📷: Michael Mcduff
Personalities of Champagne: POMMERY
Unmissable, unmistakable, Champagne Pommery or rather the Vranken-Pommery monopole group takes a massive stand in Reims. It was Louise Pommery who brough the brand to the extensive state it is now. She chose the core of the Gallo-Roman chalk quarries at the top of the Butte Saint-Nicaise in Reims and undertook arguably the largest construction project of the 19th century in Reims. She disappeared in 1890 leaving an empire and a legend. She is credited with the construction of the neo-Gothic style mansions in the heights of Saint-Nicaise and the construction of 18 km of underground linked chalk cellars by connecting chalk quarries, which today house the largest underground exhibition of contemporary art. It’s truly an underground city and she took the habit of naming each alley in honour of her new acquired markets. Each corner of these powdery, humid streets bears the name of a famous city. The grandiose aspect of the house is not the same from the inside. It’s one of the rare champagne house that became a tourist trap, with rushed group visits and tours as uninformative as it can get.
From 1991 to 2002, Pommery was under the LVMH flagship who decided to let it go afterward, keeping 220 ha of vineyards. It was an extremely hard blow for the brand and Thierry Gasco, cellar master. It took extensive grape supply to come back from this challenge and the brand even doubled their volumes. While their generic cuvées tend to be simple and neutral, especially the brut royal, the house’s personality is mostly perceived in their prestige Champagne. Created in 1979, the Cuvée Louise has a lovely purity. It’s from the best plots that are reserved each year, those of Avize, Cramant and Aÿ. Also, to celebrate their 175 years, Pommery created in 2011 the Clos Pompadour. It comes from 25 ha of vineyards enclosed within the walls of the Domaine Pommery, in magnums only.