Larmandier-Bernier Vieille Vigne Du Levant Grand Cru Champagne 2010
Critic Score: 94 Points
Critic: Antonio Galloni
Drink From: 2020
Drink To: 2028
(Disg. Jun 2019)
Disgorged in June 2019 after some eight years on lees. This Blanc de Blancs was historically labelled as Vieille Vigne de Cramant. Nothing else has changed save for the name, which is now inspired by the vineyard where the majority of grapes are sourced, Bourron du Levant. The vines here were planted in 1960 and the balance comes from a 0.5-hectare holding in the neighbouring terroir of Le Fond du Bâteau (75-year-old vines). Both plots are located in the heart of Cramant's southeast-facing slope, on the flanks of the Butte de Saran. Basking in the first rays of the morning sun, these vineyards give wonderfully ripe and layered wines. The deep root system of the old vines combine with the terroir to bring a wine of glowing density and opulence. It offers a fascinating, concentrated and stone-fruited contrast to the other Larmandier cuvées (not to mention other producers' wines from Cramant's west-facing hill). Quoted in Peter Liem's ChampagneGuide.net, Pierre Larmandier notes, "[it's] the same minerality, but Cramant has more power and more body. In Vertus, the minerality is a little more naked." The winemaking across each of Larmandier's single terroir wines is similar--natural fermentation and malo, 12 months in large Stockinger barrels and no fining or filtration. This cuvée, however, spends at least five years in bottle on lees (seven-plus years for the 2010), and this release was disgorged with only two grams dosage.
"The 2010 Extra Brut Vielle Vigne de Levant Grand Cru is a gorgeous wine for drinking now and over the next handful of years. Aging on the cork for nearly eight years yields a Champagne with real nuance and complexity. Apricot, honey, dried herbs and wild flowers all grace this super-expressive Champagne. Light tropical overtones suggest the 2010 is more of a medium-term drinker rather than a long-distance runner. The 2010 is in a beautiful spot right now to deliver maximum drinking pleasure. I would not push my luck on aging though. Pierre and Sophie Larmandier craft the Levant from 50-70-year-old vines in Cramant. The 2010 was fermented 60% in neutral barrique and 40% in foudre, and then aged on the cork. Dosage: 2 gr/L." 94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
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