Log in for prices and ordering

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.

Currently Available

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Longitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 20 Disg. Nov 2022)

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Longitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 20 Disg. Nov 2022)

Disgorged November 2022. Like this grower’s Latitude, this is 100% Côte des Blancs Chardonnay (the vineyards are in Cramant, Avize, Oger and Vertus), yet the vineyards have thinner topsoils and so the vine roots plunge straight into the chalky bedrock. The name here refers to the vertical nature of the geographic locations of the vineyards as well as the style of wine resulting from the chalky soils of these sites, i.e. a more linear, mineral wine. While Larmandier’s Latitude is expansive across the palate, the Longitude is all about minerality, line and raciness. William Kelley has called this wine “one of the finest non-vintage bottlings to be found in Champagne”, and the high ratio of reserve wines (40% from their ‘perpetual’ reserve started in 2004) should leave you with little doubt as to the quality on offer.

“The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Longitude 1er Cru is a blend taken from parcels in Vertus, Avize, Cramant and Oger that lie on the same longitudinal axis. Crushed rocks, jasmine, mint, white pepper and lemon peel race out of the glass. This taut, beautifully sculpted yet airy Champagne from Larmandier-Bernier is a winner.”
94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Longitude 1er Cru is a powerful, ample wine. The Longitude builds beautifully in the glass, creamy and textured, with tons of resonance. Pear, white pepper, dried flowers, mint and chalk are all delineated in a Champagne that blends power and tension. This is all class.” 94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Longitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 20 Disg. Nov 2022)
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 20. Disg. Feb 2023)

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 20. Disg. Feb 2023)

Disgorged February 2023. 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 the wines from these sites (having more clay in the soil) tend to offer.In the cellar, Larmandier uses mostly large-format casks (almost all the wood now comes from Stockinger in Austria). Fermentation and malolactic conversion take place naturally, and there is no filtration. Bottles are matured for more than two years, are manually disgorged and dosed at low, extra-brut levels (in this case, 4 g/L) at least six months before release.Pure and mineral, this offers texture and stone-fruited depth without sacrificing the cut-diamond precision and citrusy, chalky energy that is a given at this address. Extremely versatile at the table, both entry cuvées can work with a wide range of dishes from fish, terrines, any chicken dish (particularly lemon chicken) and most cheeses (except blue or strong washed-rind). This bottling is based on the 2020 vintage, with 40% reserve wine drawn from a ‘perpetual’ reserve started in 2004.

“The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Latitude 1er Cru is bright, punchy and full of mineral-driven intensity. Crushed flowers, lemon peel, sage, mint and crushed rocks build as this potent, intensely saline Champagne opens in the glass. This is impressive. As always, the Latitude is a Champagne built on textural breadth and volume, typical of wines from the southern sector of Vertus.”
94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 20. Disg. Feb 2023)
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 17. Disg. Sept 2021) (1500ml)

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 17. Disg. Sept 2021) (1500ml)

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). The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place naturally, and there is no filtration. Bottles are matured over a period of more than two years, and are disgorged manually, dosed at low, extra-brut levels (in this case, four grams per litre) a minimum of six months before release.

“The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Latitude 1er Cru is a fabulous introduction to the Larmandier-Bernier wines. It offers a compelling mix of Chardonnay brightness with the breadth and natural resonance that comes so easy from the clay-rich soils that are common in the southern edge of Vertus. Dried lemon peel, chamomile, mint, sage and almond nuances flesh out in this beautifully resonant, expansive Blanc de Blancs. This release is based on 2017, with 40% wines from a perpetual reserve that dates back to 2004. Dosage is 4 grams per liter.”
93 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs NV (Base 17. Disg. Sept 2021) (1500ml)
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blancs 2014 (Disg. Sep 2021) (1500ml)

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blancs 2014 (Disg. Sep 2021) (1500ml)

Magnum. Disgorged September 2021. Terre de Vertus is one of three single-terroir Blanc de Blancs produced at this estate, and certainly the most famous. It is from a parcel of vines situated on the chalky mid-slope of Vertus, traversing the 1er Cru lieux dits of Les Barillers and Les Faucherets. These sites produce intensely mineral wines; wines that can recall the best of Le Mesnil (to the north) in their chalky raciness and drive.This was fermented naturally with roughly 60% fermented and aged in neutral barrique and the other 40% in large wooden Stockinger casks. Malolactic fermentation began spontaneously (without inoculation), and the wines were left on their natural lees for nearly a year. After the second fermentation the wine aged on cork for another six years before being disgorged. There is no dosage addition at disgorgement to respect the purity of the terroir. The result is one of the most distinctive and mineral wines of the entire Champagne region, and one of the benchmark wines of the great grower movement. Since the mid 90’s, this wine has always been non-dosé long before it was fashionable. The Larmandiers made the decision because this particular terroir (when farmed in their way: old vines, biodynamics, low yields, etc.) works best without any additions.The 2014 is a superb Terre de Vertus, very classic in style. You can expect a wonderfully fine, savoury dry white that offers complex hints of bosc pear, fresh salt, earth, preserved lemon, and chalk. It’s ultra-fine and pure and although it is terrific now (don’t be scared to decant!), you will be amply rewarded if you can rest it for three to six years on cork. Try it with oysters, terrine, hard cheeses, roast chicken or grilled white fish.

