We are now in the middle of autumn, which is one of the most important seasons in the entire winemaking calendar. Producers from around the world are harvesting their grapes and preparing to create new vintages that have the potential to excite and astound wine lovers the world over.
Of course, it is also a time for celebration. Harvest festivals are taking place all around the world and many people choose autumn as the season to get married. This means that the wine will be flowing, with many choosing to go with Champagne and other sparkling whites as the perfect accompaniment to some of their happiest moments.
But with so many Champagnes to choose from, it can often be difficult to select the one that is right for your special day. Today we will be taking a look at a producer with a rich history in the industry and one that is capable of creating Champagnes that will make your special day that little bit more memorable.
The story of Pol Cochet starts in the mid-nineteenth century, in a period where many winemakers in Italy and France were starting to really explore the prospects of the industry, especially as advancements in technology made exporting their products easier and more cost-effective than ever before.
It was in 1846 that the Cochet story began, as Etienne Cochet made the decision to form a wine trading business that would make this process easier. Located in Ambonnay, which is the region where some of the world’s best Champagne originates from, Etienne chose to explore his passion for the grape by helping others gain easier access to wines they may never have experienced before.
This passion for wine extended throughout the family and it wasn’t long before the Cochet family was talking about potentially making their own start in production, rather than focusing solely on trading. It was Etienne’s son, Pol Cochet, who eventually took the leap. He founded the company that still bears his name in 1875, developing the first vineyards that they would use and making arrangements for the creation of the assembly production method that would allow the burgeoning company ton begin producing wines in higher volumes.
This first step starts a family tradition, with each following generation dedicating itself just as heartily to the idea of creating amazing wines, with a particular focus on Champagne. Their aim then, as it still is today, is to find the best grapes from some of the largest vineyards in Champagne, alongside those they grow themselves, to make stunning sparkling white wines that can captivate the senses.
This ambition was challenged by the onset of World War I, but Pol Cochet’s son Henry Petitjean was determined to continue the family business. He focused on rebuilding all that had been lost in The Great War, and the company managed to thrive through focusing on creating amazing Champagne.
In time, responsibility for the business passed to Henry’s son Pierre and he had grand visions for how he could take the business forward. While still dedicating the company to creating Champagnes that were capable of astounding all those privileged enough to taste them, he also began focusing on educating those who were unaware of the history of this great wine. His work was fundamental in the creation of the Department of Oenology Institute in Champagne, which has dedicated itself to educating producers and enthusiasts alike since it was founded.
In 1960, the responsibility for the company passed on to the next generation of the family, with Michel Petitjean taking over. This was a difficult time for the company due to changing attitudes to Champagne and some of the most challenging climate issues that producers of the world’s most famous sparkling white had known for quite some time. However, Michel dedicated himself to the family ethos of focusing on quality and was able to increase the number of bottles the company was producing throughout the 1970s and 80s, even when faced with such adversity.
His work continued right through into the early 21st century, when responsibility for Pol Cochet was finally handed to Michel’s son Eric. Since 2008, Eric has been focused on continuing the grand traditions that have been put in place by his family and his work, which follows on from a 20-year stint as the head of the Champagne Oenology Institute, represent the culmination of the efforts of a family that has entirely devoted itself to Champagne.
He has extended the reach of the company to provide it with access to an even greater variety of grapes and today, making use of the experience he developed in his previous role, has been able to offer a wider variety of wines, all of which bear the signature hallmarks of quality that Pol Cochet has been known for over the years.
Now with all of that being said, we think it is about time we took a look at one of the finest Champagne’s to emerge from the company in quite some time.
There are no gimmicks involved with the Pol Cochet Champagne Brut. What it says on the label is exactly what you will receive in the bottle and it is an experience that helps the company stand head and shoulders above many other Champagne producers.
Upon pouring the drinker will be enchanted by the delicate aroma of white flowers and summer fruits, which slowly give way to the subtlest hints of cherry that will only be noticed by those who take their time and fully appreciate the rather delicately balanced bouquet.
Once introduced to the palette, this notes combine to create a beautiful and fresh wine that revels in elegance. The particularly observant drinker will discover additional notes of brioche alongside the flowers, summer fruit and cherries, making this a surprisingly complex Champagne that is both able to challenge the drinker, while still offering the crispness that is usually expected form a sparkling white wine.
It is best enjoyed alongside pasta, seafood or light cheeses, but many will be more than happy to drink it as an aperitif or as part of a celebration.