Champagne Larmandier-Bernier “Longitude” Extra Brut (Premier Cru)
“To create a wine that deeply expresses its terroir is Pierre Larmandier‘s aim… But to this fastidous grower, terroir in itself is not enough. ‘Terroir is to wine what the score is to music,’ he suggests. ‘What’s the point if the grape variety, the vine plant (the instrument) and the winegrower (the performer) are not up to standard?’ Some growers are known for their focus on the vines, others for their attention in the winery, but few find a balance in every detail like Pierre Larmandier.” – Tyson Stelzer, The Definitive Guide to Champagne
Pierre Larmandier holds close to 37 acres of vines, 33 years old on average, all in Premier and Grand Cru villages of the Côte des Blancs. Biodynamically certified since 2004, he describes himself as an “organo-realist,” as one must be cultivating vines in this most northern of production zones. Naturally moderate yields and site-specific indigenous yeast fermentation allows Pierre to extract the character of each vineyard parcel. A light but measured hand in the cellar preserves that character in the bottle.
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier cuvée “Longitude” is made exclusively from Chardonnay grown on the Côte des Blancs from the Premier Cru Vertus, and the Grand Crus Oger, Avize, and Cramant, which form a line close to the 4th meridian. The base consists of 2012 vintage juice (60%) blended with reserve wines made through all vintages from 2004 to 2011. The wines are left on their natural lees for nearly a year and undergo gentle bâtonnages. After blending and bottling, maturation occurs over a period of more than two years. A further six months of resting takes place after disgorgement. The dosage is a low four grams per liter (Extra Brut).
In the glass, the tremendous chalk minerality of these villages are manifested from start to finish. With a richness belying its minimal dosage, notes of lemon, apple and pear are backed by toast, grassy meadows and epic length. This Champagne pairs especially well with late brunch and spring birdsong.