Few wine publications carry the weight and sheer gravitas of James Suckling. Rating bottles on a scale of 1 to 100, a review on jamessuckling.com can make or break a vintage, catapulting it into the popular stratosphere, or condemning it to be forgotten. This year, the latest release of Champagne Laurent-Perrier’s prestige cuvée, Grand Siècle Itération N.26, was awarded a perfect 100/100 and with it James Suckling’s “Wine of the Year” award.
James Suckling’s Top 100 Wines of the Year is one of the most exhaustive lists available. This year, the publication sampled almost 39,000 different bottles, considerably nudging out last year’s 32,000. It’s impressive work, and why the James Suckling brand is so trusted.
Out of those 39,000, a single expression rose to the top: Champagne Laurent-Perrier’s Grand Siècle Itération N.26.
The magic of Grand Siècle
For the uninitiated, Laurent-Perrier produces its prestige cuvée a little differently from most other maisons. While other vintners herald the capabilities of a single vintage, Laurent-Perrier believes true excellence can only be achieved through the art of assemblage, the combination of multiple vintages. Laurent-Perrier believes that the house’s capabilities within the art of assemblage can produce a bottle that nature alone can never provide.
This prestige cuvée dates to 1959, when the first iteration was launched by Bernard de Nonancourt. Known and well respected in Champagne for his passion for innovation, Bernard believed assemblage would produce finer champagnes, with better ageing potential.
All Grand Siècle releases share three characteristics. They are all a blend of three exceptional years that complement each other. Each release is comprised of a majority of Chardonnay and supplemented by Pinot Noir selected from a maximum of eight of the 17 Grand Crus. Finally, it is aged on lees for a minimum of 10 years before disgorgement.
Looking specifically at Grand Siècle Itération N.26, the “Wine of the Year,” this bottle is comprised of 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir. Grapes were selected from three exceptional years, 65% from 2012, 25% from 2008 and finally 10% from 2007. The result is a bottle that possesses freshness, structure and complexity.
The true beauty of this bottle comes from the expert assemblage. The year of 2012 provides balance and form, introducing bright fruit. Then 2008 brings adds depth to the bottle and 2007 sparks it up with a touch of liveliness.
The team at James Suckling say: “It is a sensational-quality bottle showing incredible texture, depth and complexity. Its great structure will keep it fresh and vivid for a very long time, yet it is equally energetic and intense, highlighting its beauty now.
“Champagne producers have always said that their bottles are first great wines and then great Champagnes, and this is certainly the case with Grand Siècle Itération N.26.”
Grand Siècle releases are not commonplace. Since 1959, only 26 releases have borne the Grand Siècle name. It also marks the final iteration to include the impressive 2008 vintage, marked by its depth and unique quality.
This year has been an impressive one for Grand Siècle and Champagne Laurent-Perrier. The high praise from James Suckling is merely the cherry on top.
Laurent-Perrier’s residency at The Peninsula Beverly Hills
The maison has just revealed The Icon Room, its own intimate private dining and experience room located inside the highly regarded Peninsula Beverly Hills. This new spot will offer guests the ultimate tasting experience, giving them the opportunity to sample the Vintage 2012 followed by the award-winning Grand Siècle Itération N.26, and finally Grand Siècle Iteration N.23 en magnum.
The champagne will also be paired with tastes from The Peninsular Beverly Hills’ Michelin-starred executive chef Ralf Schlegel.
Designed to emulate the grandeur of Champagne Laurent-Perrier’s Le Chateau de Louvois — the castle that resides in the Grand Cru village of Louvois and acts as the home of Grand Siècle — the opulence is turned up to the max. While enjoying this impressive new space, guests will go on a journey through the history of the maison’s winemaking.
“We’re honored to share this opportunity to showcase our strong partnership with The Peninsula Beverly Hills, a property that continues to be at the forefront of the hospitality space known for its pure opulence and top tier accommodations,” says Michelle DeFeo, President of Champagne Laurent-Perrier US.
“We are thrilled for existing and new Laurent-Perrier enthusiasts to take part in The Icon Room and learn about the rich story of Grand Siècle on a much deeper level.”
Those looking to sit back and experience The Icon Room must do so by appointment only before December 17. Tastings are available at 3pm, 4.30pm and 6pm Wednesday to Sunday, with tickets priced at $225 per person.
Book your experience at The Icon Room