Saignée literally means 'to bleed'. In winemaking parlance, it means to draw the free run juice of a grape off the grape skins typically prior to, or shortly after, the start of fermentation. In this case, the grapes (100% Pinot Noir) are allowed to macerate for several days before the juice is drawn off and it is this 'soak' that gives the colour, and much of the body and flavor, to the wine. This technique is now extremely rare in Champagne - it is a demanding method of vinification that requires grapes with an excellent degree of maturity. Most rosé (in Champagne) is made by the addition of a little red wine. Vive la difference! Cut from the same cloth as previous releases, drawn entirely from what is thought to be the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Vertus, and one of the very last 100% Pinot vineyards. As with all Larmandier's wines it's naturally fermented. Larmandier raises part of this cuvée in a Nomblot concrete egg and partly in stainless steel (and more recently he has been trialing amphora as well). It's one of Champagne's WOW wines - a wine repeatedly compared to a Chambolle-Musigny, a wine that can stop drinkers in their tracks. - 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
|Product Type||Wine Sparkling Champagne|
|Winemaking Practices||Minimal Intervention|