A Classic House: Champagne Pommery

Welcome to Champagne Pommery!

The Nineteenth Century, a Time of Change in Champagne
The nineteenth century was a time of great change for the wine we know today as Champagne. At the beginning of the century Champagne was a sometimes sparkling, cloudy sweet dessert wine. Initially considered a fault, the English developed a taste for the tingly sensation of the bubbles and they became a desired feature. Through the course of the 1800’s, the science behind the bubbles was discovered, disgorging the wine to remove sediment, stronger glass was developed to hold those bubbles and Champagne popularity exploded.

Disclosure: Comité Champagne sponsored our press visits for two days in the northern part of Champagne (Reims, Epernay). Later in the week, we set up independent visits in the Cote des Bar. We provided our own transportation to and from the region.

Madame Louise Pommery

Champagne Pommery
Originally established as Pommery and Greno in 1836, Alexandre Pommery died in 1858 and control of the company passed to his widow, Louise. At that time, women were expressly forbidden to work; unless they were widowed. Madame Pommery saw the potential of the rapidly developing Champagne wine market and she, along with her partners, turned the business into a leading house. Under her leadership, vineyard land was acquired, 18 km (!) of cellars were dug, and a strong approach for finesse and high quality was developed.

Champagne wine was in a state of great change, royalty in different regions had very different expectations for the wine. Russians preferred a very sweet style, the English had developed a desire for a drier style of wine. Champagne houses committed themselves to a certain style, and Champagne Pommery took on the challenge to produce a drier style of Champagne for their English customers. The task was made difficult for all Champagne producers as less sugar in the final wine made faults more apparent. Champagne Pommery was the first produce a successful Brut Champagne in 1874.

(click on any photo for a full size slide show)

Sustainability at Champagne Pommery Today
The first stop on our trip was Champagne Pommery. We met with Clément Pierlot, the Chef de Cave of Champagne Pommery. Clément is in charge of both the vineyard and cellar, a big job, indeed! As we tasted the wines, we discussed Champagne Pommery’s efforts at sustainability. Clément explained they are committed to sustainability and have been certified in both Haute Valeur Environnementale (HVE) and Viticulture Durable en Champagne (VDC) since 2014. Champagne Pommery was one of three houses to pioneer the VDC label and be certified as such. Going further, they eliminated herbicide use in their vineyards in 2019. Weed management is performed mechanically.

Clément explained how they had chosen several plots of grapes to begin trials of organic viticulture in 2021. Unfortunately, the challenges of the near continuous summer rains this year proved too much, and not a single grape was harvested due to mildew. He explained that the growers responsible for those plots literally cried at what the weather had done to their vineyards. They are pursuing a hybrid approach going forward, looking for a sustainable approach that works in Champagne.

Touring the Cellars at Champagne Pommery
Get a glimpse of our tour through the cellars at Chateau Pommery below

Join us as we tour the Crayères chalk cellars beneath Chateau Pommery
Elegance in the glass

Tasting the Wines
Clément explained that the Pommery house style emphasizes elegance and that showed in the glass. All Pommery Champagnes spend at least 3 years on the lees, so that distinct lees character is evident. The wines were, indeed, elegant with a bright fresh character. Delicious! If pressed, my personal favorite was the Blanc de Blancs, but all shared that fresh character.

Visiting Champagne Pommery
No visit to Champagne is complete without stopping at one or more of the Grand Marque houses. At Champagne Pommery, you’ll have the opportunity to see the heritage of Madame Pommery, an early female entrepreneur, tour the art-filled cellars and taste the wines! You can schedule your visit here.

Resources for more on Champagne Pommery

One Response to “A Classic House: Champagne Pommery”
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  1. […] Champagne PommeryChampagne Pommery is one of the historic Grand Marque Houses. They have a history of embracing change, they were the 1st successful of Brut Champagne. Champagne Pommery is HVE certified and also VDC certified. They are running some test plots using organic protocols. Read about our visit here. […]

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