery are among the most striking in Reims." "The Pommery Brut and Rosè [roh-zay] are outstanding."

...Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine & The Wine Atlas of France


The Rest of the Story

So those fine facilities and Champagnes are still alive and well today. But it hasn't always been easy. E.g.:

    February 1858—Alexandre Louis Pommery, Reims wool trader, was just starting the Pommery Champagne House when he abruptly died. His widow, Jeanne-Alexandrine, took over the leadership of Pommery.

    1917 (World War I)—The 1917 vintage was harvested 1,200 yards from enemy lines.

But the triumphs outweighed the difficulties, E.g..

    In 1860 Jeanne-Alexandrine introduced Pommery successfully in Paris by opening a shop on the Boulevard des Italiens between Henry the Jeweller and the emperor's tailor, Richard.

    The 1874 Pommery "Nature" is said to be the first dry (not sweetened) Champagne in history.

    In 1903 business was so good Pommery had built one of the largest oak barrels in the world, holding enough to fill 100,000 bottles.


Just the Facts

Pommery Champagnes
Location—Reims, France
Winemaker—Prince Alain de Polignac
Vineyards—Over 700 prime acres
Champagnes—Eight different styles. Start with the $25 Brut Royal. The Brut Rosé (roh-zay) makes an exceptional gift, $35.
Exclusive Importer—W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd.
Contact—Office of Veronica Williams, N.Y.C., (212) 675-5525


Postscript

"In victory you deserve champagne, in defeat you need it!"

...Napoleon

Credits: Dick Rosano's Wine Calendar

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 

WineDay Annex

More articles by
Fred McMillin

 

Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.

 

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