History of Laurent-Perrier
Although originally founded in 1812, the name Champagne Laurent-Perrier was not conceived until 1964. It was Bernard de Nonancourt who initiated Laurent-Perrier’s rise to world fame. One of Champagne’s most important figures in the 20th century, he officially took over in 1948 after a three-year apprenticeship at the Houses of Delamotte and Lanson. In his 62-year tenure, production grew from 80,000 bottles annually to over eight million. Under de Nonancourt, Laurent-Perrier were the first House to use stainless-steel vats and the first House to create both a zero dosage champagne (Ultra Brut) and a multi-vintage prestige cuvée (Grand Siècle). Sadly, de Nonancourt passed away in 2010 and Laurent-Perrier is now managed by his two daughters, Alexandra and Stéphanie alongside Cellar Master Michel Fauconnet and has become one of the region’s largest producers, they are perhaps best known for Cuvée Rosé, the most recognised rosé champagne on the planet.
Bernard de Nonancourt
In October 1948, aged 28, Bernard de Nonancourt was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of Laurent-Perrier. He was one of the rare owners of a Champagne House to have done all the jobs of his future employees after being a vines labourer, cellar and office worker and a sales representative. Bernard de Nonancourt injected a dynamic momentum into the business. Keen on innovation, strongly attached to champagne traditions and to quality, he forged the commercial culture of Laurent-Perrier and created a renowned brand with a range of unique champagnes. He became President of Laurent-Perrier at the age of 28, in 1948 and held that role for 62 years until he passed away in 2010.
Continuing the Family Legacy
The brand’s vision still runs in the family, since 2010 it has been continued by his daughters Alexandra Pereyre de Nonancourt and Stéphanie Meneux de Nonancourt, who accompany the Chairman Stéphane Dalyac and Michel Fauconnet, Cellar Master and Production Manager forming the Laurent-Perrier Management Board. Michel has been at the company for 40 years, progressing from Cellarman in 1974 to assistant Chef de Cave in 1983 until his appointment as Cellar Master in 2004. In September 2019, Laurent-Perrier further strengthened itself with the arrival of Lucie Pereyre de Nonancourt, Alexandra’s eldest daughter who is representing Grand Siècle worldwide. She is training with the Cellar Master and the Production and Salesforce teams, thus becoming part of Laurent-Perrier’s innovative team.
The idea behind Grand Siècle
The idea of Grand Siècle was born from a simple observation: that nature would never provide the perfect oenological year, but that thanks to the art of assemblage, Laurent-Perrier could in fact create it. Always a blend of three exceptional vintages that perfectly complement each other, Grand Siècle was launched in 1959 as a blend of 1952, 1953 and 1955. Bernard de Nonancourt who wanted to produce the ‘perfect vintage champagne’ blended grapes sourced from 11 of the 17 Grand Cru villages in Champagne. In addition the grape juice is fermented in 100% stainless-steel tanks as Laurent-Perrier very much believe in keeping the juice away from oxygen and protecting those floral aromatics.
The multi-vintage concept consists of three vintages of reserve wines blended together. Although the crus vary blend-by-blend, some villages feature fairly consistently, such as Aÿ, Bouzy, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Tours-sur-Marne. Only 25 iterations have been produced in 66 years with 45 vintages declared over the same period. Today there is much longer lees ageing, differing slightly according to the Iteration and the bottle size, all of which is key to subtle flavour and texture development. Combined with the distinctive long and narrow necked bottles, the stainless steel winemaking is further enhanced ‘reductively’ to give you amazingly fresh and energetic champagnes that are more Chardonnay dominant than Pinot Noir.
Grand Siècle Iteration 25
This release is a blend of 2008 – 65% | 2007 – 25% | 2006 – 10%
From June 2019, new releases of Laurent-Perrier Grande Siecle MV have been labelled by their Iteration number on the neck of the bottle identifying the three vintages comprising the prestige cuvée. This iteration is 25 in bottle and was released 11th April 2022.
