Aÿ-based Champagne Lallier has launched a new collection of 'multi-vintage' cuvées to reflect the character of one particular vintage. The idea is not unlike that used by Jaquesson for their 7 series wines.
The first release is Champagne Lallier R.012: The R denotes 'récolte' which translates to harvest/crop, and the .012 denotes the main vintage of the cuvée. A whopping 81% of this wine is from the excellent 2012 vintage, meaning just 19% is from reserve wines (2002, 2004, 2008). This is intended to express the characteristics of 2012, rather than to just reflect a house style. The 3 vintages used as reserve wines have been selected to ensure a stylistic and quantitative consistency, and to iron out any edges of the 2012 vintage.
The wine is 62% Pinot Noir, as you'd expect from an Aÿ based producer, with the balance being Chardonnay. Grand Cru sites (Aÿ, Boozy, Verzenay, Ambonnay, Avize Cramant and Oger) make up 85% of the blend.
This first release of the R series was disgorged in February 2015 after around 2 years on lees, though the rest will be disgorged in tranches until the R.013 is released. I would like to taste one of the later disgorgements alongside this first one to compare the wines side by side.
The 24 months of lees ageing is not long enough to give super creaminess, really fine bead or complex autolytic aromas, though I can see that Lallier have kept the lees ageing at this length so the fruit of 2012 can be better expressed, rather than hidden under heavier yeasty notes.
The wine has a fairly delicate mousse, some creaminess and a nose that hints at the richness that lays ahead. Aromas of pineapple tart tatin, apple, grapefruit and xmas spice with medium weight mouthfeel and a slightly bitter finish.
The wine is sold through Boutinot in the UK and retails for around £30/bottle.