Samedi, 15 Avril 2023
On this particular evening in Champagne, I had to privilege to attend an intimate dinner with the team of Grand Siècle, Edouard Cossy, Global Director of Grand Siecle, and Lucie Pereyre de Nonancourt, granddaughter of the Bernard de Nonancourt, Laurent-Perrier's first President, alongside some of my favorite champagne lovers and experts, at the beautiful Chateau de Louvois.
We were blessed with the opportunity to enjoy an impressive lineup of Grand Siècle, giving us a closer look at this phenomena in the world of prestige cuvées.
About Grand Siècle
Grand Siècle (Grand Century) is essentially the prestige cuvée of Laurent-Perrier. The concept of Grand Siècle, is the idea that nature would never provide the perfect year or vintage, so by assembling several years, Laurent-Perrier could in fact create it.
This is not a vintage champagne, but a blend of 3 exceptional vintages that perfectly compliment one another. Each year brings something important to the blend- one brings structure, one brings finesse and one brings freshness, creating a perfect balance from wines of the very best vintages. Bernard de Nonancourt’s vision with GS was to create the perfect champagne that could Gain aromatic complexity over time, yet not lose its freshness, and also a champagne that was unique from the other prestige cuvées at the time.
Usually the grapes are picked earlier, and then fermented in 100% stainless-steel tanks as Laurent-Perrier very much believe in protecting from oxygen and keeping the floral aromatics. The blend is sourced from a maximum of 11 grand cru villages in the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs, and the cépage should favor Chardonnay over Pinot Noir.
Each iteration is numbered from No 22 onwards, and it was first introduced by Bernard in 1959 as a blend of 1952, 1953 and 1955. Older iterations than No 22 are impossible to distinguish from looking at the label, so it takes those in the know to crack the code for us. The exceptions to this rule are two late-disgorged Grand Siècles, iteration No.17 and No. 20.
The iterations we enjoyed during our dinner were:
No. 25- Blend of 2008, 2007, 2006- As elegant as ever. My last time with this one was in November of last year, when I had it along side No 24 and No 23 (en magnum), and it is just as elegant as I remember. Such a pleasure to drink, with great structure and finesse, enjoyable now, but well worth holding onto for a while if you can.
No. 20- Blend of 1999, 1997, 1996, disgorged in 2007
Fresh and youthful, smokey on the nose, yet roundness in texture and beautifully savory.
No. 18- Blend of 1996, 1995,1993 my first impression so delicate on the nose, yet so alive on the palate, so much energy and life in this one!
No. 17- Les Reserves (personal reserve of Bernard de Nonancourt) Blend of 1995, 1993, 1990
I can’t begin to tell you how special this champagne is….
It was launched only once, in 2012 during the bicentenary of the house.
This is an old iteration of GS, kept by Lucie’s grandfather, undisgorged Sur point only in magnums and jeroboams at the time. His idea of holding these bottles were to see the aging potential of GS. Unfortunately, Bernard died before the bicentenary, so Lucie’s mother and aunt decided to launch it during the event for a special treat for the guests.
This particular bottle has been aged 20 years on the lees in 2012, and we were lucky to have even more years post-disgorgement, with one of the last few magnums left at the house. This one makes time standstill, fine bubbles and a silky texture, a touch of reduction, so fresh and youthful, but has spice, toast, and sprinkled with truffle.
The Menu for the evening...
Grand Siècle Itération N°25 par Laurent-Perrier à l'apéritif
Grand Siècle Itération N°20 par Laurent-Perrier
Lentillons de Champagne et bigorneaux cuits en marinière
Grand Siècle Itération N°18 par Laurent-Perrier
Homard breton à l'armoricaine
Grand Siècle Les Réserves Itération N°17 par Laurent-Perrier, en magnum
Assortiment de fromages doux et onctueux
Menu élaboré et réalisé par Valérie Marchandise
If you are reading and thinking, this sounds like the perfect evening in Champagne, I have good news for you! The Grand Siècle team has so graciously allowed me to bring my small groups in June and October this year to Chateau de Louvois for a very magical experience. This is extremely special, and the team themselves are so busy, so to allow us to spend a lunch and afternoon with them at the chateau is something that is absolutely priceless. Although our June Trip is sold out, we have two spots left on our October Trip and you can find all the details here!