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Wine Advocate Score: 96 Open Wine Advocate Score: rating modal
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The hamlet of Vertus, situated at the southern end of the Côtes des Blancs, boasts the most extensive vineyard plantings of all the grands or premier cru villages. The town is also famed for being the headquarters of Larmandier-Brenier one of Champagne's most esteemed grower-producers. Proprietor Pierre Larmandier has been affectionately nicknamed 'le moine de Vertus' (The Monk of Vertus) because of his quiet monk-like demeanor and his unwavering zeal to create Champagnes of great purity with an expressive sense of place. Having used biodynamic methods for more than 20 years, Larmandier harvests his fruit with an usually high degree of ripeness. He ferments with indigenous yeasts employing a quiver of vessels: stainless steel tanks, barriques, oak foudres and, in the case of his Rosé Saignée, 600-liter concrete eggs. While most producers rack and filter their vins clairs, Pierre prefers to age his for an extended period (eight to twelve months) on their natural sediments. These and a myriad of other quality measures are used to showcase some of the Côte des Blancs' best terroirs resulting in some of the region's most transparent and transcendent Champagnes. Proving the adage: "All good things come to those who wait," we have finally received our long delayed Larmandier-Bernier shipment containing three of Pierre's finest bottlings.

This is Pierre's latest single -terroir wine and it is derived from two tiny adjacent plots in Avize. It is from the particular soil here - very poor, with a protruding chalk outcropping - that the 50-year-old vines derive delicate floral characteristics and a unique minerality.

WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Revisited from the October 2019 disgorgement, Larmandier-Bernier's 2013 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Les Chemins d'Avize continues to show brilliantly, offering up complex aromas of argan oil, fresh apricot and crisp yellow orchard fruit, complemented by hints of fresh walnuts and almond paste. Full-bodied, deep and vinous, it's layered and elegantly fleshy, with a concentrated core of ripe fruit, racy acids and a long, mineral finish. As I wrote last year, Pierre Larmandier invariably excels in cool, late-growing seasons, so the 2013 vintage was perfectly adapted to his talents." - William Kelly

William Kelly Background Notes - "Larmandier-Bernier numbers among the Côte de Blanc's—and Champagne's—finest estates. Based in Vertus, the Larmandier family farm organically and harvest late, vinifying the resulting wines in wood. The result is vinous, elegantly muscular Champagnes that are concentrated but precise. In a region that still produces far too many meager, brittle wines, Larmander-Bernier reminds us of the plenitude and texture of which great Champagne is capable."
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