Champagne Mercier, Eugène's genius
A visit to Maison Mercier is like going back through time, gliding along a long historic path full of encounters and anecdotes, diving into this fabulous legacy left by Eugène Mercier in his cellars at the Epernay champagne house. An initiatory journey made magical through generosity and the act of sharing.
They are not just a cellar. There is a whole network of them dug out by the founder of the eponymous house, Eugène Mercier. As in 1858 daring visionary, this 20-year-old young man barely twenty years old decided to create a champagne house in his own name with the aim of making champagne accessible to all. A champagne to be enjoyed at every occasion. Faithful to the vision of its founder, Maison Mercier wanted to “create emotions and share this positive memory” with every visitor.
In the entrance hall, visitors are struck by a spectacular sight. A huge, immense barrel - one of Eugène Mercier’s many inventions. It was brought to Paris for the World Fair in 1889 where it won 2nd prize just behind the Eiffel Tower.
But let’s begin our visit and take our seats for a short film retracing the history of the champagne house. The tone is set: it’s all about sharing and imagination. The anecdotes come thick and fast. Who could have imagined that at the end of the 19th century,
Eugène Mercier organised a 4CV Renault Rally in the cellars or that he liked to invite his customers for a ride in a hot air balloon, a glass of Mercier champagne in hand above the rooftops of Paris? A marketing ace before marketing even existed, the man was never short of ideas to convince consumers that life was more beautiful and sensations more intense with a bottle of Mercier to hand.
Let’s get our feet back on the ground. Or rather below ground. To reach the cellars, a lift journey worthy of Jules Verne. A panoramic view entirely created, cut and sculpted immerses the visitor into the Mercier world. 30 metres beneath the ground, the atmosphere is completely different. The cool and damp environment and the smell of the cellars instantly envelope you. The tour, consisting of part of the 18 kilometres cellars continues aboard a little train.
The alleys are long and wide, we travel through the heart of the house’s expertise, discovering thousands of bottles resting, sculptures, the wine library, often meeting people who are artfully watching over the champagne’s ageing process. The site is active which makes it even more fulfilling.
Half an hour or so later, after discovering the various stages required to make champagne, we return to the surface just like champagne bubbles in a glass. Lastly, time for a tasting session guided by a sommelier, the final stage in our Mercier tour. When intelligence sparkles, inebriation is guaranteed!