Founded in 1812, Laurent-Perrier is an icon of Champagne houses — the third-largest by sales — with a full battalion of bottlings available for every type of celebratory occasion. (Or, for that matter, dinner on Tuesday.) Today we check out a full quartet of expressions, from the simple La Cuvee Brut to the vintage Brut Millesime, which spent some 7 years mellowing in bottle before release.
NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne La Cuvee Brut – Traditional and fairly unsurprising, this is a very dry Champagne, heavy on the chardonnay, with a sharp, crisp apple core and a bitter edge that keeps any sense of sweetness at bay. Notes of bay leaf and thyme give this wine a distinctly herbal edge, but the tart fruit is what dominates the experience. B+ / $50
NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Harmony Demi-Sec – Demi-sec may sound innocuous, but it’s actually one of the sweetest styles on the Champagne sugar dosage scale. In reality, this sparkler isn’t as sugary as you might expect, its yeasty breadiness still shining through vibrant fruit notes of lemon and orange. In fact, a boozy, fizzy, grown-up lemonade is not a totally wrong analogy. B+ / $50
NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvee Rose – Pretty and pink (from 100% pinot noir), but the yeasty, bready notes don’t immediately connote rose. Close your eyes and you find fresh apple and pear notes, some orange peel, and only if you really work at it, some of those classic red berry notes — raspberry, namely — emerging on the back of the palate. The finish remains chewy, with a distinct dough-like character that, thanks to a touch of sweetness, evokes sugar cookies. Despite the relative lack of fruit, it’s still quite a delight. A- / $100
2007 Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut Millesime – The only vintage release in this lineup, Brut Millesime is a blend of half chardonnay, half pinot noir. An utterly gorgeous wine, lightly toasty but full of fruit, sour apple, lemon-lime, and quince character. The body is bold and the finish is lengthy and seductive, a crisp and vibrant wine with everything one wants in a vintage Champagne. A+ / $80