Jean Lallement & Fils, Verzenay Grand Cru, Brut Réserve, $65
Lallement is based in the village of Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims. They are extremely small, with just four hectares of vineyards, mostly in Verzenay and Verzy (both Grand Cru), along with smaller holdings in Ludes (Premier Cru).
They produce only about 1,700 cases a year and just four wines. But importer Terry Theise has always said that Lallement’s Champagnes were his subjective favorites, not just among those he’s worked with, but among all Champagnes. Skurnik, their current importer, describes their Champagnes as “original, complex, distinctive, and yummy.” This Brut Réserve is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from vines averaging over 35 years in age, sourced from Verzenay and Verzy. Like all Lallement wines, it goes through malolactic fermentation, adding lovely richness and depth to the pure, refined flavors of orchard fruit and toasty nuts. It is a complex, textured, and elegant Champagne with balancing, food-friendly freshness. Enjoy it on its own or with appetizers or seafood (think lobster, crab, or oysters).