Latitude is 100% Côte des Blancs Chardonnay from vineyards on the southern side of Vertus. These vineyards are on roughly the same latitude, hence the name, which also hints at the breadth of texture that the wines from these sites (having more clay in the soil) tend to offer up.
In the cellar Larmandier uses mostly large format casks (almost all the wood now comes from Stockinger in Austria) with less and less reliance on steel tanks. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place naturally, and there is no fining or filtration. Bottles are matured over a period of more than two years, disgorged manually and dosed at low, extra brut levels (in this case, four grams per litre), a minimum of six months before release.
Pure and mineral, this, like all the recent bottlings, offers superb texture and stone-fruited depth without sacrificing the cut-diamond precision and citrusy, chalky energy that is a given from this area. In short, this is classic Larmandier -100% delicious and all class. This is a wine that is extremely versatile at the table, especially if served in a wine glass, and can even be decanted. It will pair with everything from fish, shellfish, terrines, any white meat dish, game and most cheeses (except blue or strong washed-rind). - Importer Note
Like Egly-Ouriet and Selosse, Larmandier-Bernier has been rated as one of Champagne's top 5 producers by Andrew Jefford in his celebrated work, The New France, [Mitchell Beazley]. 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.
In the winery the approach is classic "minimalist" with indigenous yeasts, long, slow ferments of up to two months and very little sulphur. A mixture of fermenting vessels are utilised including large oak vats and even barriques. Very low dosage levels too and the dosage is designed to be as neutral as possible. Sometimes, as is the case in the "Terre de Vertus" there is no dosage at all. In other words, everything is designed to maximise the expression of the vineyard, commune and vintage. The resulting wines are wonderful expressions of their origins, fine and delicate, yet with and a mineral intensity that keeps you coming back, sip after sip. Peter Liem (champagneguide.net) has written: "Larmandier-Bernier is one of the finest estates in the Côte des Blancs, producing wines of unusual detail and clarity of expression. The style is for champagnes that are dry, minerally and terroir-driven, emphasizing purity and finesse over richness or sheer power."Such purity and minerality could only come from the man that Laurent d'Harcourt, MD of Pol Roger, recently dubbed "The Ayatollah of quality" and his impeccably tended vineyards. - Importer Note
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