Log in for prices and ordering

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier

Outstanding Earth-to-Glass Grower Champagne from a Biodynamic Tour de Force

Pierre Larmandier told us a funny story recently. He had received a call from the owner of a one-star restaurant in Epernay with a request to pour Larmandier-Bernier by the glass. Pierre was curious—this restaurant had hardly been an ambassador for the wines of the best growers. Why the sudden call? “Well,” the owner explained, “I have a young sommelier who has just returned from Australia and now he insists that we pour Larmandier-Bernier!” Who would have thought that the Australian wine scene would one day be awakening the restaurants of Champagne to the glories of great grower wines? But there you go.

Larmandier-Bernier is a foundational grower on several levels. Of course, Larmandier-Bernier was one of the pioneers in organics/biodynamics and what many today call the grower revolution in Champagne. Yet, it has also been a foundational grower Estate in the Australian trade—it was likely the first, great grower producer that many of us tasted back in the day. Larmandier-Bernier, along with Egly-Ouriet, helped shape the Champagne market we now enjoy, by winning listings and pours at many benchmark restaurants. All this at a time (almost fifteen years ago now) when pouring Champagne without a famous brand name was simply not done. Larmandier-Bernier helped change all that. And they continue to help shape the market today—even in Épernay.

Such purity and minerality could only come from the man that Laurent d'Harcourt, MD of Pol Roger, has dubbed “The Ayatollah of quality” (he clearly knows the man well) and his impeccably tended vineyards.

This Estate is meticulously run by Pierre Larmandier and his wife Sophie. Pierre’s family has owned vineyards in the Côte des Blancs since the Revolution, and Pierre took over the vines from his mother in 1988. He stopped using herbicide in 1992, then went organic, and today the Estate is also farmed biodynamically—extremely rare in Champagne where only 2% of the vineyard surface is certified organic. The Estate is now 18 hectares, predominantly in Vertus, at the Southern tip of the Côte des Blancs, yet there are also holdings in Cramant, Chouilly, Oger & Avize. There is a predominance of old vine parcels—50, 60, and even 70 years old—again, something that remains very rare in Champagne. This naturally keeps the yields very low by Champagne standards, at 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 and aging vessels is used including large oak vats and, more recently, some amphorae. Very low dosage levels are 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 vinous, yet with a mineral intensity that keeps you coming back to the glass, sip after sip. Peter Liem has written in ‘Champagne’ [Ten Speed Press], “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.” 

Like other benchmark growers, this is a producer that keeps evolving and reaching greater heights. The wines still have the energy and intense minerality they have always offered, and now there is even more depth, layers and complexity. In part, this is due to an increase in the lees aging cycle, which the Larmandiers now deem essential to the expression of their wines. For some time, Pierre and Sophie Larmandier have also indicated their wish to age their Champagnes for even longer before release, and the new, underground maturation cellar now grants them this opportunity.

Region

Champagne, France

Wine Maker

Pierre Larmandier

What They Are Saying

“The Larmandier-Bernier Champagnes are some of the purest and most utterly engaging wines being made in the region today. I can’t recommend them highly enough.” Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate

“Few growers’ ranges in Champagne are as consistently outstanding as that of Larmandier-Bernier” Andrew Jefford, The New France

“In a region where vineyard work is not always given the priority it deserves, Larmandier-Bernier is a model of what can be achieved through conscientious and diligent care in the vines.” Peter Liem

“Pierre and Sophie Larmandier craft dramatic, vinous wines of real personality and class. Sustainable farming practices, indigenous fermentations and aging in cask are some of the cornerstones of an approach that yields distinctly potent, textured wines full of character.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier

Sort By

Sort

Filter By

Filter By

Sort By

Sort