LARMANDIER-BERNIER 'Longitude' Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 1er Cru
This is a touch more full bodied than the Tradition, even though it is also 100% Chardonnay. There are some more evolved notes yet this remains very elegant and long. Chiselled but with softer edges. Now labelled as 'Longitude.' All the fruit here comes from the village of Vertus, as well as the grands crus of Avize, Cramant, Chouilly and Oger, Longitude reflects the character and finesse of these chalky soils. Interestingly, the disgorgement date can be found lasered into the glass of each bottle. L&S (May 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.
One of the most renowned viticulturists in the Côtes des Blancs, Pierre Larmandier has been working biodynamically since 2000 and has farmed his entire 16ha estate biodynamically since 2004. The wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts in a mix of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks, and released with little dosage. Sourced from the village of Vertus, as well as the grands crus of Avize, Cramant, Choilly and Oger, Longitude reflects the character and finesse of these chalky soils.
Michael Edwards: Lovely, classy, green gold in colour, shouting Chardonnay straight away. There are minerals, chalk, a hint of spices, and fine, fine tension in the mouth. It is moreish, complete, a fine, long wine. Drinking range: 2018 - 2025 Rating: 95 Decanter Magazine (Jun 2017)
Larmandier-Bernier's NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Longitude 1er Cru is a powerful, tightly wound wine that captures the inherent energy of these soils rich in limestone and chalk. The trademark Larmandier-Bernier breadth comes through, but it is also tempered by the wine's tightly wound sense of energy. Citrus, orchard fruit, dried herb and crushed flowers all develop nicely. Above all else, though, the Longitude is a wine of mineral-driven intensity and focus. Ideally, readers should be prepared to cellar this edition for at least another 2-3 years. The Longitude is a gorgeous, striking Champagne, but it is also one of the most reticent wines in this range. Rating: 93+ Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Dec 2016)
An all-Chardonnay Champagne from one of the best growers in the Côte des Blancs, this stylish fizz shows an elegant nuttiness of aroma followed by a finely-textured purity of flavour and the rich creaminess of mousse that's consistent with fine Chardonnay, finishing on a bone dry note thanks to a relatively low dosage of just four grams per litre. Rating: 92-92 www.thewinegang.com (Jun 2016)
Wonderful balance and refreshment factor. Not mean at all but with great refinement. Tiny bead. Sophisticated and subtle. 12.5% Drinking range: 2015 - 2018 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com (May 2015)
A big, ample Champagne, Larmandier-Bernier's NV Longitude wraps around the palate with gorgeous depth and textural richness. Apricot pit, almonds, wild herbs, honey and crushed flowers are some of the notes that meld together on the creamy, expressive finish. The Longitude is made mostly from parcels in the northern sector of Vertus, although 30% of the fruit is sourced from parcels in Cramant, Avize and Oger. Drinking range: 2014 - 2021 Rating: 92-92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Nov 2014)
The Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru is elegance personified. Smoke, minerals, chalk, and pears emerge as this generous yet subtle wine opens up in the glass. Sweet floral notes develop with air, but minerality is this wine's calling card, particularly on the finish, which is incredibly elegant and refined. Simply put, this is gorgeous juice. Though labelled as Premier Cru, only the fruit from Vertus is premier, while all of the fruit from Cramant, Avize and Oger in the blend is Grand Cru. The blend is 60% 2005 wine, with the addition of 40% reserve wine from 2004 and 2002. Rating: 91-91 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com
Notes plus évoluées avec une touche d'oxydation. Matiere en bouche vineuse, notes de grillé en finale. Pour la table. Rating: 16/20 La Revue du Vin de France
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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