Laherte Frères – Épernay
Laherte Frères was founded in the nineteenth century with current winemaker Aurélien representing the 7th Generation. They own nine hectares of land spread over ten communes and an astonishing seventy different parcels. Vineyards are currently farmed biodynamically or are in the process of conversion. The family holdings are mainly located around Épernay, nearby Chavot (where the winery is located), Moussy and Vaudancourt. In addition, they own parcels in the Côte des Blancs and the Marne Valley. They cultivate all three main varieties with Pinot Meunier very well represented as one would expect given the local terroir. Primary ferments are mostly in wood – small barrels and foudres – with only partial malolactic and 6 months lees aging before secondary ferment. Dosage is kept low and each wine is carefully crafted to see the varieties used best exploit the estate’s patchwork of fine terroir.
Their entry-level wine, the Brut Ultradition NV is a blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir with 40% reserve wines (aged in barrique). The Extra Brut is composed of the same blend with dosage of 4 g/l. The 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs Ultradition NV is from the best south facing slopes of Chavot & Épernay, 50% reserve wines from barrel and dosage of 5g/l. The Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature is also 50% reserve wines, bottled without dosage and expressing wonderfully the chalk and clay soils of the Coteaux Sud Épernay. The elegant minerality of the Blancs Les Grappes Dorées comes from the chalky soil and the excellent maturity brings rich flavours and complex structure. Dosage 8.5 g/l. The Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Nature comes from vines in Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant. Composed of 70% aged reserve wines it is bottled with zero dosage. The Rosé de Meunier Extra Brut is 100% Meunier – 60% vinified off the skins, 30% saignée and 10% still red wine – bottles with 2.5 g/l dosage. Les Empreintes 2012 is blend of 50% Pinot Noir from Les Chemins d’Epernay planted in 1957 and 50% Chardonnay ( 1/3 Chardonnay Muscaté) from Les Rouges Maisons, both in Chavot, planted in 1957 and 1983 respectively. Dosage is 3g/l The estate makes five single vineyard cuvées. The Les Beaudiers Rosé de Saignée is 100% Pinot Meunier from Chavot plots planted in 1953, 1958, and 1965. Macerated for 12 to 14 hours, alcoholic fermentation with natural yeast in barrel and no malolactic fermentation. Les Longues Voyes Blanc de Noir 1er Cru 2012 is 100% Pinot Noir from the limestone subsoils of the Montagne de Reims. Aged for 18 months on lees in barrel and bottled with 3.5g/l dosage. Aurélien’s other Blanc de Noirs is Les Vigne d’Autrefois. 100% Pinot Meunier from old vines on selected plots planted between 1947 and 1953 including some ungrafted vines. A small portion of interplanted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Fromenteau (Pinot Gris) is included. The newest release is Les Grands Crayères 1er Cru Extra Brut – 100% Chardonnay from massale selection of old and new rootstock from the particular and complex Terroir of Les Coteaux Sud d’Épernay. Dosage 4g/l Les 7 comes from a vineyard planted by Thierry, Aurélien’s father in 2003 to access the blend and flavours of times gone by. All 7 Varieties – 10% Pinot Gris, 18% Chardonnay, 18% Meunier, 15% Petit Meslier, 8% Arbanne, 14% Pinot Noir and 17% Pinot Blanc are co-picked and co-fermented with no malolactic fermentation. Blending of several years, in a partial solera/perpetual reserve, 60% of wines of these years are added to 40% of reserve wines (solera 2005-2015).