Champagne Lallier, Grand Cru Millésime, 2010, $77
Champagne Lallier was founded in 1906 by René Lallier in the Grand Cru village of Aÿ, in the Marne Valley. His grandson took over in 1996 and headed the estate until his retirement in 2004, when he sold the property to Francis Tribaut, his longtime consulting oenologist, 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 other NMs that we occasionally bring in, they are “growers in spirit,” using predominantly their own fruit, while also purchasing a small amount of additional fruit from trusted growers with whom they have worked closely for many years.
Lallier has always been known for fermenting their wines using their own natural yeasts which they developed from the grapes in their best parcels of Chardonnay and Tribaut continues this tradition in his winemaking. The 2010 Grand Cru is 55% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and Verzenay, and 45% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, aged on the lees over 60 months before disgorgement. The wine received 7 grams per liter dosage and underwent partial malolactic fermentation. Tribaut says this wine is an excellent reflection of the 2010 vintage. The freshness of the Chardonnay is perfectly balanced by the body and texture of the Pinot Noir. And now, with a decade of age, it has developed beautiful complexity and depth, with matured notes of white fruit, brioche, and nuts, and a lovely, mouth-filling creaminess. Very elegant and refined, it is drinking beautifully now. The winery suggests pairing it with fish or scallops “à la plancha,” or with creamy mushroom or poultry dishes.