In matters of taste she was ahead of her time. It was she who created Pommery Nature in 1874, the first brut champagne to meet with commercial success, thereby breaking with the tradition of very sweet wine. A woman in a man’s world, she imprinted her personality on her champagnes. The purity and the finesse of Pommery wines perpetuate this legacy.
Madame Pommery, wanting to offer English consumers a unique, mainly “dry” wine, decided to invest in a new strategic location that brought together all of the optimal manufacturing conditions. In July 1868, Madame Pommery launched what would be the largest construction project of the century in Reims, the transformation of chalk quarries into wine cellars. French and Belgian miners dug 18 kilometres, 30 metres below the earth, of interconnected galleries formed of barrel vaults and rib vaults. It is a giant subterranean town. Gustave Navlet adorned the plazas, formed by ancient wells, with immense bas-relief sculptures that accentuates the surreal beauty of these grandiose galleries, which are cast in permanent twilight. A splendid monumental staircase with 116 steps is the sole connection between this underground world and the one outside.
English society set the tone for the entire world. Madame Pommery called on her architects to draw their inspiration from the preferred style of the English. The Elizabethan neo-Gothic style was very popular in Reims, with its turrets, crenellations, and donjon towers and red brick ties covered with a blue-grey façade. However, the avant-garde spirit was still prominent. Built on an H-shaped open plan, the buildings were arranged contrary to Champagne’s architectural tradition, according to which houses should face inward onto themselves, like 18th-century French mansions. There was however a concrete reason for the open plan: it made future expansion easier. It is also characteristic of a certain philosophy of breaking down barriers, inviting people in, opening up to the outside world, and opening up the world.
Les Clos Pompadour, with the charming and evocative name of Madame de Pompadour, is 25 hectares of walled vineyard within the Pommery Estate. A realopen-air laboratory for the creation.
The greatest walled vineyards of the Champagne region have produced a unique champagne which, to complete its perfection, exists only in magnum.
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