The 2014 is a superb Terre de Vertus, very classic in style. You can expect a wonderfully fine, savoury dry white that offers complex hints of bosc pear, fresh salt, earth, preserved lemon, and chalk. It’s ultra-fine and pure and although it is terrific now (don’t be scared to decant!), you will be amply rewarded if you can rest it for three to six years on cork. Try it with oysters, terrine, hard cheeses, roast chicken or grilled white fish.

“The 2014 Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Terre de Vertus is a fine follow-up to the excellent 2013 and 2012 renditions. Unwinding in the glass with scents of white flowers, citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, fresh pastry and almonds, it's full-bodied, layered and vinous, with more richness and mid-palate amplitude than the tauter 2013, underpinned by racy acids and chalky structuring extract.” 94+ points, William Kelley, The Wine Advocate“The 2014 Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Terre de Vertus is a fine follow-up to the excellent 2013 and 2012 renditions. Unwinding in the glass with scents of white flowers, citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, fresh pastry and almonds, it's full-bodied, layered and vinous, with more richness and mid-palate amplitude than the tauter 2013, underpinned by racy acids and chalky structuring extract.”
94+ points, William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blancs 2014 (Disg. Sep 2021) (1500ml)
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blancs 2016 (Disg. Nov 2022)

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blancs 2016 (Disg. Nov 2022)

Disgorged September 2022. Terre de Vertus is one of three single-terroir Blanc de Blancs produced at this estate, and certainly the most famous. It is from a parcel of vines situated on the chalky mid-slope of Vertus, traversing the 1er Cru lieux-dits of Les Barillers and Les Faucherets. These sites produce intensely mineral wines; wines that recall the best of Le Mesnil (to the north) in their chalky raciness and drive.This fermented naturally with roughly 60% fermented and aged in neutral barrique and the other 40% in large Stockinger casks. Malolactic conversion began spontaneously, and the wines were left on their lees for nearly a year. After the second fermentation the wine aged on cork for another six years before being disgorged. There is no addition of dosage in order to respect the purity of the terroir. The result is one of the most distinctive and mineral wines of the entire Champagne region—and one of the benchmark wines of the great grower movement.Since the mid ‘90s, this wine has always been non-dosé—long before it was fashionable. The Larmandiers made the decision because this particular terroir (when farmed in their way: old vines, biodynamics, low yields, etc) works best without any additions. Still very young and brimming with textural richness and energy, the new release shows a little more flex than the previous vintage. Courtesy of an especially low-yielding year high in dry extract, the palate is buoyed with freshness and the chalky finish is incredibly long and scintillating. Try it with oysters, terrine, hard cheeses, roast chicken or grilled white fish.

Like a broad arrow, burnished, powerful, driving smoke and cracked caramel from beginning to end with tremendous purpose. Roasted oatmeal. So much density it’s almost more of a meal than a drink. Warm, gingery spices. Salt and sour butter and bitter orange peel. A wine that challenges you, broad-chested heart to rib-caged heart. A wine with rhythm, beat, purpose. All-encompassing.
17.5 / 20 points, Tamlyn Currin, jancisrobinson.com
“The 2016 Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Terre de Vertus 1er Cru is fabulous. Comprised of 100%Chardonnay from two mid-slope parcels in Vertus, it is perfumed and exotic, with striking aromatics. This cuvée straddles the line between still and sparkling wine. Lime, mint, white pepper and chalk lend tons of high-toned character. The 2016 is really quite compelling. Bottled with no dosage.”
96 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Terre de Vertus Blanc de Blancs 2016 (Disg. Nov 2022)
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Rosé de Saignée NV (Base 19. Disg. Sep 2021)

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Rosé de Saignée NV (Base 19. Disg. Sep 2021)

Disgorged September 2021. The Rosé de Saignée is drawn mostly from what are thought to be the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Vertus (45 years old), and one of this village’s very last 100% Pinot vineyards. In fact, the vineyard is a co-planted blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris, with both varieties contributing to this wine. The grapes are allowed to macerate for a period before the juice is drawn off, providing the colour and much of the body and flavour for the wine. This saignée technique is now rare in Champagne, primarily as it is a demanding method of vinification and requires grapes with an excellent degree of maturity. Most rosé in Champagne is made by the addition of a little red wine. Vive la différence!As with all Larmandier’s wines it fermented naturally. Part of this cuvée was raised in a Nomblot concrete egg and part in stainless steel, and more recently Larmandier has been also trialling amphorae designed by Mizel Riouspeyrous from Domaine Arretxea.It’s one of Champagne’s wow wines, repeatedly compared to a Chambolle-Musigny. In short, it’s a Champagne that can stop drinkers in their tracks. The 2019 is an exceptional release built on energy and crystalline tension. Although it drinks beautifully on its own, it has the depth to go with smoked or grilled salmon. Yes, do that—you won’t regret it! This bottling was disgorged with a discreet dosage of three grams per litre. It is a superb release that will be even better with a year or two in the cellar.

Note: This review refers to a later disgorgement “The NV (2019) Extra Brut Rosé de Saignée is beautifully cut and chiseled in this release. There's plenty of saignée Pinot intensity, but tons of energy and drive too. Crushed red berry fruit, cinnamon, blood orange, pomegranate and dried flowers flesh out over time, but it is the wine's vibrancy that I find most captivating. The 2019 is 100% Pinot Noir from 45+-year-old vines in Vertus. Dosage is 2 grams per liter. Disgorged: February, 2022.”
94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 1er Cru Rosé de Saignée NV (Base 19. Disg. Sep 2021)
Show All

“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

Country

France

Primary Region

Champagne

People

Winemaker: Pierre Larmandier

Availability

National

While you're here