Larmandier-Bernier has been rated as one of Champagne’s top 5 producers by Andrew Jefford in his celebrated work, The New France. This estate is meticulously run by Pierre Larmandier and his wife Sophie. Pierre’s family have owned vineyards in the Côte des Blancs since the Revolution. The estate is now 15 hectares, predominantly in Vertus, at the Southern tip of the Côte des Blancs, yet there are also holdings in Cramant, Chouilly, Oger & Avize. The vineyards are biodynamically worked (almost unheard of in Champagne) and the average age of the vines is 35 years (most Champagne vineyards are considered 'old' and due for replanting at 25 years). Yields are kept very low by Champagne standards, 50 hl/ha on average.
2015 base with 40% reserve wines going back to 2004. Disgorgement: June 2018
Latitude is a 100% Côte des Blancs Chardonnay from vineyards on the southern side of Vertus. These are vineyards on roughly the same 'Latitude' and the name also hints at the breadth of texture that the wines from these sites (having more clay in the soil) tend to offer up. In the cellar Larmandier uses mostly large format casks (almost all the wood now comes from Stockinger in Austria) and less and less steel tanks. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place without inoculation, and there is no fining or filtration. Bottle maturation takes place in the underground cellars over a period of more than two years, and each bottle is disgorged manually, six months before being released and dosed at low, Extra Brut levels. Pure and mineral, the most recent bottling offers cut-diamond precision, citrusy, chalky energy and a succulent, textured core. In short, it is a classic 'Larmandier' wine that is all class. Dosage is 3-4 grams per litre.
The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Latitude 1er Cru is powerful, full-bodied and structured, with a real sense of depth. Smoke, lemon peel, crushed rocks, graphite, menthol, dried pear and chamomile nuances infuse this virile Champagne. Readers looking for a Champagne to drink at the dinner table will adore the Latitude. This is an especially fine edition. Don't miss it. The current release is based on the 2014 vintage, with 40% reserve wines. As always, the Latitude emerges from the southern part of Vertus, an area that has historically been planted with Pinot Noir, which was considered better suited than Chardonnay because of the clay-rich soils. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. Date Tasted: Dec 2017; Rating: 94 Points, Antonio Galloni; Vinous
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