Champagne Larmandier-Bernier

France, Champagne

Pierre and Sophie Larmandier and their sons Arthur and now Georges too (joined September 2021) are determined to make wines as true as possible to their origins in their different vineyards. These are split into around fifty separate parcels spread across the Côte des Blancs in the grand cru villages of Cramant, Chouilly, Oger and Avize, and the premier cru of Vertus.

All but three of the parcels (representing 0.5 hectares) are farmed using non-officially certified biodynamic methods. Wines are made only from their own 15 hectares of vines, which are on average 33 years old. All of their Champagnes are the purest expressions of Chardonnay.

Working only with natural yeasts the influence of 'terroir' is all important to the style of his wines, so much so that he uses a minimum 'dosage' (if at all) so as not to mask the wines natural characteristics.

Pierre has recently changed the 'Tradition' cuvée, re-launching it as 'Latitude', and it is now also a Blanc de Blancs, with its origins in the vineyards south of Vertus. The old 'Blanc de Blancs cuvée, which is known henceforth as 'Longitude', comes exclusively from vineyards on the Cote de Blancs itself and is classified Premier Cru'.

The Pinot Noir is now reserved exclusively for Pierre's distinctive dark rosé and for the Vertus Rouge Coteaux Champenois.

Awarded the Robert Parker Green emblem in July 2021.

Larmandier-Bernier numbers among the Côte de Blanc's—and Champagne's—finest estates. Based in Vertus, the Larmandier family farm organically and harvest late, vinifying the resulting wines in wood. The result is vinous, elegantly muscular Champagnes that are concentrated but precise. In a region that still produces far too many meager, brittle wines, Larmander-Bernier reminds us of the plenitude and texture of which great Champagne is capable. The range begins with two non-vintage Blanc de Blancs: Latitude, broad and charming; and Longitude, more chiseled and incisive. Next come three vintage cuvées: Vieille Vigne de Levant, from Cramant; Les Chemins d’Avize, from the eponymous village; and the Terre de Vertus. Two perfumed rosé de saignée cuvées complement the portfolio, now joined by small quantities of still red and white Côteaux Champenois. As remarkable for their consistency as their quality, any wine that bears this family’s label is well worth seeking out William Kelley, The Wine Advocate  (Mar 2021)

Pierre and Sophie Larmandier craft dramatic, vinous wines of real personality and class. All of these wines need quite a bit of time to be at their best, meaning at least several hours of air. I typically am not a fan of decanting Champagne, but I would be tempted to do that with these wines when opening bottles several hours in advance is not practical. Sustainable farming practices, indigenous fermentations and ageing in cask are some of the cornerstones of an approach that yields distinctly potent, textured wines full of character. Antonio Galloni,  (Dec 2018)