Formally known simply as Lelarge this seventh generation production in Vrigny only became what it is today, Lelarge-Pugeot when Dominique Lelarge married Dominique Pugeot in 1984.
The 8th generation, Clemence, is now working as the global brand ambassador and can be found promoting the wine in America as I type.
Working mainly with Meunier 60% (Pinot Noir 25%, Chardonnay 15%) they own 9 hectares in Vrigny, Gueux, and Coulommes la Montagne. On taking over in 1985 Dominique started a more sustainable approach to vineyard care. He stopped herbiside use in 2000 and started ploughing with horses again. He requested biodynamic conversation in 2010 gaining it 3 years later. His first fully organic vintage was 2012.
He works with agrobiologists Claude Bourguignon, soil specialist, Dominique Massenot (Hérody method) and Pierre Masson for the biodynamic orientation. He uses essential oils in the vineyards
The range is vast. I tasted 12 wines in total when I visited. And at present, confusingly, the labels and bottle shapes are all different so orientating your way around the range is a touch confusing.
The range kicks off with the Brut Tradition, a blend that represents the houses grape ownership of 60% Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay. A touch vegetal with clean white flowers and stalky red fruit on the mid palate. Nice clay and chalky notes on the mid to late.
The Blanc de Blancs is a pure vintage although not labelled as so. Made from old vines it has a nice opulence on the front end and then a razor sharp citrus note on the mid palate. Very charming.
Les Meuniers de Clemence is a wine made in celebration of their daughter. Always a pure vintage it is pure Meunier made from 4 parcels; Les Pierres, Les Fourgous, Le Jour and Sous la Ville. It is very charming up front. So warming and playful. There is good tension and grip and a delightful orange and honey note layered with a focus of minerality.
Les Charmes de Vrigny, a blend of 60% Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay uses a solera to give it a hint of toffee and a creamy texture. Very soft style and a delicate bitter note on the finish.
The Millesime 2005 is a blend of Vrigny and Coulommes la Montagne with parcels in Les Pierres, Les Maupas and Les Cumines Basses. Really full of energy. The nose shows a hint of oxidation but in a pleasant way. A lovely richness travels across the palate, lining the sides of your mouth and delivering a delicate bitter rind note on the finish.
Quintessence 2005 is the first blend with mostly Chardonnay. And that Chardonnay is fermented in large oak barrels. The palate is much more linear and focused. You sense the oak but it never overpowers. Interestingly a fascinating clay note comes through after a while.
The Brut Nature is another unlabelled pure vintage. A 1/3 each blend. Lively and fresh. Super balance and structure. Great warmth and delicacy with a hint of biscuit. Needs food.
The Rose is a blended rose from Pinot Noir. A sandy nose with hints of wet chalk. The palate shows good balance between the front end and mid but the finish doesn’t quite fit.
And finally the Rose de Saignee Brut Nature. A 60/40 blend of Meunier and Pinot Noir with 36 hours of maceration. 0 g/ltr. Pure vintage, in this case 2012. Intense nose, surprisingly delicate and creamy palate. The structure is big and raw yet incredibly soft and easy.
When I visit Champagne houses I always try to find the USP. The one wine that grabs me and makes me want to revisit time and time again. Sadly, for me, this didn’t happen at Lelarge-Pugeot. The wines are clearly well made and give a pure and clean expression of the region and production method but none quite have the ‘pop’ that I am looking for.
Region: La Montagne de Reims
Contact: Dominique Lelarge
Cuvée De Prestige:
Recent Tasting Notes from Lelarge-Pugeot