From: Champagne, France
Blend: 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir
Taste: On the nose, this elegant champagne exudes an enticingly floral bouquet, along with white fruit and punctuated by the distinct chalkiness inherent to the terroir of Vertus. This champagne holds a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir, and offers a round, fuller texture than expected from a zero dosage. The initial impression of subtle white fruit gradually gives way to a profound minerality and toasted notes that takes center stage, echoing the chalky characteristic first introduced on the nose. Despite its undeniably dry nature, it avoids being starkly bone-dry, maintaining an intriguing interplay between supple fruit and intense stoniness.
Pairing: NV Champagne Guy Larmandier Vertus Premier Cru Brut Zero is the quintessential aperitif. Its refined character doesn't overpower, instead rejuvenating the palate. Perfect companions include seafood tapas, fish terrine, and a platter adorned with oysters and other seafood delights (see below for recipe). The sharpness pairs beautifully with slices of Parmesan or dry goat's cheese.
Tuna Ceviche or Tartare with Avocado by Martha Rose Shulman
About. Champagne enthusiasts worldwide revel in the resurgence of the Champagne Grower, which many see as a fresh trend. But the connoisseurs have long admired the efforts of the likes of Guy Larmandier. Guy Larmandier has been a cornerstone in the community of wine lovers for decades, as Neal Rosenthal, who has been importing Larmandier's Champagnes since 1982, would attest—despite not being a social media sensation, this small community, primarily based in New York, harbored an unrelenting admiration for the quietly exquisite wines.
Vineyards and Legacy
Before his death, Guy Larmandier, much like his brother Philippe, the founder of Larmandier-Bernier, cultivated vineyards in the Chardonnay-rich villages of the Côte des Blancs, including the renowned Grand Cru of Cramant. The domain, now led by Guy's widow, Colette, and their children François and Marie-Hélène, spans nine hectares – equivalent to a small Burgundy estate.
Guy Larmandier's vineyards in grand-cru-rated Chouilly and Cramant and the 1er-cru Vertus and Cuis are treasured for their finesse and minerality, a tribute to the diligently nurtured Chardonnay. The Domaine, nestled in the village of Vertus at the southern end of the Côte des Blancs, produces around 90,000 bottles annually.
The Exquisite Brut Zero
The NV Champagne Guy Larmandier Vertus Premier Cru Brut Zero is a sheer masterpiece among the wines produced. Comprising 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir, it undergoes aging for three years on the lees before disgorgement. The light touch with dosage has been a signature of the Larmandier estate. Nonetheless, the changing climate yielding riper grapes led to the introduction of zero-dosage cuvées at the suggestion of Neal Rosenthal. This decision wasn't a fashionable whim but an essential adaptation to uphold the wine's equilibrium and genuine expression of terroir.
With a distinct floral and chalky nose, the Brut Zero boasts a chiseled profile reminiscent of the Cramant. However, it graciously avoids an overtly bone-dry palate, revealing the generous character of Vertus in a rounder texture. The wine dances between supple fruit and an intense stony disposition.
The NV Champagne Guy Larmandier Vertus Premier Cru Brut Zero is an unadulterated pleasure for those pursuing authentic dry Champagne. It is sleek, crisp, and invigorating with zero residual sugar, tenderly enveloping the palate with subtle white fruit and an intensely chalky character.
This Champagne doesn't sacrifice richness for the sake of purity. It's a harmonious concoction that offers a transparent, unobstructed glimpse into the essence of Vertus. The terroir of Vertus is characterized by its contrast – the northern region bearing calcareous soils renders the wines with a saline edge. The south's denser topsoil yields a riper yet mineral-rich quality. This duality renders Chardonnay wines from Vertus particularly delectable.
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