A Tête de Cuvée like No Other: Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle

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Laurent-Perrier’s Grand Siècle is in a class of its own. A true tête de cuvée, it makes up a tiny proportion of Laurent-Perrier’s total production. The tank room for Grand Siècle, which I have been lucky enough to visit on many occasions, is less than half the size of our sales floor in Redwood City. It has always been composed of three years, all of which that have been selected to make vintage Champagne at Laurent Perrier. This process allows them not only to produce tête de cuvée of remarkably consistent high quality but also of remarkable maturity, given the abundance of reserve wines inside. The wine is always about half and half Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

For the first time, Grand Siècle is being released with an iteration number. Much like the edition system of Krug, or the cuvée number of Jacquesson, this will help Champagne lovers keep track of which batch is which. This March, I had a unique opportunity to meet with cellar master Michel Fauconnet and Stephane Dalyac, the chairman of the management board to taste the 24th iteration Grand Siècle, which just arrived here at K&L. This version is composed of the vintages 2007, 2006, and 2004. This is Champagne at its most refined, subtle, and elegant. If you like a silky style, with just the right amount of baguette toast and a whole lot of length—this is for you. The price of the 24th iteration is $149.99, which is very fair given how much all of the other grand marques charge for their younger, higher production tête de cuvées.

We also have our last drop of the previous batch of Grand Siècle, which does not have an iteration number on it. This is, in fact, the #23, and is still available at the old price of $109.99. If you have space in your cellar and your budget, this is the last opportunity to own one of the greats of the wine world at this price. The unmarked batch is composed of 2006, 2004 and 2002 and won’t last for long. This is a wine that haunts me—it is so very subtle, easy to drink, and refreshing that it elevates any occasion it is served at, all without drawing attention to itself. The next day, I always find myself reflecting on the mastery in the bottle. It has a texture like no other and is utterly effortless.

A toast to you!

-Gary Westby

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Gary Westby