Friday, February 20, 2009

Larmandier-Bernier’s Blended Vintage Champagne

I was looking back through some old notebooks today, doing research for some writing I’m working on, and happened to stumble upon some comments by Pierre Larmandier from several years ago, regarding the vintage champagne that he used to make. Pierre always has the most terrifically interesting things to say, and I often wish that I’d brought along a tape recorder to record all of the conversations we’ve ever had together.

Larmandier used to be in the Club Trésors de Champagne, back when it was called the Club des Viticulteurs—his mother joined the Club in 1974, making Larmandier-Bernier one of the earliest members of the organization. Around the beginning of the current decade, Pierre decided to leave the Club, and while it was not a decision that he took lightly, he felt that it was necessary for him to go his own way. The 1996 was the last of Larmandier-Bernier’s vintage champagnes to be labeled as Spécial Club, and although there were several vintages of wines in the distinctive Club bottles remaining in the cellar, these were released later with a plain white label.

The Club wine used to be made of equal parts Cramant, Chouilly and Vertus, which on the face of it, ought to complement each other quite well. Chouilly tends to be round and rich, especially the side closer to Cramant, while the Cramant parcels to the south and east of the village itself combine strength with finesse, and Larmandier has old vines here. Vertus is leaner, more linear, with a more pronounced acidity that gives it a lot of focus and structure.

However, Pierre told me that with his new methods of working—biodynamics, natural yeasts, et cetera—this proportion didn’t work anymore. “The wines fight each other,” he said. He cited natural yeasts as perhaps being a primary culprit in this, as he had stopped using cultured yeasts for the primary fermentation beginning in 1999. “Cultured yeasts make more homogenous wines,” he said. “They tend to be easier to blend.” His new wines, though, were now too strong in their respective individual characters to play well with each other.

The last of the blended vintage champagnes from Larmandier-Bernier was the 2000; since then, his two vintage wines (one of which isn’t even vintage-dated) are both highly terroir-specific. I used to like the Larmandier Spécial Club quite a bit, but I don’t miss it. I like the Vieille Vigne de Cramant and Terre de Vertus even better for their individuality of expression and uncompromising personalities.

11 comments:

Christian Miller said...

That's a strange and fascinating notion, that the vineyard character could evolve in such a way as to make the blend worse. But I'm still not sure what he means by "the wines fight each other." One thing I have observed in many blending sessions of a variety of wines, over the years: with 2 wines of good quality and distinct character, an 80-20 or 90-10 blend favoring either of the two wines is almost always better than a 50-50 or 60-40 blend. Relevant, or am I just rambling? But then this is besotted ramblings, no?

Peter Liem said...

I do think it's relevant! I don't see this as such a strange idea, as in my limited experience with doing blending tastings in various regions around the world, it seems common that wines of strong personalities can often seem to cancel each other out, making a blend actually feel less than the sum of its parts. Blending can enhance certain wines, obviously, but it can also detract from them as well. It's common to hear chefs de cave in Champagne comment that a certain wine wasn't included in a blend because "it had too strong a personality." It makes sense to me that as Larmandier's wines grew more intense in character, due to more conscientious viticulture, he had to adapt his methods in the winery to accomodate them.

amy ryan said...

Fantastic work and very well-written article. I will recommend reading it to all my friends
wallofdeathworldtour |

nimi parker said...

This is a fantastic website and I can not recommend you guys enough. Full of useful resource and great layout very easy on the eyes.
mattscofield |

loren Jett said...

A good informative post that you have shared and appreciate your work for sharing the information.
www.bearcrawlingnation.com |

Anonymous said...

A good informative post that you have shared and appreciate your work for sharing the information.canarias-auto.com |

Philip Shaun said...

Pretty portion of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts. Any way I will be subscribing on your augment or even I achievement you get admission to constantly quickly.
http://www.azheartcare.com |

Abigail Alexandra said...

A good informative post that you have shared and appreciate your work for sharing the information.greatbusinessforum.com |

xjd7410@gmail.com said...

cheap oakley sunglasses
polo ralph shirts
ray ban wayfarer
giuseppe zanotti sneakers
kobe bryant shoes
jordan 6
adidas shoes
jordan 8
coach outlet store online
ray ban sunglasses
basketball shoes
ralph lauren polo outlet
giuseppe zanotti sandals
true religion jeans
insanity workout
jeremy scott shoes
louis vuitton outlet online
true religion jeans
cheap nfl jerseys
jordans
jeremy scott shoes
louis vuitton handbags
adidas nmd
kate spade
oakley sunglasses
fitflops sale clearance
polo ralph lauren outlet
coach outlet
polo ralph lauren
louis vuitton outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
tory burch outlet
louis vuitton outlet
toms
michael kors outlet clearance
michael kors outlet
jordan shoes
michael kors outlet
oakley sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses outlet
2016.7.29haungqin

Hua Cai said...

jordan pas cher
michael kors outlet clearance
burberry outlet
oakley sunglasses wholesale
louis vuitton handbags
cheap uggs
christian louboutin shoes
beats by dr dre
ray-ban sunglasses
kate spade uk
tory burch sandals
prada handbags
cartier watches
ray ban sunglasses
swarovski jewelry
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
canada goose jackets
ugg slippers
fitflops sale
oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton outlet store
coach outlet store
michael kors outlet clearance
christian louboutin outlet
rolex watches
michael kors outlet
ugg outlet store
coach outlet
air max 90
kobe bryants shoes
beats headphones
michael kors outlet
ysl outlet
michael kors outlet
20160826caihuali

sarah saad said...


اهم شركات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
شركة نقل عفش بالطائف
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل عفش بجدة
شركة نقل عفش بمكة