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Larmandier-Bernier, Premier Cru Tradition, Extra brut

Posted by Julian 09 Feb 2011

By covering a selection of sparkling wines from Germany and England during the last year or so, we have learned much and have opened up a whole new category of wine for ourselves, but in a way, we also got ahead of ourselves. We could look at sparklers with a fresh and innocent eye by simply ignoring the international benchmark for this whole type of wine, but it was at times also so much dancing around the elephant in the room, namely our utter ignorance of Champagne. On new year's eve of 2010, the Munich branch of the wine rambler manned (and ladied) up and confronted their insecurity. After all, let's face it, when expectation and curiosity are high, the potential for disappointment is also immense.

"Abuse does not preclude proper use". Classiest wine motto ever"Abuse does not preclude proper use". Classiest wine motto ever

But sometimes, just sometimes, you hit if off immediately. That night, I fell for grower champagne hook, line and sinker, and it's all thanks to Pierre and Sophie Larmandier from Vertus, Champagne.

Their first-growth Champagne, he of the dark straw colour and the very fine bubbles, smells - ironically, for such a night-time drink - like the nicest sunday morning ever: Freshly baked brioche, butter, finest hints of apple and pear peel wafting over a yeasty core. On the palate it is, more than anything, utterly bone dry. This sounds off-putting in a sparkling, but this one pulls it off spectacularly with nutty and creamy flavours, mineral bite and an elegant hint of bitterness in the finish.

A piece of Wine Rambler advice: Look out for this labelA piece of Wine Rambler advice: Look out for this label

The Larmandiers use natural yeasts for fermentation, and I like to think that actually shows in the lack of any superficial fruit flavours. To sum up, a real wine revelation, serious and seductive at the same time. Worth every euro, of course.

The Cote de Blancs, (c) Champagne Larmandier-BernierThe Cote de Blancs, (c) Champagne Larmandier-Bernier

If this is a very wide-eyed review, given my complete lack of expertise or working knowledge of Champagne, so be it. But I'll say this: If this, in hindsight, will turn out to be a run-of-the-mill champagne, then I really really need to taste great champagne. Finally, forgive me the overly predictable choice of music, but this one really was. A champagne supernova.

Great one! Larmandier Bernier

Great one! Larmandier Bernier is one of the bargains in Champagne. Wouldn't have known it without Didier of Vimpressionniste who organized this wine tasting once: http://blindtastingclub.net/?p=8 . Greets


Larmandier-Bernier

Thanks, Alex. Like the idea of a "revolutionary" tasting. After all, who says you can't do a revolution in style, and with nice bubbles.


Lamandier-Bernier

Another huge fan here! The 2005 Vintge is everything described above plus a *little* (okay a lot) bit more. It's slightly more structured, the minerality stays forever and the whisper of bitterness on the end transforms into a hint of apple blossom. It's incredible. It was the wine I used to celebrate passing the IHK Sommelier exam this fall, and was the first purchase from the wine store where I now work in Berlin. Congrats on a beautiful thing!


Lamandier-Bernier

It seems I have really missed something here. I should maybe think about including some with my next shipment from the continent. Sounds so very tempting!