2012 Terre de Vertus Non Dosé 1er Cru Champagne Larmandier-Bernier
The 2012 Terre de Vertus is a handy follow-up to the 2010 with a refined, chalky nose that has attractive, flavorsome stone fruit with some tropical hints, too. Really fleshy and expressive. Nicely chiseled mineral cut at the finish. Drink now. Rating: 93 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Aug 2018)
*Case price: Mix any 12 bottles of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
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.
With every man and his wife on the lookout for Champagne 'deals', it is sad that so many people overlook the best 'deals' of all - high quality, grower-made Champagnes, packed with character, and at prices significantly below any of the best prices you might find for Grande Marque Champagnes.
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