Visiting Champagne…. Laurent Perrier

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I have to confess that Laurent Perrier took my by something of a suprise. This was after all a Champagne that I thought I knew pretty well. It was served at both my sister and my weddings, my parents had often used it for birthday celebrations through the years and I had often included it in one of the Champagne tastings I have hosted over time. I almost always use Grand Siecle as one of my top end Champagne’s to use at a tasting for the very simple reason that it’s absolutely  ready to go and accessibly for consumers from the word go. I had a poor feeling about the Vintage though – my only previous experience of the Champagne had been what I now think of as a faulty bottle with boiled cabbage aromas all over the place – almost certainly methional – a reductive issue.

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Yet it was one of the most eye opening visits of my trip, not because I learned masses about Champagne (there is only so much you can learn on a brief visit and tour around a house – and a lot of what you see is  the same – the best visits are those that show you why a producer is different or let you into the inner soul of the wine), but because it really changed my opinion of the Champagne. I used to think of it as being good quality but ultimately a little dull but perhaps because my tasting ability has improved, or perhaps because tasting a fair bit of low dosage Champagne the day before heightened my senses but I found depth and quality where previously I had overlooked it. It is very easy when wines are primarily about elegance and finesse to overlook them in favour of wines with more power and structure but to do so misses out on the joys that these ‘finer’ wines can bring.

Laurent Perrier are situated in the pretty village of Tours sur Marne and in addition to Laurent Perrier the family owned group also includes Salon, Delamotte, De Castellane, Lemoine and Chateau Malakoff (who produce Oudinot Champagne).

Laurent Perrier Ulta Brut NV

55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir based on 2007 vintage

Quite concentrated and definitely with some maturity. Lovely toasty, nutty aromas very mineral, delicate and focussed. Tight, delicate but long in the mouth with a fine foamy mousse. 91 Points

Laurent Perrier Brut NV

Borderline faulty bottle, so this tasting note is from another bottle. Fresh fragrant and elegant. Lovely brioche notes quite fine, mineral and a little sappy. Long in the mouth with floral and citrus fruit notes.  90 Points.

Vintage 2004

Tasted a few weeks later (we had a bottle over lunch rather than during the tasting). Concentrated, mineral and complex, lots of bright fruit. Really really elegant style but moreish too. Lots going on. Pure and precise on the long finish. 91 Points

Grand Siecle

This bottling was based on 2002, 1999 and 1997 vintages.

Very perfumed, lovely soft foamy mousse. Concentrated, elegant but very intense and fine. Exceptional length this is really beautifully crafted. Citrus and mineral, brioche and toast really really lovely Champagne. Incredibly appealing. 94 points.

Brut Rose’ NV

Made by Saignee method rather than the addition of red wine, this means the juice is left on the skins for a brief period and then is racked off them.

Slightly rusty sort of colour, more onion skin that bright pink. Bright fresh fruity style. Elegant and tight with lovely aromatic fruit. Made with 100% Grand Cru Pinot Noir. This is not only pretty good, it’s much better than I remember it. 91 Points.

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