Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Larmandiers

Ever wonder about the relationships between the various Larmandier estates? Yesterday I got a straight answer from Didier Gimonnet of Champagne Pierre Gimonnet, complete with an impromptu drawing of a family tree that’s almost even partially legible.

Didier is of the Larmandier clan, being the son of Michel Gimonnet and Françoise Larmandier. Françoise had a brother named Guy, who started the Guy Larmandier label, and another named Philippe, who founded Larmandier-Bernier. Thus, Pierre Larmandier, who owns Larmandier-Bernier today, and François Larmandier, of Champagne Guy Larmandier, are cousins. François has a sister who married a Waris, and they now have an estate in Avize called Waris-Larmandier. The original Larmandier Père et Fils, which was the family estate before all these guys splintered off from one another, is now owned by Gimonnet, who still makes a little wine under that label, sold mostly here in France. Happily, Larmandier Père et Fils came with eight hectares of prime vineyard land in the grand cru villages of Cramant and Chouilly, which is a big part of the reason that Gimonnet’s wines are so good now.


Jesse said...

Wow, that seemed like a mouthful!
I love Larmadier-Bernier's wines, but I am not so familiar with the rest of the clan. Are they all Biodynamic?

Sharon said...

My head hurts...

No, very interesting. I only know Gimonnet and Larmandier-Bernier champagnes; how do Guy Larmandier and Waris-Larmandier compare?

Peter Liem said...

Hi, Jesse: No, Larmandier-Bernier is the only one who’s biodynamic.

Hi Sharon: Guy Larmandier’s wines can be very good, but in general they don’t have the complexity of Gimonnet or the individuality and intensity of Larmandier-Bernier. What’s interesting about them, though, is that they’re all monocru: the BSA is from Vertus, another cuvée called Perlée is from Chouilly, made with slightly lower pressure (like Gimonnet’s Gastronome), and there are two Cramant wines (although the Cramant NV is offered in both brut and extra brut versions). I find the prices very reasonable for the quality. Waris-Larmandier I’ve never tasted. I’ll get around to it someday.