2011 Vieille Vigne du Levant Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru Cramant
|Other||Practicing Organic, Certified Organic, Bio-dynamic|
This masterful Champagne comes from the superb Bourron du Levant vineyard, whose oldest vines were planted more than 80 years ago. Brown butter, hazelnut and brioche lead the initial attack, but this never loses sight of freshness and purity, with a crystalline depth and harmonious balance. Fermented in cask with eight years on the lees, this should last for decades. Drinking range: 2020 - 2050 Rating: 95 Charles Curtis MW, Decanter.com (Oct 2021)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
I'm increasingly convinced that Pierre Larmandier produced Champagne's wines of the vintage this year, and the 2011 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant only compounds that suspicion. Unfurling in the glass with a deep and complex nose of citrus zest, crisp yellow apples, smoke, warm bread, mandarin oil and oyster shell, it's full-bodied and fleshy but incisive, with huge concentration, bright acids and a long, intensely saline finish. Totally transcending the reputation of 2011, it has many of the textural properties of a great white Burgundy, married with the cut and chalky grip of Champagne's Côte de Blancs. Drinking range: 2020 - 2037 Rating: 97 William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (Oct 2020)
Pierre and Sophie Larmandier 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.
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