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.
2014 base with 35-40% reserve wines going back to 2004. Disgorgement: September 2018
The name here refers to the 'vertical' nature of the geographic locations of the vineyards as well as the style of wine that results from the very chalky soils of these sites - that gift a more linear, mineral style of wine. To be specific, the vineyards are located in Cramant, Avize, Oger and Vertus (north of the village). Connecting the dots between these communes forms a line close to the fourth meridian. So, Longitude. While Latitude is expansive across the palate, Longitude is all about minerality, line and raciness. This is again 100% Côte des Blancs Chardonnay, yet now the vineyards are all north of the village of Vertus, where the top soils are much thinner and the vine's roots plunge straight into the chalk bedrock. Made in the same fashion as Larmandier's Latitude cuvée, expect a vibrant, crystalline and remarkably refined Champagne, crackling with chalky energy and salinity and with wonderfully bright, citrus, nectarine and white pepper fruit. As with the Latitude cuvée, Longitude is dosed with a low four grams per litre (so Extra Brut).
The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Longitude 1er Cru is another fabulous wine from Pierre and Sophie Larmandier. Apricot, chamomile, hazelnut and lightly honeyed overtones fill out the wine's ample frame effortlessly. It is fascinating to taste the Latitude and Longitude side by side. The Latitude is brighter and more focused, while the Longitude is all about texture and palate weight. The current release is based on the 2013 vintage, with 40% reserve wines. The Longitude is a blend of fruit from Vertus, Cramant and Oger. Because Vertus is a 1er Cru village, the Longitude is necessarily a 1er Cru Champagne, despite the presence of fruit from Grand Cru parcels in Cramant. Date Tasted: Dec 2017; Rating: 93 Points, Antonio Galloni; Vinous
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