Sunday, June 2, 2013

Larmandier-Bernier's Magnificent Extra Brut "Tradition" Champagne

A grower producer (RM), Larmandier-Bernier is one of the finest Champagne producers in the Cote des Blancs and, therefore, in all of Champagne. Operated by Pierre and Sophie Larmandier, the 15-hectare estate vineyards in Vertus, Cramant, Chouilly, Oger, and Avize are farmed biodynamically since 2004. They work on the soils meticulously by plowing the several times a year and leaving a cover crop of grass between rows to maintain microorganisms and to force vine roots to go down deeper. Vines are selection massale and average 35 years old.

All these work in the vineyards result in healthy vines that produce crops modest in yields and expressive of the site or terroir. The winemaking approach ensures that the fruit brought in translates into the wine. The overarching goal of Larmandier's work is maintain the quality of the wine in the finished Champagne. Thus, first and foremost, only natural or indigenous yeasts are used in the vinification. The fruit ferments spontaneously without the addition of commercial yeasts, unlike in 99% of Champagne produced.

The last release of the Extra Brut Tradition label (this has been renamed "Latitude") is simply magnificent! The base wine is 2008, with about one-third reserve wines, which are aged in Burgundy barrels. The blend is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Don't miss this extraordinary release. A superb value. One of the greatest buys in Champagne today!

Champagne Extra Brut Premier Cru "Tradition", Larmandier-Bernier NV $49.00

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