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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 the House 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.
Bernard de Nonancourt dedicated his life to a single passion: Laurent-Perrier. His courage, convictions and energy transformed a small Champagne House purchased by his mother in 1939 into a global brand.
Bernard de Nonancourt and his elder brother Maurice joined the French Resistance. Only Bernard survived and joined the Maquis underground, where he met the founder of the Emmaus movement, Abbé Pierre. Later on, he was assigned to General Leclerc’s 2nd Armoured Division (2ème DB).
When he returned, his mother insisted he undergo an apprenticeship to fully understand the business, being a vines labourer, cellar and office worker, and a sales representative. In October 1948, aged 28, he was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of Laurent-Perrier. He was one of the rare owners of a Champagne House to have done all the jobs of his future employees.
Bernard de Nonancourt injected a dynamic momentum into the business. Keen on innovation, strongly attached to champagne traditions and to quality, he forged the commercial culture of Laurent-Perrier and created a renowned brand with a range of unique champagnes.
Up until his death on 29 October 2010, he made his vibrant stamp on the House of Laurent-Perrier, which will remain forever.
A message from Michel Fauconnet, Laurent-Perrier’s third Cellar Master
“I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a trainee for a Champagne House with great ambitions and scope for expansion. I found the job fascinating: from the raw materials–grapes – you obtain a bottle of champagne. Forty years later, this transformation still enthrals me!
I got my experience from working from the bottom upwards over several years. I know every stage of production from having worked there: I was a cellarman from 1974 to 1976, a supervisor in 1977 and a foreman in 1981. I learned a lot about the technical side in the winery and have been Cellar Master and Production Manager since 2004. I took over from Alain Terrier, whose assistant I had been since 1983.
The job has changed enormously. The Cellar Master used to be the man who made the wine. These days, he also takes care of supplies. So he is responsible for the wine from vinification to bottling.
I have spent my entire career at this House and share its passion for champagne, and its values of exacting standards and perfectionism. My job is to make those vins de plaisir that are perfectly attuned to the spirit of the House of Laurent-Perrier.”
In 1881, when Cellar Master Eugène Laurent inherited the Alphonse PierlotChampagne House, he provided it with the essential foundations required to produce great champagnes, namely the houses and land to create a fully-fledged estate. He purchased vines in the very best terroirs of Bouzy, Tours-sur-Marne, and Ambonnay, excavated 800 metres of cellars, and set up a tasting laboratory.
That is how the Domaine Laurent-Perrier (the Estate) was anchored in Tours-sur-Marne. This picturesque village is ideally situated at the crossroads of the three main wine growing areas of the Marne département: the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. It is also part of the 17 Champagne villages ranking in the prestigious ‘Grand Cru’ area.
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