On rare occasions a champagne & a certain vintage that Me and Richard didn’t now exists makes it way to us. 1996 Grand Siècle from Laurent-Perrier is such a vintage.
1996 LAURENT-PERRIER ‘GRAND SIÈCLE’ │58PN 42CH│TASTING NOTE ‘On the American market, Grand Siècle is always a vintage Champagne, and in Europe this ’85 is the first example. The premier edition of Grand Siècle in the blended version was (1995/1953/1952). Why was this masterpiece never launched on the free market? Thomas Östlund who imported the wine previously to the Swedish market came across a couple of bottles and had the generosity to share this with us. Strikingly similar to 96 millesime in magnum, but with even more finesse and a clearer note of freshly washed air-dried sheets in the summer breeze. So driven by minerals and gunpowder at the start (wet gravel), that almost resembles like the notes of cork. When heated and aeration takes place it develops notes like butterscotch, toffee, Granny Smith apples and magnolia. Absolutely Wonderful! RJ 96(97)
mv LAURENT-PERRIER ‘GRAND SIÈCLE’ (1996/95/93) │45PN 55CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Bull’s eye! Alain Terrier has captured all of the distinctly acidic character of the ’96s, with additional smiling charm from the pure, feminine ’93, as well as the creamily beautiful ’95. Exquisite harmony and balance. Handsome toasted notes, crackling aromas and mousse, refreshing attack, and a strong imprint on the palate that remains some few hours later in the glass. A big Grand Siècle! So great last time tasted.’ RJ 96(96)
RJ ON LAURENT-PERRIER Laurent-Perrier is the biggest success story 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, Bernard, survived despite playing a leading role in the Resistance, and later returned home to take over the business. 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 only 100 hectares 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.
RJ ON GRAND SIÈCLE The house’s real trump card is Grand Siècle—a wine that beautifully carpets even the most fastidious palate. A wonderfully complex, world-class Champagne. The latest blend is not really one of my favorites.