Chardonnay from Chavot and Epernay. Zero dosage, allowing the beautifully pure citrus fruits, salty minerality and chalkiness to shine. There is also white peach, almond and some brioche (from the oak) here. It's dry but really juicy with a lovely grip on a long finish.
Match with scallops seared in butter or pan fried whiting.
Varietal / Blend: Chardonnay
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.