The Champagne Boutique

Vive la Revolution – Larmandier Bernier leads the way

In Events on May 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Welcome to the fantastic world of those growers who wanted to think differently and who make today the most delicious and amazing champagnes.

I would like to introduce you today a unique house led by a kind of “Professeur Fou” and his wife.

This house set in the premier cru village of Vertus in the Cote des Blancs has been one of the first to advocate the use of biodynamic and organic methods to its wine making.

The house of LARMANDIER-BERNIER has been praised by many today in the liking of Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker while more and more fine dining venues such as The Greenhouse, Tate or The Fat Duck to name a few list and sell these champagnes.

So why so much praise? (The wine advocate has rated the Rose de Saignee as the second best rose champagne ever made after Cristal Roederer Rose with 96% rating)

The winemaker Pierre Larmandier has chosen to make champagne wine with a difference. His motto: Live life differently! Brings back life in the vineyard by keeping grass between lines and on embankments. Like a kind of David against the “Big Four” who will not tolerate earth or grass on the roads and the vineyards and will use pesticides with no shame so the vineyard looks clean; Pierre has been taken for an eccentric for a long time.

Today, many share his approach and he has been one of the founders of the “agriculture raisonnee” that the CIVC (Champagne Makers Committee) try to implement throughout the region.

However, this is not all, the wine making at LARMANDIER-BERNIER is also very different. Firstly it is the selection of the grapes from premier and grand crus vineyards, which are picked the latest possible to guarantee a great ripeness, giving to the juice a true Terroir identity. Then it is the first fermentation, which will start naturally thanks to the natural yeast present on the bloom of the grapes. The wines are matured in stainless steel or oak vats during winter and malolactic fermentation is applied in order to balance the acidity of the wine. The wines are all tasted in spring and a decision is made if Pierre will blend or not the different cuvees. The use of natural yeast and not an industrial product is very important to Pierre and, according to him, this natural yeast is fundamental to make great wine and not as the other 99% of the vineyards, which by using the same yeast develops a standardised taste.

Concerning the dosage, the house has chosen a minimal sugar addition to its cuvee. Most of the range contains between 2g and 5g per litre of wine, as the most common houses will use around 12g/l for their Brut. In the case of the TERRE DE VERTUS a zero dosage will apply expressing all the minerality of this fantastic Chardonnay.

Coming back to the wine making we have to say that Champagne today is re-discovering its terroir thanks to various methods. One of them is Biodynamic. What does this mean?

Very simply you let Nature do its work and give a little extra help by introducing natural predators to the natural predators of the vine, not using any chemicals, following the moon calendar on when it’s the best time for pruning, spraying soil enrichment or harvesting.

All this hard work has paid.

Today LARMANDIER-BERNIER is renown for the very high quality of their wine. Here there is a comment that I am sure you will find interesting:

“The Larmandier-Bernier Rose de Saignee is one of the most profound wines I encountered in my tastings. The colour resembles the tonality of Blood Orange juice. This is a powerful wine that flows onto the palate with an expression of bright red fruit that recalls the wines of Chambolle in its luxuriousness, but is backed up with serious structure. This compelling, totally seductive wine possesses awesome richness and vibrancy, with layers of aromas and flavors that continue to develop in the glass all the way through to the long, intensely satisfying finish. The wine could be served alongside any dish that might be served with grand cru Burgundy, but like all of the world’s great wines, this is a bottle that creates its own occasion. Larmandier-Bernier completely redefines what Rose can be all about with this monumental effort. The estate’s rose is 100% Pinot Noir from Vertus vinified on the skins (saignee) and bottled with 3 grams of dosage. These words are of Antonio Galloni who tasted the wines for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate in 2008.

We are very proud to list such refined wines and encourage you to have a try at this Revolution.


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