Pommery to launch ‘naked’ Champagne
Pommery is to launch a zero dosage Champagne with a transparent label to signal that the fizz is “naked”, according to cellar master Thierry Gasco.
The new sugarless Champagne will be introduced this month under Pommery’s flagship label, Cuvée Louise, and hails from the 2004 vintage. Called Cuvée Louise ‘Nature’, it will be launched alongside the usual Cuvée Louise release, which is an extra brut, with 5 g/l of sugar.
The brut nature Champagne was the idea of Pommery owner since 2002, Paul-François Vranken, who wanted to pay tribute to the maison’s innovative past: back in 1874, Madame Louise Pommery introduced the first commercially successful Brut Champagne, called Pommery Nature.
However, delaying the release of a bone dry Champagne has been Gasco, who has been trying to find a base wine rich enough to be pleasant without any added sugar.
“You must give to Champagne the quantity [of sugar in the dosage] that the Champagne needs – never less, and never more – and if I took our Brut Royal, which has a dosage of 10g/l, and I decreased it, I am sure we would have returns, the consumer would say that the Champagne is green,” said Gasco.
But with the Cuvée Louise 2004, Gasco told db it was possible to create a sugarless Champagne because the wine was “mature” and it had gained richness from 10 years ageing in bottle on the wine’s lees.
Although he had tried to create a zero dosage Cuvée Louise from the 2003 vintage, he admitted that it “was not possible because it was too hard at the end,” referring to a very dry sensation as the Champagne was consumed.
Nevertheless, he told db that Pommery’s 1990 Cuvée Louise had in fact been released with no dosage, although it was never stated on the label.
“With the 1990, the quality of the wine and the honey aromas gave the sensation of sugar, it was enough like that,” he said,
Continuing, he recalled, “When I sold Louise 1990, it was in 1998 and nobody was ready to taste a brut nature, so I put on label ‘brut’, and there was no problem, because the quality of the Champagne and its aromas gave the sensation of sugar without sugar.”
Returning to the subject of the soon-to-be launched Louise Nature 2004, Gasco said that the packaging would be different from the standard offering, and feature, in place of Louise’s white paper, a transparent label “to reflect the fact that it is naked.”
As for the amount Pommery will release, Gasco told db that “it would depend on demand: if I see that everyone wants Cuvée Louis Nature, then I will disgorge the Champagne without sugar.”
Gasco said that he had 180,000 bottles of Cuvée Louise from the 2004 vintage.