I remember when grower Champagnes first started arriving in Australia. Rob Walters held a tasting at the Bayswater Brasserie in Sydney, many moons ago showcasing the wines of Larmandier Bernier & Egly-Ouriet….pitting them against some of the wines from the big houses….Pol Roger, Bollinger, etc. The results were eye-opening….the wines from the big guys looked volatile & aldehydic when tasted against the purity and verve of the grower offerings…..a brave move but one that created to few converts to those producers that have the wee RM or Récoltant-Manipulant on their labels.
Pierre Larmandier and wife Sophie run around 15 hectares of vines with an average age of 35 years on various terroirs in the Côte des Blancs….Vertus, a premier cru village, Cramant, Chouilly, Oger and Avize, all grand cru villages. Farmed biodynamically, harvested by hand, low yields (for the region), low dosage and wild ferments set the stage for wines that are pure expressions of the terroirs from which they spring.
The Rosé De Saignée fruit….100% Pinot Noir from Vertus is destemmed and left to macerate on skins for around two days before the saignée, or bleeding of the juice occurs. Fermentation then kicks off naturally in enamel-lined steel vats, followed by the malolactic fermentation and aging on lees over the winter. After a time aging in the cellars the wine is disgorged and the dosage sit’s at around 3 grams.
Lot’s of colour for a rosé with a vivid, bright pink hue in the glass. Aromatically the wine has a lot in common with Burgundy with perfumed red-fruits….redcurrant, raspberry and cherry predominately with hints of soft spice, flowers, dough and biscuity crust aspects. Quite a vinous-smelling wine compared to the majority of rosés on the market.
The palate is focussed and driven with bright redcurrant and red cherry fruits, biscuit, minerals and spice….again there is a strong vinous element on the palate with a slight herbal edge….probably a rosé more suited to consumption with food than other activities….like drinking Champagne just for the sake of it for example! Not so much a wine that relies on autolysis characters for complexity…it’s more driven by purity of fruit and structure with a laser-like line of minerally acidity and just a dab of extraction.
That’s not to say it’s lacking in detail….there’s more detail here than a Nudie Cohn suit…it’s seductive, rich and a joy to drink.