Bertrand Lilbert is one of the super stars of Cramant and indeed of the Cote des Blancs. 3.5ha of vineyard parcels spread across Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry. The wines are made in a classic structured style with abundant acid to guarantee long aging potential. But that said, they are certainly very enjoyable in their youth. The Lilbert property was established in 1746 and consists of only 3.5 ha Grand Cru Vineyards in the Cote des Blancs, 60% in Cramant, 30% in Chouilly and 10% in Oiry. Bertrand used to work in an Epernay viticulture testing laboratory before taking over the management of this property. Michel Bettane, France’s top wine critic, names Lilbert as the reference point for long-lived classic Cramant. As Andrew Jefford observes in his book, The New France, “This tiny 4-ha Cramant domaine is the source of some very fine and long-lived Blanc de Blancs made by Georges Lilbert and his son Bertrand. The style is less soft, creamy, and flowery than the Blanc de Blancs of most large houses might leave the drinker expecting: Cramant here has a taut, steely, rigorous quality….”. Overall production is tiny with only three cuvées being produced for a huge total production of a tiny 30,000 bottles!
The Lilbert family are traditional vignerons in the true sense of the word. All processes are performed by the family themselves. Hand riddling of course, and the final disgorgement is done manually without the use of ice to freeze the dead yeast cell plug in the neck of the bottle – ‘a la volée’. The style is tight, mineral, chalky, citrus and piercing elegance. Stunning rare Chardonnay.