Released in 2017, Laurent Perrier’s aptly-named La Cuvée blend replaces their previous non-vintage flagship brut. A 15-year project in the making, I was curious to sample it and see how it ranked against are other top 5 champagnes under $50. Admittedly, we are a little late to the party!
With so many ongoing projects at Bespoke Unit, we haven’t published a champagne review in some time. Therefore, let’s make up for it with our detailed review of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée as we touch on the following points:
- Bespoke Unit Champagne Sheet [BUCS]
- Cuvée Overview
- Champagne Robe
- Nose & Aromas
- Palate & Mouthfeel
- Ideal Pairings
- Overall Experience & Value For Money
Simply use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read it all.
Overview Of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée
- House: Laurent-Perrier
- Cuvée: La Cuvée
- Location: Tours-sur-Marne, Vallée de la Marne
- Class: Cru
- Vintage: No
- Blend Style: Tradition
- Grapes: 33% Pinot Noir, 14% Pinot Meunier, 53% Chardonnay
- Sugar: Brut
- Producer Identifier: NM-235-001
- Price: $40
Founded in 1812 by a former cooper and bottler, Alphonse Pierlot, it was inherited by his cellar master, Eugene Laurent. Eugune ran it with his wife, Mathilde Emilie Perrier and so when he passed and she inherited it in 1887, it adopted its current name.
Today, Laurent-Perrier represents one of the few remaining independent major houses in the champagne industry. Furthermore, it is the third best-selling champagne house following Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.
Consisting of 33% Pinot Noir, 14% Pinot Meunier, and 53% Chardonnay, La Cuvée is a blend consisting of 100 different crus as well as 30% reserve wines from Laurent Perrier’s cellars. The bottles are also aged for four years on lees, which is a full year longer than the original blend.
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Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée’s Robe
- Hue: Mid-Gold
- Transparency: Clear
- Bubbles: Lively
La cuvée is bursting with life when served in the glass with an alluring mid-gold robe. A torrent of excited bubbles rush to the surface, creating a frothy mousse on the surface. This takes quite a while to subside, but when it does, it leaves a trail of refined perlage that marches to the top.
La Cuvée’s Nose & Bouquet
Detected Nose Notes:
- 1st Nose: Litchi, Mango, Apricot
- 2nd Nose: Flint, Macadamia, Ambergris
Surprisingly complex, La Cuvée isn’t even vinous on the nose. Instead, it has an overall smoky profile and it can be challenging to identify how to best describe that aroma.
On the first nose, there’s a fruit-bomb of litchi, mango, and apricot. Meanwhile, it’s the second nose where the smokiness reveals its identity. On this occasion, it’s quite mineral with a hint of flint, macadamia nuts, and what I could only describe as smoky and musky ambergris.
La Cuvée’s Palate & Mouthfeel
Tasted Palate Notes:
- Opening: Pineapple, Lime, Apricot
- Heart: Flint, Red Apple, Yellow Peach
- Finish: Toasted Brioche, Honey, Straw
- Overall Flavour Length: Medium-Long
Overall, La Cuvée is rich and intense in flavour, offering a robust albeit balanced experience. While it is quite tart, it isn’t overly so and the yeasty flavours are restrained.
Once again, the opening is a burst of fruit. Bordering on the exotic, it exudes flavours of pineapple and apricot with a twist of matured limes. Shortly after, another hint of flint produces an alluring mineral accord with the lime before transitioning to a red apple and succulent yellow peach heart.
Finally, the finish highlights aromas of toasted brioche with earthy honey and what is reminiscent of damp straw. Although quite lingering, the finish isn’t overly long, which prompts you to soon reach for another sip.
Best Pairings With Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée
Despite its original bouquet of flavours, Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée is a great blend for pairing with a variety of dishes. In terms of starters, it would go well with Foie gras and caviar or even a rustic pâté.
Meanwhile, its tart fruitiness fares best with fish or flour-based dishes. Therefore, it’s a decent option for pasta, pastries, and even pizza. Likewise, it can happily be enjoyed with fish, shellfish, sushi, poultry, and vegetables. Tonight, I’ll actually be finishing the bottle with some homemade pizza.
As for cheeses, it’s still quite versatile. However, I would refrain from enjoying it with blue cheese. Instead, a soft cheese such as Brie or Mont Dore would be ideal.
Although I would recommend La Cuvée to accompany meals, it’s very enjoyable as an apéritif too. Breadsticks, French fries, nuts, and olives are all great accompaniments.
Finally, cigar smokers ought to have a lot of fun here as it’s quite versatile with tobacco. Ideally, I would pair Laurent-Perrier with either a Davidoff Signature or a Plasencia Reserva with the latter being my favourite.
Since I didn’t have any close to hand, I settled choosing between a La Gloria Cubana Serie D N°5, a Perla del Mar, or even a Macanudo Gold Label. In short, Connecticut wrappers fare best but you can up the ante with some medium-bodied leaves too.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
With La Cuvée’s release, Laurent-Perrier proceeded to redesign their entire range with new labels. Personally, I love the result and find them to offer far more visual interest today. Beforehand, Laurent-Perrier featured a very modest and quite uninteresting label so it’s great to see a new approach.
In fact, the new label is somewhat reminiscent of Perrier-Jouët if it featured a typeface like Bollinger!
As for the plaque, it’s elegant but doesn’t offer much excitement when removing the foil. Similarly, the cork is fine but despite looking young, it never regained its original shape.
Finally, Laurent-Pettier La Cuvée offers great value for money indeed. In France, I picked it up at my local supermarché for 33€ ($37). Usually, champagne is significantly more expensive in the USA. However, I was pleased to see it for sale on Drizly for only $40!
Although an inexpensive champagne, it would look right at home during grand occasions. Indeed, it’s very versatile and can be enjoyed with a few friends during a meal or at a party without feeling out of place.
With a change of branding and a new, exciting release, Laurent-Perrier has successfully differentiated itself from the other major champagne houses. As it offers something a little different from the others, it presents itself as a great alternative that can be enjoyed by occasional drinkers and connoisseurs alike.
"A unique smoky profile with a complex, fruity palate, La Cuvée is a worthwhile alternative to consider if choosing among the well-known yet affordable champagne blends."
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