Lilbert-Fils “Perle" Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru Brut, Champagne, France NV
Ian Blackburns Champagne - to make any moment special… from Monday night with Netflix and popcorn to the most serious of celebrations - this is an incredible and rare find that has both value and quality.
This, the house’s rarest and most sought after wine, also comes from all three communes, but is sourced from old Chardonnay vines. Its dosage is 4-5 g/l, and it is bottled with a lower pressure than the non-vintage classic— 4 bars of pressure rather than the normal 6—making it particularly transparent, sleek, and mineral. This ages on its lees for a minimum of four years. 165-250 12-pk cases annually…. make it a true PERLE to find.
The young Bertrand Lilbert is one of the superstars of Cramant, but remains
largely unknown except to a select group of champagne devotees.
—Peter Liem, Besotted Ramblings blog, November 14, 2008
The written record has the Lilbert family cultivating vines around its hilltop village of Cramant in 1746, and it’s probably a fair bet that they were there sometime before that (the oldest part of their 23-foot-deep cellar dates from 1712). The record further shows that as early as 1907 the family bottled its own wine for commercial sale. Despite such longevity, the house of Lilbert is tiny: it farms a mere 3.5 hectares of vines (this figure translates into 8.6 acres, and unfortunately our old back label erroneously states 9.4 acres).
Bertrand Lilbert and his father Georges make only grand cru blanc de blancs from 100% Chardonnay. Their annual production averages 2,000 twelve-pack cases. To put this in perspective, the house of Moët & Chandon pumps out 25 million cases each year. Unlike Moët, the Lilberts make all of their wine from their own vineyards, which break down into 15 parcels in the grand cru villages of Oiry (10% of their total plantation), Chouilly (30%), and Cramant (60%) on the Côte des Blancs.
The Côte des Blancs
Thanks to Jeff Bramwell for the shot of Bertrand Lilbert and for the bottle shot (Bertrand’s daughter Lilou was born in 2010, thus this vintage bottling has a pink capsule–a color she chose).