Laurent Perrier - "Brut" NV

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Laurent Perrier

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€ 29,00

Laurent Perrier - "Brut" NV

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  • Laurent Perrier - "Brut" NV

Laurent-Perrier’s reputation as a tip top grande marque house has been in renaissance some years.  Right now they seem to be on something of a roll.  They have always occupied a slight niche amongst champagne lovers, who see the wines as quietly expressive of a discreet and elegant style with a good deal of finesse.  Perhaps the house is gaining kudos from the perceptible trend amongst champagne nuts for styles with fresher mineral and floral finesse rather than the traditional preference for early strong flavours of fruitiness and biscuit-toasty autolysis.  Not surprisingly, Chardonnay dominates most of the house’s cuvées and there is little Pinot Meunier.  Perhaps Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the UK’s monarchy, knows a thing or two about ‘LP’ as fans call it.  The house has his personal royal warrant since 1998, although his insignia appears only on the Brut NV.

The house was founded in 1812 by a family of barrel makers turned wine merchants based in Tours-sur-Marne, still the house’s quiet base today, the only big house away from Reims or the Epernay hinterland.  In 1871, the heir to the original firm was its chef de cave Eugène Laurent and his marriage in that year to Mathilde-Emilie Perrier created the brand name.  After his death in 1887 she became one of Champagne’s great ‘widows’ and the house was making 600 thousand bottles when war broke out in 1914.  The British market was the biggest customer and the style, in the UK at least, was for a dry champagne.  In London society since 1890 it was famous for its nil dosage bottlings, the British having shifted from the continental and American taste for syrup-sweet champagne drunk with desserts and after a meal, to dry champagnes drunk with main dishes.  After Mathilde’s died in 1925 the house languished and closed down in 1938.  A Lanson, Marie Louise de Nonancourt bought the moribund firm but it was not until after the war that true revival began in 1949.  The rest is history, or it should be said, the history of Bernard de Nonancourt.  This man’s outstanding role in building phoenix LP out of almost nothing to what it is today has only Taittinger for comparison in the annals of families performing Champagne miracles.

Bernard de Nonancourt was a French resistance hero in the ‘maquis’ during World War II.  In 1949 he eventually took charge of a wreck of a champagne house selling only 80 thousand bottles a year.  He managed to mix marriage and sales magic, selling 6000 cases to Caribbean and South American French embassies on his honeymoon alone, doubling the firm’s sales in one go.  He was Mr Dynamo, probably Champagne’s greatest single personal force since the last war.  The house was one of the first to adopt stainless steel fermentation tanks with  temperature control in the 1960s.  In 1960, the firm’s prestige cuvée Grand Siècle was launched, unusually almost always a blend of three years, and in 1968 the Brut Rosé market leader appeared based on the 1964 crop, made saignée and later to become the highest priced and most successful NV rosé.  In 1981 the Ultra Brut NV with nil dosage was launched.  Three major and trend-setting innovations is not a bad record for Bernard de Nonancourt.  But it was all done with galloping success and expansion of the firm and its group.  And with remarkable continuity, with chef de cave Alain Terrier seamlessly replaced by the talented Michel Fauconnet.  By the time of Bernard’s retirement in 2005, the firm had moved from being in 100th place to Champagne’s No4 house.  He died in November 2010.

As mentioned, Chardonnay dominates the grape blends in all the cuvées except the Brut Rosé which is always 100% Pinot Noir.  The LP Brut NV is 50% Chardonay, 35% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier, spends about three years on the second lees and has some 12-14% of reserve wines.  It is the only wine with a Meunier fraction apart from the Demi-Sec.  The Ultra Brut is 55% Chardonnay, the vintage wines about 50% Chardonnay and the Grand Siècle some 55% Chardonnay.  All fermentation and storage of reserve wines is in stainless steel as you would expect from the style, although malolactic is completed throughout to temper the stark elegance and for stability.  The zero dosage Ultra Brut NV’s 1981 pedigree far pre-dated the present hipster trend for this style and might be seen as some kind of homage to the house’s famous ‘Grand Vin Sans Sucre’ sold in London from 1889.  It is made from selected riper fruit and now shows a perceptible fuller style where once it differed only from the LP Brut NV by its lack of dosage.

The Brut Rosé NV, unusual as both a saignée style (although occasionally with the addition of red still wine in poorer years) and a blanc de noirs, 100% Pinot Noir, has been a roaring success, established long before the rosé boom and has effortlessly priced itself above almost all NV rosé.  The squat ‘baby’ bottle made it distinctive and its frank fruitiness and hefty dosage (at one time some 15g/L) earnt it the reputation of a ‘girl’s best present’.  I’ve always felt this slightly unfair, even though when on a visit to LP HQ, its frank colour was described to me as ‘comme les cuisses d’une nymphe émue.’  The dosage has been reduced recently to about 12g/L, it has four years on the second lees and there is a dried peel and aromatic complexity that make it stand above average pink fizz.  Millions of men trying to impress certainly think so.  They might impress the discerning recipient even more if they went for the lesser known but prestige Cuvée Alexandra Rosé (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonay), always a vintage wine and made by LP to celebrate Bernard de Nonancourt’s daughter Alexandra’s wedding in 1987.  The first vintage was 1982 and the wine is generally aged six years on the second lees.

Producent Laurent Perrier
Jaar NV
Appellation Champagne
Climat Nee
Flesgrootte 0,75 L
Aantal flessen 1
Conditie Nee
Waardering Nee