Bertrand Lilbert is one of the superstars of Cramant and indeed of the Cote des Blancs. 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!
Since 1995 the vintage Champagne has been made entirely from grapes raised in the hamlet of Cramant. The primary source is a parcel on the lower northeast side of the village named Les Buissons, where the Lilbert vines--all nine rows of them--were planted in 1936. The second source is a higher east-facing parcel in Les Moyens on the other side of Cramant, specifically the northwest side and beginning at the village's edge. Les Moyens straddles a ridge and half faces east, half west, both of which are oddities on this side of Cramant where most vines face either north or south across the road that crosses the Cramant pass and dips down into a valley en route to Cuis. Les Buissons gives powerfully rich fruit that is lifted nicely by the taut fruit of Les Moyens, which makes up around a quarter of the blend.
Like the Perle, this is now bottled with a dosage of 3-4 g/l. The wine is made only in good years, and, also like the Perle, production averages 165 cases of 750 ml plus 1,000 bottles of magnums.