Champage: Larmandier-Bernier

December 5, 2009

Champagne by Larmandier-Bernier

We were so lucky. When Timo visited us a couple of weeks ago, he brought with him a bottle of ‘Blanc de Blancs, Premier Cru, Extra-Brut’ by Larmandier-Bernier, Champage/France. We do not drink much champagne these days, just too expensive in Thailand. I was more than happy to fetch the champagne glasses when Timo produced the bottle from his luggage. I admit that I had never heard about this producer but since I do not know much about champagne that did not bother me.

Timo Meyer pouring the champagne

But this drop deserves a special mention. It was the perfect wine to celebrate a reunion. Larmandier-Bernier is a small champagne house. Pierre and Sophie Larmandier’s basic philosophy is to make a natural wine starting in the vineyard right through to wine-making. They go for small yields, old vines, and hand picking. They practice biodynamic viticulture. The motto is balance in diversity.

The ‘Blanc de Blancs’ is mainly made of the 2006 Chardonnay vintage with reserve wines from 2004 and 2005 of about 40%. It is an elegant champagne, mineral, floral notes can be detected, a sparkling wine with a beautiful finish.

Champagne producers are hard hit by the decline in demand partly caused by the impact of the global financial crisis. In the USA sales of champagne shrank by about 43% in 2009. In Britain and France the decline was lower, 33% and 7% respectively. In contrast lower-price sparkling from other sources, mostly cheaper wines from Italy and Spain are up this year. I just hope that especially the small champagne houses can weather this crisis. It would be a shame to lose them.