Vineyards: 100% Grand Cru | Chardonnay: Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger | Pinot Noir: Ambonnay, Bouzy, Louvois, Mailly, Tours-sur-Marne, Verzenay
Grape Varieties: 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir
Ageing: 12 years on the lees
Dosage: 7 g/l
Disgorged: October 2021
Just a hint of reductive charm and there is real intensity to the fruit; rich & ripe lemon sherbet, ripe pear, yellow plum and a twist of dried grass. You really see the Chardonnay dominance, 60% and the red fruits are currently quite subdued. The palate is a mix of racy freshness from the acidity and soft texture from its long time on the lees and such lightness and delicacy to finish with a twist of salinity and dosage at 7 g/l seems perfectly integrated. Like many 2008’s this has great purity to the fruit.
Other releases are Grand Siècle Les Reserves Iteration 17, Iteration 22 , Iteration 23 and Iteration 24
To see all the tasting reviews for all released Iterations from 1-25 click here.
Pairs with high quality produce and refined dishes, in particular shellfish such as lobster, noble fish such as roasted turbot or with truffled poulard.
99/100 James Suckling – www.jamessuckling.com
“Incredible aromas of apple skin, pie crust, praline and flowers. So young in the nose. Full-bodied with super-fine tannins. It’s tight and refined, yet structured and intense. Really long and beautiful. Still shy. Wonderful finish. 12 years on its lees before disgorging. Three vintages in the blend – 2008 (65%), 2007 (25%) and 2006 (10%). 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. It’s the highest percentage of Chardonnay ever.”
17.5/20 Jancis Robinson – www.jancisrobinson.com
“The 25th iteration of Laurent-Perrier’s de luxe cuvée, always a blend of different vintages in their quest to make the perfect champagne. Deep gold with the tiniest bead. Very pungently aromatic and with a texture as smooth as silk. Utterly luxurious. Slides over the palate with an undertow of surprisingly ripe Chardonnay. I’d drink this with a sophisticated fish dish, perhaps with a rich sauce. I love the gentlest of explosions on the palate. Surely this has a lower-than-average pressure? Very long. But it is not recommended for those who like their champagne on the austere side. This is to be launched in late 2021 but it tastes as though it was already gorgeous in 2020.”
96-98/100 Essi Avellan – www.essiavellan.com
“My expectations were high for this blend that comes with a majority of 2008. As high a proportion as 65%, in fact. It gets complimented by 25% of the great Chardonnay year 2007 and a dash of the voluptuous 2006. Crisp Chardonnay notes dominate the pure and youthful nose of lime, peach and chalk, which comes with stylish restraint and delicate toasty layers. The combination of predominance a cool year and high proportion of Chardonnay (60%, the highest share ever!), bring such finesse and tension to this Iteration, that I am immediately taking it amongst my all time favourites. The mousse is impressively creamy yet invigorating and the style seemingly long-ageing and tight. If it is this fine in 75cl bottles, I cannot wait to taste its grandeur in magnums!”
96/100 William Kelley – www.robertparker.com
“Laurent-Perrier’s imminently released NV Brut Grand Siècle #25 is showing beautifully, unwinding in the glass with an incipiently complex bouquet of pear, crisp stone fruit and mandarin mingled with hints of smoke, buttered toast and dried white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, layered and textural, with a fleshy core of fruit, terrific concentration and a racy spine of acidity, it’s a deep, comparatively structured wine that will evolve beautifully in the cellar. As I’ve written before, this iteration is a blend of the 2008, 2007 and 2006 vintages, with 2008 lending #25 its depth and structure, 2007 contributing additional cut and 2006 additional richness. While the #25 exemplifies the seamless charm of this bottling, it’s also one of the best propositions for long-term cellaring among recent renditions of Grand Siècle, and it will really reward time on cork”
94/100 Antonio Galloni – www.vinous.com
“The NV Brut Grande Cuvée Grand Siècle No. 25 is bright and gracious in feel. Orchard fruit, mint, dried flowers, lemon peel, graphite and chamomile are beautifully lifted. The No. 25 is fresh and taut, but also has enough fruit to be approachable now. The blend of vintages – 2008 (60%), 2007 (20%), 2006 (20%) – is quite complementary. I liked the No. 25 more from magnum, but then again, Champagne often shows so well in larger formats.”