Grower Champagne Club – August 2011

Guy Larmandier, Cramant Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs
If you’re thinking all this grower Champagne stuff is getting a little too simple and straightforward, here’s something to wrap your head around: The Champagne house of Larmandier Pere et Fils was established in 1899. Françoise Larmandier and her husband Michel Gimonnet had a son, Didier, who now runs Champagne Pierre-Gimonnet. Françoise also had two brothers: Philippe, who founded Larmandier-Bernier, and Guy, who started the Guy Larmandier label. All fine houses, and all familiar faces on our shelves. This month we are focusing on Champagne Guy Larmandier,

Today Guy Larmandier’s son, François, oversees the family estate alongside his parents. It is based in Vertus, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, with vineyard holdings in the grand cru villages of Cramant and Chouilly, and in the 1er cru villages of Vertus and Cuis. The chalky slopes of the Côte des Blancs are planted almost entirely to Chardonnay, which is the base for this blanc de blancs from Cramant (the name actually means “chalk mount.”). Guy Larmandier traditionally produces four cuvées, all of which are known for their lightness, finesse, and elegance. He uses little to no dosage and as a result, all of his Champagnes are exceptionally dry and delicate. His Cramant Grand Cru is blended from select sites within the village, and aged for three years on the lees. This one is clean and bright, with hints of toast and white fruits, and just a touch of richness. It is $61 and beautiful on its own, of course, or perfect with sushi or light seafood dishes.
(By the way, François’ sister Marie-Hélène, married Vincent Waris, and they are now proprietors of Champagne Waris-Larmandier. The beat goes on!)