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The true elegance of Grand Siècle – no23 to no26

Richard Juhlin

Richard Juhlin

Every bottle tells a story. What’s Yours? One of the true legends of Champagne is Grand Siècle from from Champagne Laurent-Perrier in Tours-sûr-Marne. [read the full champagne story]  

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Laurent-Perrier

★★★★ 

Laurent-Perrier is the biggest success story in Champagne since World War II. The family firm was on the verge of going under in the early 1950s, but is now among the largest and most respected companies in all of Champagne. The house was founded by Monsieur Laurent, a cooper from Chigny-les-Roses. His son married Mathilde Perrier, a stubbornly ambitious woman who really established the house. World War I strained to the limit the house’s chances of survival, as several of the appointed heirs were killed. Marie-Louise de Nonancourt bought the firm just as World War II broke out, and her son, whom she had groomed to run the company, was killed in that war. Her other son, the legend Bernard, survived despite playing a leading role in the Resistance, and later returned home to take over the business in an outstanding way.

Today, Laurent-Perrier is part of a holding company that controls several other famous wine-producers in France, including the Champagne houses Salon, Delamotte, Lemoine, and De Castellane. Laurent-Perrier themselves own 150 ha of vineyards with two environmental certificates in feb’18.but have contracts with growers covering around 800 hectares. The chef de cave Michel Fauconnet is known for his clinically clean cuvées, where oxidation is avoided at all costs. L-P is widely praised for their fruity and elegant cuvées. The nonvintage, rosé, Ultra Brut and the vintage wine are all faithful old servants.

The house’s real trump card is Grand Siècle both as white and as Alexandra Rosé – two wines that beautifully carpets even the most fastidious palate. Two wonderfully complex, world-class Champagnes.

Richard Juhlin

‘The best example of this work is Grand Siècle, our emblematic cuvée. Because what we do to obtain it, is to make a rigorous selection among the parcels within 11 Grands Crus.

Every parcel has its own identity that we want to capture and preserve before using it into the final blend.’ 

LUCIE PEREYRE
CHAMPAGNE LAURENT-PERRIER

Laurent-Perrier ‘Grand Siècle Itération’ n°26

42pn 58ch

65% 2012 – 25% 2008 – 10% 2007

‘A wonderful and extremely subtle youthful masterpiece to wait a really long time for. Therefore, it feels a little unexpected that one of my most reliable and skilled journalist colleagues has named Iteration no 26 the world’s best wine this year with a perfect 100 points. He doesn’t mean now, does he? Or? Reading that note makes me even more convinced that I’m doing something absolutely right, and strangely unique, that awards two different points. A note for the wine’s current quality at the time of tasting and one for its highest level when one day it is at its zenith.

Because it really was, that wonderfully harmonious calm Thursday morning in November that the entire team of winemakers and managers at Laurent-Perrier agreed with me and Ulf Nilsson that we absolutely preferred all three magnum bottles of Iteration no 24, 23 and 20 at the moment which stood next to the 26th when these noble drinks require storage!

Most impressive is the wine’s silky seamless texture and perfect pearl necklace mousse. The florals are enormously beautiful with intense perfume from Capri’s and Sorrento’s lemon trees, acacia, lilies of the valley and the first newly sprouted wild honeysuckle on Marstrand. In these floral kingdom’s most beautiful and most complex perfumes, green citrus, Tahitian vanilla and honey are the main ingredients and these aromas are also evident on their own after half an hour in the glass and a few spritzes of fresh chilled wine. The freshly laundered sheets are also included in the profile. However, the bready side and the roasted, yes almost grilled aromas we were so clearly met with from the magnum bottles are absent at the moment. Sublime, dense and ultra-stylish.’

Drink after 2027-2040.

94(97)p


Laurent-Perrier ‘Grand Siècle Itération’ n°25

65% 2008 – 25% 2007 – 10% 2006

45pn 55ch

‘2008 is the base in this 25th version of the Grand Siècle and makes up as much as 65% of the whole, which on paper could be a problem as 2008 is such a dominant year with its intensity and high uncontrollable acidity. Those fears flew all the way around the world when I met the wine at the age of 14 as a newly launched.

The harmony is exquisite and all the parameters that make the Grand Siècle a unique and magnificent prestige champagne are in place. Youthful purity, the freshly washed sheets, gunpowder smoke and flint mineral, slight hint of Madagascar vanilla and crème brûlée, lemon, jozo and Granny Smith in an unmistakable cuvée where youthful fruit and acidity harmonize perfectly with the creamy aromas and texture of the reserve wines even though they are in such a minority this time. Incredibly smooth, fresh, sublimely elegant and dreamy with a never-ending reverberation in harmony with the touch.

2007 accounts for 25% and fruity round 2006 only for 10% of the ingenious mix Michel achieved here. Feel free to store for a long time, but also drink now to imprint the memory of the different phases of the composition. A lovely wine for the sensualist.’

95(96)p


Laurent-Perrier ‘Grand Siècle Itération’ n°24

45pn 55ch

65% 2007 – 25% 2006 – 10% 2004

‘Finally, now we have a number and an app that tells you what the three vintages in the mix are. The number 24 simply says that this is the 24th edition since the start with 1952 as the oldest wine in the blend. Glassy and sublime, with a classic Grand Siècle repertoire of aromas and textures. Although 2007 is a less interesting year, it has a fantastic genuine balance and sober style.’

92(94)p


Laurent-Perrier ‘Grand Siècle Itération’ n°23

45pn 55ch

65% 2006 – 20% 2004 – 15% 2002

‘Now in numbered magnum format and released a few years later, the wine appears youthful, but delightfully beautiful and balanced. 65% in 2006, 20% in 2004 for crispy minerality and 15% in 2002 for perfume and silky rondor. 11 Grand Cru’s with Avize, Mesnil, Cramant, Bouzy and Ambonnay as the dominant pieces of the puzzle in the harmoniously delicate composition.

On magnum, it is impossible to imagine that 2006, with its normally round and fruit-driven style, forms the lion’s part of the cuvée. Today, the wine is certainly wonderfully elegant and completely harmonious already, but its main advantages are based on fresh spiritual ethereal feeling and youthful resilience. The freshly washed sheets that dry in the summerwind fan are everywhere present together with spring flowers, stone fruits, Granny Smith apples and on magnum a roasted reductive note of pure chalk. Of course, there is also a high concentration and density with a gentle layer of browned butter, English butter fudge and vanilla. The wine has an enormous length of chalk reeking rockiness.

Great to drink in the garden on a cool summer day, but maybe even bigger in an autumn forest when the mushrooms are just sprouting from the ground. If you have the opportunity, feel free to try both variants to see two sides of this exemplary beauty and elegance.’

94(95)p


Laurent-Perrier ‘Grand Siècle Les Réserves Cuvée’ no. 20

44pn 56ch

 This tasting note is from a magnum which was disgorged in june 2021.

‘Already when I tasted this wine newly disgorged at Laurent-Perrier in 2019, I understood its somewhat unexpected greatness. Today under the Les Réserves label and still somewhat later disgorging with perfectly balanced dosage, this is the most stylistically perfect Grand Siècle ever made. There are a few editions that are more monumental and more grandly impressive, but none that exhibit such perfection in typicality.

The wine is simply a dream-like creation on the magnum which is actually more characterized by the reserve wine from 1996 than the majority wine from 1999. Cracklingly sublime toastiness, purity and lime-dominated acidity, but also an explosively euphoric acacia florality with splashes of jasmine, linden blossom and white chocolate. Of course with an otherworldly chalk-scented purity and the sun-dried linen in the early summer wind as a signature.’

98(98)p

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