Larmandier-Bernier, grower champagne

Grower champagnes pose a problem: they lack the flash. What they don’t lack is cash. So, why spend the same on an unheard of producer when you could buy one of the grandes marques? In a word: taste. In two words: wine geekdom.

I tasted through a half-dozen grower champagnes recently and really liked the ones from Larmandier-Bernier. The Blanc de Blanc Brut 1er Cru NV (find this wine, about $38) is very lively with a straw color, a fine bead, pleasant acidity reminscent of green apples, and lovely balance.

The Terre de Vertus bottling is slightly more and has the rare distinction among champagnes to be bottled without a dosage, the topping up that is done to most champagnes before the cork is placed in and they are moved out the cellar door. It has excellent purity and is crisp, dry and food friendly. It’s slightly more expensive so I’d opt for the other bottling.

Thanks to Sam at Becks and Posh for suggesting this theme for WBW!

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6 Responses to “Larmandier-Bernier, grower champagne”

  1. I know this champagne quite well, and would also suggest that offered by Guy Larmandier, the in-law of Larmandier-Bernier. I spent a week with Guy and another terrific small champange producer this summer — his name is Bruno Maillard, and his champagne is, unfortunately, unavailable outside of France (and barely available outside of Champagne).

    Larmandier is quite similar to Larmandier-Bernier, though I would describe it as more elegant with an even finer bead. Interestingly, Guy’s daughter-in-law told us that Larmandier exported to the US gets a dosage “plus sec” than that sold in France. Interesting…

  2. First of all, great post. I’m on the lookout for Larmandier-Bernier, Larmandier, and now Bruno Maillard. Seems that most of the Larmandier-Bernier is shipped to NYC and not the SF Bay Area, so I’ll have to do some deep scouring.

    I had the tete du cuvée from Tarlant for my WBW and it was really excellent:


  3. Anonymous, did you mean Bruno Paillard? I have seen his champagnes here in NYC.

    Thanks CD! I’ll look out for the Tarlant!


  4. Here are some pictures of the grower and his vineyards:

  5. thanks for the entry, in paricular for noting the non dosage distinction. The round up will be published shortly.


  6. Sorry so long in getting back. No, I meant Bruno Maillard, not Paillard — whose champagnes can be found in a number of places. Mssr. Maillard is the God-son of Madame Larmandier. The Larmandier is certainly superior champagne, but the Bruno Maillard is a great change. Now, if it could only be found in the US.

    Also, as the the availability of the Larmandier in the US. According to Madame Larmandier, their champagne is distributed only in NY and at one store in suburban Chicago (in Melrose Park, if I remember right). I had Larmandier at my wedding in Portland, OR several years ago, but that took a helluva lot of wheeling and dealing.


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