The relationship between fine wine and art is nothing new. Few and far between are the grand chateaus that don’t come complete with a few Old Masters while in modern times champagne houses have enlisted contemporary artists to create everything from limited edition labels to large scale sculptures.
For few, however, is the relationship quite so enduring as with Perrier-Jouët. Founded in 1811 after the marriage of Rose-Adélaide Jouët and Pierre-Nicolas Perrier – a couple who bonded over their shared love of art and nature – the house immediately set itself apart as free-spirited and independent by choosing the under-appreciated Chardonnay grape as its base. The resulting champagne’s distinctive floral style was an instant hit with European nobility and, under the patronage of Perrier’s nephew Henri Gallice, the house soon became intertwined with the Art Nouveau movement.
The association first made itself known as a swirl of Japanese anemones – the now iconic motif designed for Perrier-Jouët by Emile Gallé – on a 1902 vintage and his since become the house’s defining aesthetic. Nowhere is this better seen than in the Belle Epoque Cuvée. These exceptional vintage champagnes, the first of which was released in 1982, are created by cellar master Hervé Deschamps as the purest expression of the house both in terms of taste and aesthetic. Most frequently bottled in the elegant flower-embellished bottles with which the house is synonymous, they have been served at the finest parties, galleries, art fairs and exhibitions the world over.
However, Perrier-Jouët’s contribution to the art world has been far grater than simply supplying fine beverages. The Maison Belle Epoque in Epernay, which opened to VIP guests in 2017, is home to the largest private collection of Art Nouveau works in the world and features pieces by the likes of Hector Guimard, Louis Majorelle, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
In recent years the maison has also provided a valuable platform for emerging artists, commissioning new works by up-and-coming talents inspired by its ‘Art of the Wild’ ethos. The most recent of these, a tree sculpture named HyperNature by British artist Bethan Laura Wood, was unveiled at Design Miami in 2018 and will eventually also take it place among the collection at the Maison Belle Epoque.
As an extension of this, Perrier-Jouët has recently hosted L’Eden – a series of immersive art experiences in cities such as Tokyo, Shanghai and Miami that invite guests to interact with installations, avant-garde artworks, tastings and live performances. Reimagining the audacious spirit of the Art Nouveau, these experiences aim to bring a sense of nature back to the urban environment and evoke a playful spirit of freedom, extravagance and beauty.
For those wishing to experience the Belle Epoque lifestyle a little closer to home, Perrier-Jouët’s finest vintages, including its newest Blanc de Blancs release, can currently be found at Perrier-Jouët Champagne Terrace at Masterpiece London. Chin chin.
For more artistic inspiration check out our essential guide to Masterpiece 2019.