An established history is something which no Champagne or wine lover can argue with, and in this respect – as well as in many others – Napoleon have a lot to offer.
Jean-Lous Prieur was the man who started it all. 1825 was the year, and Jean-Lous moved, along with his wife Marie-Reine, to Virtues. Later, at the age of 26, he founded the family home of Prieur-Pageot, and soon began to trade. By this time the House had a name, and a name which has stuck to this very day: Ch & A Prior. The letter A, in this case, refers to the name of his son Alphréde. Along with his son and his daughter, Jean-Lous and his wife began an epic journey of a family business.
In those first few years, Jean-Louis had an assistant in the way of his son. In charge of making sure the Champagne was always at the top level, he did a fine job of continuing in his father's footsteps, and made sure that the reputation grew and grew. After this, a new phase began, as the enlightened son moved to Paris to further the House's reach and ensure that the future was rosy.
It was then that the company really started to develop and come into its own, with the House style firmly focused on what was suitable. Today, Vincent Prior – the guarantor of the House and hailing from the fifth generation – looks after proceedings, following the same rigid quality control techniques to make sure that everything stays as it should.
An exquisite Champagne and a historic symbol...
Following in his father's visionary footsteps, the son of Jean-Louis Prieur then decided upon a way to attract some serious attention. Rather than going the conventional route, which might involve a more traditional symbol to associate the brand with, he decided upon a novel approach: that of adopting the image of none other than Napoleon. In the 1890s this was printed onto posters by way of lithography – by Van Leer in Amsterdam to begin with – and soon this became known all over as the House's distinct symbol.
For many, it is the eyes of the man which make this image so intriguing. And this, along with a motto that has lasted the test of time – “Water comes to his mouth” – has helped establish the House of Napoleon as one to watch at all times.
Like most houses, the production of House Napoleon Champagne is a rich and fascinating process with many complex stages. Beginning in the vineyards – carefully looked after every minute of every day by trained experts – at harvest time the tension mounts as the labour of the year comes to fruition. And Napoleon Champagne is just as rich as any other, each assembly giving off a superb bouquet of aromas that promises great things for the future. Once the grapes are collected, the wine pressing begins. Then the vast litres of wine head to the winery cellars. Bleeding then takes place, and soon the later stages allow the bubbles to form. It is now, under the strict care of Vincent Prior, that the Champagne comes into its own, transforming into the fantastic drink that many of us know and dearly love.
This may sound like a fast process, but, in fact, five long years pass until this process is ready for completion. Such is the way of great Champagne.