Sophie Larmandier talking to us about soil
Reserve wines in cask
The vineyards of Vertus
"Few growers' ranges in Champagne are as consistently outstanding as that of Larmandier-Bernier" says Andrew Jefford in his book The New France. This Champagne is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir and a blend of vintages with reserve wines added. The dosage (addition of sugar at disgorgement) is a discreet 5g/l in order to let the 'terroir' shine through.
It has lovely finesse and balance, a gorgeous creamy mousse with a lingering toasty finish.
This top quality Champagne is from Larmandier-Bernier. Pierre and Sophie Larmandier have about 15 hectares on the Côte des Blancs around the 1er Cru village of Vertus and the Grand Cru villages of Cramant, Chouilly, Oger and Avize. They only use grapes from their own estate in order to be totally confident of the farming practices and quality.
They have been farming biodynamically for around 15 years and, very unusually for Champagne, they use the natural yeasts from the bloom of the grapes for the first fermentation rather than introducing commercial yeasts. The oenologists advised against it because of the risk of stuck fermentations, but they have had great success and the wine has far greater typicity as a result.
What strikes us about their Champagnes is the purity and finesse. This also comes from keeping yields low compared to their neighbours.
Their website is packed with information and shows just how much they care about the soil and the quality of their wines: www.larmandier.com.