Santé to 2020!


Santé to 2020!

Did Someone Say Champagne?

with Debbian Spence-Minott

Thursday, January 02, 2020

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Can you believe we have stepped into 2020? Happy New Year! We have so much to celebrate including Bar None's first anniversary! Today, we raise a glass in cheers (santé) to 2020. So much to be thankful for, even amidst the tumultuous notes that we continue to experience. From my observances, Christmas did not pass us by in 2019; the parties were in full swing, restaurants were abuzz, and supermarkets lines were super-long.

Last week, we commenced the celebration with GH Mumm Champagne. Today, we continue to celebrate, undoubtedly, with the most fitting libation — Champagne! We will look at five Champagne brands: Perrier-Jouët, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Bollinger, Laurent Perrier and Taittinger.



At Maison Perrier-Jouët, the history of Champagne began over 200 years ago. The house was founded by two independent-minded free spirits Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and Rose-Adélaïde Jouët, who shared a passion for art and nature — and a bold vision for Champagne. A year after their wedding, in 1811, they founded Maison Perrier-Jouët, born of their desire to create a Champagne house with a difference. The house has stayed true to this founding philosophy of creative freedom and an unconventional observation of nature ever since.

Perrier-Jouët is instantly identifiable for its distinctive intricate, floral style: on the nose, the captivating floral freshness and finesse of the house's signature Chardonnay; on the palate, richness and complexity as — thanks to the cellar master's knowledge of the terroir — meticulously selected individual crus are blended into an elegant, harmonious whole.


Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

Veuve Clicquot has always been audacious to its very core, with no better example than Madame Clicquot herself — the intelligent, visionary woman who faced uncertainty with skill and grace. Madame Clicquot took the reins of the house in 1805 after the death of her husband. Think that's audacious? Keep in mind that this was a time when women in France were considered minors under the responsibility of a man and could not even hold bank accounts. It was in this context that Madame Clicquot became one of the first businesswomen of modern times. Never one to settle, Madame Clicquot cultivated a culture of excellence for herself and those around her. She had a say in everything from the selection of grape parcels, including her beloved Pinot Noir from Clos Colin in Bouzy, to the techniques used to blend and mature her Champagne. Madame Clicquot's drive and exacting standards are the basis for the stellar reputation of Veuve Clicquot Champagne today. Strength, aromatic intensity, freshness, and silkiness are all artfully expressed in Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, the house's signature Champagne.



The Bollinger Champagne house has created prestigious champagnes with character, distinguished by their elegance and complexity, since 1829. These outstanding wines are the result of rigorous attention to detail.This uncompromisingly independent spirit, dedicated to unostentatious achievement, exemplifies the inimitable elegance for which the Champagne region is renowned, and which has so impressed the Court of England that the house has been awarded the Royal Warrant since 1884.

The Bollinger vineyard covers 178 hectares, most of which are classified Grand or Premier cru. Pinot Noir dominates, a demanding grape variety with an intense character which forms the backbone of the Bollinger style. Because quality is anchored in the precision of each movement to be carried out, every stage of production of Bollinger wines is marked by a specific action. Passed on and perfected from generation to generation for nearly two centuries, these production secrets are one of the house's greatest assets. Bollinger never yields to the easy option: wherever ancestral techniques have proved to guarantee the highest quality, they are preserved, however challenging this choice might prove. Hand riddling, reserve magnums and vintage cuvées stoppered with natural corks, and a resident cooper: the house proudly perpetuates ancient skills and valuable crafts. Bollinger is the first Champagne house to obtain the highly respected Patrimoine Vivant (living heritage) seal of quality which recompenses exceptional craftsmanship and skill.



A former cooper and bottler in Chigny-les-Roses, André-Michel Pierlot settled in Tours-sur-Marne in 1812 as a négociant in the wines of Champagne. It was in this village, on plots named Les Plaisances and La Tour Glorieux, that he founded what was later to become Laurent-Perrier. His son, Alphonse Pierlot, succeeded him and, not having any heirs, he subsequently bequeathed the house to his cellar master Eugène Laurent.

Following his accidental death in 1887, Eugène's widow, Mathilde Emilie Perrier, took the helm of the business and combined her own patronymic with that of her husband, naming the business Veuve Laurent-Perrier. With her strong character and reputation for integrity, she developed the business, restored its finances, and masterfully kept it going throughout the Great War. In 1920, she paved the way for the international expansion of the brand by entering into a partnership with Sir Alexander Fletcher Keith McKenzie to invest in the British market.

Eugénie-Hortense Laurent succeeded her mother in 1925. Hard hit by the economic crisis between the wars and heavily in debt, she sold the estate to Marie-Louise de Nonancourt in 1939. Fired by a passion for Champagne, a respect for traditional values and, most importantly, for people, Bernard de Nonancourt inspired Laurent-Perrier with his independent spirit and creative audacity. He established privileged working relationships with the grape growers and cleverly combined innovation and tradition. He created the signature Laurent-Perrier style of freshness, lightness and elegance and developed a unique range of champagnes which are today exported to more than 160 countries worldwide.



The Taittinger family has managed the Champagne house for nearly a century. Its aim has always been the pursuit of excellence. Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger once commented that “having our family name on a bottle places demands and responsibilities on every minute. The name on the bottle conveys both the skills and knowledge of the past and a commitment to the future”. Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger has embodied this commitment for 40 years, and today he shares it with his son Clovis and his daughter Vitalie, who both work beside him in the day-to-day running of the house. Together, they create a very close-knit and complementary family trio which distinguishes this house from others.

The Taittinger vineyard is made up of 37% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier vines, which are distributed equally across 37 different vineyards. These are amongst the best in the Champagne region, reflecting the house's outstanding style. This allows Taittinger to offer a wide selection of brut, rosé or blanc de blancs champagnes. Chardonnay is always the main component of these blends, and creates the unique, definitive characteristics of the Taittinger style. Its excellence is recognised throughout the world.


Santé to 2020!


Readers' Feedback:

Extraordinary wonder and joy are interwoven through ordinary life: seek for them relentlessly. Please share with me your wines, spirits and cocktail experiences or comments on the above article at, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja.


Debbian Spence-Minott

An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association

CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines

President, Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited

Marketing Studies Lecturer – The University of Technology Jamaica




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