Grower Champagne Club – October 2017

Champagne Lallier, Grand Cru, Millésime 2008, $56
We were recently visited by Marion Movelles from Champagne Lallier, who brought with her several of her wines for us to try. She was delightful to meet and full of information about her Champagnes, which were very impressive indeed. René Lallier founded the domain in 1906 in the Grand Cru village of Äy, in the Côte des Blancs. Today the wines are made by Francis Tribaut who is ably carrying forward the legacy of the property. A few things to note about Lallier: First, they have an NM designation (or negociant manipulant), so they are technically not a grower. But like the other NMs that we bring in, they are “growers in spirit,” using their own fruit for the most part, and purchasing a small amount of additional fruit from trusted growers with whom they have worked closely for many years. They are also noteworthy in that they use only their own natural yeasts, which they have developed from the best parcels of their Chardonnay grapes.

This vintage Champagne is 55% Pinot Noir from Äy and 45% Chardonnay from Avize and Cramant in the Côte des Blancs. It was aged on its lees over 60 months in their cellars before disgorgement. (Another interesting note—Lallier conveniently puts all of these details on their back labels, including disgorgement date, dosage, and exact blend). The Millésime 2008, which is proving to be a fantastic vintage despite worrisome weather along the way, is rich and mouth-filling, balanced by excellent acidity and purity of fruit. Having gone through partial malolactic fermentation, it has lovely depth, creamy texture, and elegant aromas of brioche and nuts. It is perfect now, while it is relatively youthful and fresh, and would pair well with scallops, charcuterie, tapas, or mushroom dishes. Or you could let it age a bit, through 2022, to develop even further depth and complexity.