Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Vertical Tasting

Laurent-Perrier don’t do prestige cuvées quite like other producers. Rather than the typical superior vintage blend seen elsewhere, Grand Siècle is a non-vintage wine, drawing off Bernard de Nonancourt’s speciality: blending. Always an assemblage of three vintage years – vintages as declared by Laurent-Perrier only – the blend is a mixture of pure Grand Crus juice, from up to a maximum 11 out of the 18 available. Although the Crus vary blend-by-blend, key Chardonnay villages such as Aize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger feature consistently.

The first creation of this unique cuvée was a blend of 1955, 1953 and 1952, launched in 1959. Since then, there have been twenty more blends, making the current release – 2004, 2002 and 1999 – the twenty-first. In each blend of Grand Siècle, the youngest vintage typically provides the highest contribution – usually around 55%.

Produced in limited quantities and with demand high, older bottles of Grand Siècle become rare very quickly. We were recently offered the opportunity to taste some older vintages of Grand Siècle, the first a blend of 1999, 1997 and 1996 and the second a blend of 1997, 1996 and 1995. For fair comparison, we decided to taste them alongside the current release.

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle NV
Vintages: 2004, 2002, 1999 | 55% CH, 45% PN | Dosage: 6 g/l
Quite light colour. Bright lemons and hints of ripe apples on the nose. Nice and fresh on the palate with loads of sherbet and nice balance. Hints of peachiness, some lychee and lees character starting to go creamy and custard with some time in the glass. Nice clean finish and some chalkyness starting to come out more. Quite elegant.

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle NV
Vintages: 1999, 1997, 1996 | 55% CH, 45% PN | Dosage: 6 g/l
Lots of lemons, cooked apples and a hint of chalky cellar. Quite dry, some rich ripe apples, custard and creaminess. Bright acidity that lingers. Good but starting to show some age, acidity seems very fresh.

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle NV
Vintages: 1996, 1995, 1993 | 55% CH, 45% PN | Dosage: 6 g/l
Quite a lot darker, notable age on the nose. Lots of apple richness, custard and pastries. Nice weight of fruit and good ripeness. Loads of peaches and cream, hints of honey and dried fruits. Really quite good, fresh acidity but showing characteristics of age. Given time in the glass, the richness comes through, this is likely a perfect drinking time. Quite soft mousse and going a little bit like a still wine.