Grower Champagne Club – October 2018

Champagne Lallier, Grand Cru Millésime, 2008, $69
Champagne Lallier was founded in 1906 by René Lallier in the Grand Cru village of Äy, in the Côte des Blancs. René’s grandson, René-James Lallier headed the estate until his retirement in 2004, when he sold the property to Francis Tribaut who continues to carry forward the family legacy. You might notice that Lallier has an NM designation (or “negociant manipulant”), indicating that they are technically not a grower. But, like the occasional other NMs that we bring in, they are “growers in spirit,” using predominantly their own fruit, and purchasing a small amount of additional fruit from trusted growers with whom they have worked closely for many years. You might also notice that we put the same vintage of this wine in the club last year. But vintage Champagnes are very complex and evolving, and because this one has had an additional year to develop, it’s not entirely a “repeat” (and we’re sure you don’t mind a second bottle of this gorgeous wine). Not to mention, 2008 was one of the top vintages of the decade, according to importer Terry Thiese.

Lallier ferments their wines using their own natural yeasts which they have developed from the best parcels of their Chardonnay grapes. This Champagne is 55% Pinot Noir from Äy and 45% Chardonnay from Avize and Cramant in the Côte des Blancs, aged on the lees over 60 months in Lallier’s cellars before disgorgement. It is rich and mouth-filling, balanced by fresh notes of citrus and white fruits. Having gone through partial malolactic fermentation, it has lovely depth, creamy texture, and elegant aromas of brioche and nuts. It is perfect now, or you could let it age a bit more, through 2022, to develop even further. It would pair well with fish or scallops “à la plancha,” or with creamy mushroom or poultry dishes.