This replaces the wine known as Brut Tradition, although it is now 100% Côte des Blancs Chardonnay. The fruit for this wine is predominantly grown, as it always has been, in vineyards on the southern side of Vertus. These are vineyards on roughly the same “Latitude”, and this new name also hints at the breadth of texture that the wines from these vineyards tend to offer up, even when only Chardonnay is used. In the past, this wine contained up to 20 percent Pinot Noir, but over the years this has been steadily decreasing in favour of Chardonnay. The more recent vintages had only 10% Pinot Noir. Finally, Pierre decided that the addition of the Pinot component distracted from his notion of what this terroir wanted to say, so he has dispensed with it totally. You can expect the same style of wine; it is the same vineyards being used after all, yet with perhaps more finesse and clarity. This inaugural Latitude cuvée has a base of 2009 blended with reserve wines from 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 making up one third of the blend. The indigenous yeast fermentation and the malolactic fermentation begin spontaneously in a mix of casks, wooden vats and stainless-steel tanks. The wines are left on their natural lees for nearly a year and are not fined or filtered. The blending and the bottling is carried out in July and the bottles are then taken down into the cool cellars where the second fermentation and the maturation ‘sur lattes’ quietly take place over a period of more than 2 years. Each bottle is disgorged manually 6 months before being released. The dosage is a very low 4 grams per litre. As well crafted as ever, expect a touch more cut-diamond grace and line of citrus energetically coursing though the wine’s succulent, creamy textured core. There is a striking earthy lick to close.