Larmandier Bernier Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru NV (Champagne, France)
12.5%, Cork, $90
|Larmandier Bernier Blanc de Blanc
Oh yes, don’t mind if I do
‘Do things with passion or not at all’
There’s a reason why Grower Champagnes (such as this one) are rewriting the Champagne rules. Simply put, they’re just better.
I say that with a caveat (of course), because such sweeping generalisations are obviously completely subjective and such. But when you have wines of this quality, selling at prices like this, the normal rules go out the window. I mean, this is as fine as many a ‘big house’ (Why is that only Champagne has houses by the way? Is it because they have espouse a house over a chateau? I’d prefer the chateau myself) vintage wine…
When you read the production description though, it’s really of little surprise that this is as good as it is. Best practice wine, made more like white Burgundy than Champagne. More than that though, it’s crafted with passion, with attention to detail and ‘hands-on’, ‘we know how to make it properly, and it requires humans’ winemaking
A 100% Chardonnay Champagne, it’s crafted from the Vertus 1er cru and Cramant, Avize and Oger grand crus, with all of the vineyards farmed organically. Most of this blend was drawn from the 2008 vintage, with 40% reserve wine included in the final cuvee (which is huge for a standard NV). Fermentation is completed naturally (which is again an oddity for Champagne) in stainless steel. Manual disgorgement (!) with 4g/L dosage.
In the glass it has a very fine, superstar bead, and a tight, fine grapefruit nose. It smells youthful, of crystalline melon fruit with a swizzle stick of yeast richness sitting over the top. The palate is a tight one and a dry one, looking very restrained and Chablis like in it’s minerality. Whilst labelled as extra brut, and topped off with just 4g/L of dosage, it actually tastes slightly sherbety on the finish, which gives an edge of generosity that I both enjoyed and didn’t. Still, it’s the only wavering quibble on what is a finessed, crisply restrained, yet still buxom Blanc de Blanc itching only for more bottle age to become a true weapon of seduction.
A Champagne to win over anyone regardless of their Champagne convictions, it’s not hard to recommend this (although the zero dosage Terra Vertus really is next level better again…)