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Delhi Wine Club
Paul Henri Perrot of Champagne Lombard

Posted: Tuesday 24 September 2013 15:00

Passing By: Paul Henri Perrot of Champagne Lombard

Sep 24: Paul-Henri Perrot, Export Manager of Champagne Lombard was in India recently on his regular visit to promote the champagnes being distributed thru Aspri when Subhash Arora met him for tasting a couple of variants and an exclusive chat at the Rick’s Bar in Hotel Taj Mahal, Delhi.

Click For Large View‘At 1.5 million bottles a year, Lombard is not a small champagne producer - it is the 15th or 16th winery in size’, says Paul-Henri Perrot, Export Manager of the family owned Champagne Lombard, but ‘we are nowhere near Moet et Chandon which produces 80 million bottles.’ Champagne produces between 310-320 m bottles. Perrot, who first visited India in 1999 as a tourist, loves India and is a regular visitor promoting Lombard & Medot. The latter part of its name added to its legal name denotes the producer Lombard purchased 5 years ago. However, in India only Lombard Brut and Rose are exported.

According to Perrot, their Epernay-based company is considered a big volume producing Champagne House. They work with grapes from 54 growers who have been supplying grapes for decades-in some cases the fathers or even grandfathers of the current generation supplying them.

'Although we cannot compete with Moet (LVMH) and Mumm (owned by Pernod Ricard, the number two champagne importer in India), we are consistent in quality. We have a distinct taste and personality which you may like or not, but we are consistent in that taste.’ Conceding they cannot compete with the two in terms of promotional budgets, he visits India every year, sometimes twice, to visit various hotels like the Taj who are the major customers since Aspri started importing the Champagne in 2008.

He is right about the taste. The Lombard Brut is quite yeasty on the nose with fresh acidity and fruit making it pleasant on the palate. ‘We use 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier which brings fruitiness and roundness and 20% chardonnay. We play a bit with Chardonnay,’ he says.

India is an important, though small market for Lombard champagne with 60% of production being sold in France, he admits. The export markets are mainly in UK with Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, China and Japan being most of the other importing countries.

Lombard Champagne is available in several starred hotels in all metro cities-Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and even in Rajasthan. It’s the pouring Champagne at the Chambers in the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi. In Mumbai and Bangalore where Retail is strong, one can also buy it in Retail. I found Lombard Brut listed at Rs.8000 at Rick’s.

Click For Large ViewI agreed with Perrot in that the taste for Lombard Brut needed to be acquired a bit. I liked it after a few sips but I was truly floored with the Rose Brut. It was a very zesty wine with a lot of bubbles on the palate even 30 minutes after the bottle had been opened - a very pleasurable champagne with notes of strawberries and persistent after-taste.

‘It’s made from 50% premier cru Pinot Noir and 40% premier cru Chardonnay (in Champagne district where a majority of bubbly is made from purchased grapes, vineyards are rated as Grand Cru, Premier Cru etc-the price of grapes are determined by the grading of the vineyard they come from), says Perrot, adding, ‘I must convey it to my boss Thierry Lombard, he will be happy to know, when I tell him you love the Rose Brut.’ It has 9 gms of sugar (Brut may have up to 15 gms/liter) but feels pleasantly dry on the palate due to high acidity. Perrot also clarifies that the balance 10% additive in the Rose Brut is red wine made from grapes from Grand Cru vineyards. Incidentally, Champagne is the only region in the European Union where a Rose may be made by adding red to white wine.

2008, 2007, 2004, 2002, 1999, and 1996 are the vintage years for Lombard. Perhaps on his next visit, we shall be able to taste and report on one of the vintage wines. For the present NV (Non Vintage) will do - go for Rose, if you really love good champagne.

For details visit

Subhash Arora

Tags: Paul-Henri Perrot, Champagne Lombard, Champagne, Lombard & Medot


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