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This bottling was disgorged by hand in September 2017 with just 2.5g/l. It's a blend of Pinot Meunier 'done three ways'. 60% is made as a white (with 40% of this being reserve wines aged in barrels), then 30% of the blend is a saignée (macerated) rosé, and the remaining 10% is a full blown red wine. Based on the 2014 and 2015 harvests, the fruit comes from vines with an average age of 25 years, and more than 40 years for the parcels that make up the red wine. The wines are fermented and aged in a variety of vessels - vats, foudre and old demi-muid barrels - before being transferred to bottle for secondary fermentation. Beautiful florals and redcurrants on the nose leading to a racy palate choc-full of wild raspberry, cranberry, fresh woody herbs and a long, dry finish. Pair with tuna tartare or salmon rillettes.
Varietal / Blend: Pinot Meunier
Decant: Not necessary
Farming Practices: Biodynamic
The ripples created by the young Aurèlien Laherte, since he joined his family’s Estate in 2002 have now grown into fully fledged waves.
They are based in Chavot, where most of their vines are situated, but they also have some parcels in other villages of the Coteaux Sud area as well some tiny holdings in the Côte des Blancs and the Marne Valley. In total they have some 10 hectares broken up into an amazing 75 parcels.
The distinctive, geologically complex terroir of Chavot and the Coteaux Sud d’Épernay in general is very different to the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims areas where most other growers are based, and the style of wine is creamier and with more fruit generosity (to generalise). It’s a deliciously textured and yet racy style of Champagne.
The vineyard practices at Laherte Frères are impressive. Most of the Estate is biodynamically farmed with the exception of those vineyards that are too far away to do so (mainly those in the Côte des Blancs and the Marne Valley). These latter sites are still managed organically, with the soils cultivated and no herbicides or pesticides used. The high standards continue in the cellar. Aurèlien uses the traditional Coquard wooden Champagne presses. He has two of these (very unusual for an Estate of this small size), which allows him to press more quickly and also to keep small parcels separate. The wines are moved only by gravity. Fermentation occurs with natural yeast and more than 80 percent of the wine is fermented and matured in large foudres and old barriques (many 10+ years of age), as all Champagne once was pre the 1950s. Interestingly Aurèlien buys barrels from Benjamin Leroux (small world!) and the Liger-Belair family (of la Romanee fame).
Working with oak has a number of advantages including giving the grower the ability to have all of their different parcels fermented and matured separately. This focus on terroir expression, the use of traditional barrel ageing to help the wines express themselves, the meticulous viticulture along with the unique terroir of the Coteaux d’Épernay, are the keys to understanding these expressive and delicious wines.