Alexandre-Louis Pommery founded the Pommery champagne house in Reims in 1836. After his untimely death in 1858, his wife Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Pommery took over the reins of the company, whose style of champagne was still evolving. In the 1860’s, the champagnes available on the market were powerful wines, often heavily dosed and high in alcohol. Madame Pommery entrusted her Cellar Director, Damas Olivier, to develop elegant and balanced cuvees without adding excessive amounts of liquor. To achieve this style, Olivier focused on the subtleties of the crus, choosing them according to their specific qualities and ensuring their regular supply. The champagnes also needed the perfect environment for ageing, so Madame Pommery chose the core of the Gallo-Roman chalk quarries at the top of the Butte Saint-Nicaise in Reims and undertook arguably the largest construction project of the 19th century in Reims. She created an underground city capable of holding 20 million bottles— 18 kilometres of tunnels in total.