N.V. Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Iteration #24

Year: N.V.
Appellation: Champagne
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 94
James Suckling: 97
Wine Enthusiast: 96
Sparkling Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.0%
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"This round, balanced Champagne is lightly mouthwatering and creamy in texture, offering a ripe range of raisin bread, crystallized honey, dried apricot and roasted nut flavors, backed by sleek, citrusy acidity. Drink now through 2021. 450 cases imported. -AN" (WS)

"A blend of the 2007, 2006 and 2004 vintages that was disgorged some six months ago, the NV Brut Grand Siècle #24 will be released this April, and it's beginning to drink well, offering up a complex and already maturing bouquet of dried flowers, mandarin orange, iodine, gingerbread, clear honey and smoke. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, fleshy and vibrant, with an ample core of fruit complemented by abundant sapid nuances, bright acids and a fine but youthfully frothy mousse. This is an expressive rendition of Grand Siècle that will drink well on release.

My tasting with Chef de Cave Michel Fauconnet was especially interesting, as a number of exciting innovations are in the works at Laurent-Perrier. The first is the release of a new cuvée in a genre well-adapted to the house's gently reductive, Chardonnay-based style: it's a non-dosage blanc de blancs, and it will be released later this year. The second important development is that Laurent-Perrier will henceforth enumerate each new edition of their tête de cuvée Grande Siècle. As readers will know, Grande Siècle is a blend of three complementary vintages—put simply, one to provide structure, another freshness and a third, flesh. The maison's decision to be more transparent about exactly which vintages are in the bottle is to be welcomed, as this is a cuvée that can age formidably—as several tasting notes in this report testify—and, armed with this information, consumers will henceforth be better able to make informed decisions about when to drink their bottles. It will also serve to emphasize that magnums of Grand Siècle are systematically released later than bottles. For example, the current US release of the Grand Siècle in 750-milliliter bottles is #23, a blend of the 2006, 2004 and 2002 vintages; but the latest US release in 1.5-liter bottles is the Grand Siècle #22, a blend of the 2004, 2002 and 1999 vintages. The significance of this will not be lost on readers who appreciate Champagne with additional bottle age. In addition to these two innovations, Fauconnet also took pains to emphasize that the house has been making considerable efforts to improve their grape sourcing—improvements that seemed to be reflected in a more-than-creditable non-vintage Brut, a cuvée that is, needless to say, produced in some quantity. In summation, this rather discrete maison is quietly producing very fine wines, and all these recent, forthcoming and past releases come warmly recommended in their respective categories." (WA)

"Laurent-Perrier's NV Grande Cuvée Grand Siècle No. 24 is just starting to show the first signs of aromatic and flavor complexity, which makes it a very satisfying Champagne for current drinking. Hints of apricot, lemon confit, white flowers and marzipan grace this wonderfully vibrant, inviting edition of Grand Siècle built on the 2007, 2006 and 2004 vintages. The Grande Cuvée No. 24 is silky, perfumed and classy all the way. Time in the glass brings out the wine's freshness and energy." (VM)

"A fantastic prestigious cuvée this year with a solid core of fruit that makes it so serious and structured. Like a grand cru Burgundy. Full body. Lightly chewy. Phenolic tension gives it form and beauty. This is the first year to use numbers. 55% chardonnay and 45% pinot noir. 2004, 2002 and 1999. Drink or hold." (JS)

"A grand wine, this is the 24th blend of Grand Siécle, the producer's top cuvée. With wonderful toastiness, the Champagne from grand cru vineyards is at a perfect moment of maturity. Almonds mingle with the white fruits and acidity in perfect balance. Drink now. Roger Voss" (WE)

Winery Notes:
To produce Laurent-Perrier's luxury cuvee, Bernard de Nonancourt decided to concentrate on two of the mainstays of Champagne's know-how: the blending of different crus (wines from separate villages) and from different harvest years. The epitome of Champagne blending, Grand Siecle calls on wines from the finest growths and the very best harvests; years which have been declared as vintages by Laurent-Perrier. Made to be given or shared with friends and family, it is a very seductive Champagne, totally enjoyable.