CHAM­PAGNE SI STERS

As a young girl, most as­pects of cham­pagne for Alexan­dra Pereyre de No­nan­court were fas­ci­nat­ing, from the grow­ing of the grapes, to the role of the cel­lar-master and the bot­tling and la­bel­ing process. All, in fact, ex­cept the taste

T.Dining by Hong Kong Tatler - - Laurent-perrier Special -

“At the be­gin­ning I was not very fond of drink­ing cham­pagne,” she says. And as such, Alexan­dra Pereyre de No­nan­court had not thought about join­ing her fam­ily busi­ness, Lau­ren­tPer­rier. In­stead, she stud­ied in­te­rior de­sign at the pres­ti­gious Ca­mondo School in Paris, and then went into per­fume, end­ing up as head of per­fume cre­ation at Paco Ra­banne. But there was some­thing about the syn­thetic na­ture of the scents of the per­fume in­dus­try that would even­tu­ally drive her back to cham­pagne.

“You could lie to your nose be­cause you could cre­ate syn­thetic aro­matic things and it’s not nat­u­ral any­more,” she says. The feel­ing might be like smelling a rose but those aro­mas were ar­ti­fi­cially crafted.

“I grew up in a lit­tle vil­lage in the coun­try­side and I wanted to go back to na­ture be­cause with na­ture, noth­ing lies. You face what na­ture gives you and you have to adapt to what na­ture gives you and that is a con­nec­tion that I love, and that’s why I took the de­ci­sion to go back to Lau­rent-Per­rier.”

It was 1987 when Pereyre de No­nan­court re­turned to join Lau­rent-Per­rier. Although she had grown up sur­rounded by the cham­pagne-mak­ing process, it was not in­nate, and she found her­self learn­ing ev­ery­thing from scratch. But that was no hard­ship given the en­thu­si­asm and pas­sion within the com­pany.

How­ever, it would not al­ways be plain sail­ing at the house of Lau­rent-Per­rier, and the great­est chal­lenge that she had to face was when, in 2010, her fa­ther Bernard de No­nan­court, the mag­netic, larger-thanlife fig­ure­head of the brand, passed away.

De No­nan­court had long been the heart and soul of Lau­rent-Per­rier and the man who built the busi­ness from a small cham­pagne house into one of the lead­ing global brands of to­day. CEO since 1948, although he had semi-re­tired in 2005, de No­nan­court had re­mained Hon­orary Pres­i­dent of the house’s su­per­vi­sory board and his many re­la­tion­ships had tran­scended his step­ping back from the busi­ness.

When de No­nan­court passed away, the com­pany was left in the hands of his daugh­ters, Preyere de No­nan­court and her sis­ter Stéphanie Meneux de No­nan­court, who had joined Lau­rent-Per­rier in 1995. “We had to face ev­ery­thing to­gether and to fight to­gether,” says Preyere de No­nan­court.

The sis­ters were next in a line of strong women at Lau­rent-Per­rier, which be­gan with Mathilde Em­i­lie Per­rier, who kept the cham­pagne house alive fol­low­ing the death of her hus­band Eu­gene Lau­rent, a cel­lar master who had in­her­ited the 1812-founded house from the founder’s son. She was fol­lowed by Marie-Louise de No­nan­court, who pur­chased the busi­ness in 1939. The sis­ters would prove wor­thy suc­ces­sors to these im­pres­sive women.

“When he died we lost the founder, and I lost my fa­ther, but we also lost some­body who was so charis­matic that it was very dif­fi­cult for the team,” says Pereyre de No­nan­court. “But that is where my sis­ter and I had to help the team face the sit­u­a­tion. It’s not be­cause the founder died that we were dy­ing too. Lau­rent-Per­rier is very strong, and was strong enough to con­tinue, and we had to be­lieve in the fu­ture and cre­ate a fu­ture to­gether.”

In 2012, Lau­rent-Per­rier marked its bi­cen­te­nary with a se­ries of cel­e­bra­tory events, the re­lease of Grand Siè­cle Les Réserves and the open­ing of a new cel­lar for the Grand Siè­cle re­serve wines. “This per­mit­ted us to pay tribute to our past and to him and to be very proud of our past, but also to face the fu­ture with the idea to fight and re­struc­ture our en­ergy to cre­ate a dy­namism for the fu­ture,” says Pereyre de No­nan­court.

“It helped to give our team the feel­ing that ev­ery­thing is go­ing to con­tinue through the wine.”

Since the bi­cen­te­nary, the brand has con­tin­ued to look to the fu­ture. “We have in­vested a lot in crafts­man­ship, in vini­fi­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy to be able to im­prove our qual­ity,” says Pereyre de No­nan­court.

In 2017, af­ter more than a decade of devel­op­ment, Lau­rent-Per­rier launched their La Cu­vée – an im­prove­ment that met the chal­lenge of evolv­ing the brand’s flag­ship with­out los­ing its dis­tinc­tive style of fresh­ness, fi­nesse and el­e­gance. Ev­ery bot­tle also re­mains a re­flec­tion of the know-how and ex­per­tise that the brand has al­ways em­bod­ied.

“We know how much our fa­ther did to this com­pany to cre­ate this know-how, and we be­lieve that we have to con­tinue this. Lau­rent Per­rier is a school: a school of ethics with na­ture, of giv­ing good things, of per­fec­tion, of ex­cel­lence.”

Lau­rent-Per­rier is also about progress. “It is the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit, the sense of in­no­va­tion that gives a sense of our fam­ily val­ues. When you know why you are wak­ing up ev­ery morn­ing – be­cause you de­fend some­thing you be­lieve in – it cre­ates some­thing dif­fer­ent to de­liver to peo­ple.”

LIFE IS ROSY Alexan­dra Rosé was first launched in 1987, based on a 1982 vin­tage, by Bernard de No­nan­court to cel­e­brate Alexan­dra Pereyre de No­nan­court’s wed­ding day

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