New Releases From Laherte Frères
The Grower movement has injected energy and perspective into the venerable region of Champagne.
This has opened up a niche in the market for grape farmers. They're now able to make their own wines, which has allowed us in-depth views of vineyards full of enthralling styles never before explored.
Few of these producers have captured our hearts and palates like the industrious Aurélien Laherte. Based in the village Chavot-Courcourt (in the producer-defined sub-region of Coteaux Sud d’Epernay) his family has been growing grapes and producing excellent wine for generations.
Tucked between Le Grande Vallée and Côte de Blanc this is probably the most varied terroir for a single village anywhere in Champagne. Aurélien has identified 27 types of terroir, consisting of a combination of north, east, and west-facing slopes.
The terroir shows different gradients, with a myriad of soils as diverse as chalk, heavy clay, limestone, and alluvial.
He farms 45 parcels. When blended into his non-vintage cuvées, the terroir imbues them with incredible complexity.
But, like many of his contemporaries--including best friend Raphaël Bérêche--when Aurélien inherited the family vines in 2002, he decided to do things a little differently. He promptly converted to biodynamic practices and expanded the lineup.
Now he includes an array of his favorite parcels, bottled individually, often as single varietal and vintage wines. These changes achieve the goal of expressing these individual sites.
He has a true passion for his terroir and creating ever more vinous Champagne. Aurélien makes wines of power and whimsy, decadence and tension.
Maybe it is because of terroir, or his inquisitive nature, maybe it was his training with Antoine Sélosse, or maybe he is simply one of the best vignerons in Champagne.
No matter the reason, his wines are exquisite.
Tasting notes from Antonio Galloni at Vinous Media.
“The 2016 Extra Brut Vignes d’Autrefois is 100% Meunier from vines planted in 1947 and 1964 done in neutral oak. Bright and vibrant in the glass, the 2016 offers a compelling interplay of Meunier richness with striking layers of intense minerality that open over time. Sweet floral notes add inner perfume and the closing flourishes of finesse. This is such a gorgeous wine. Dosage is 2-4 grams per liter. Disgorged: February, 2020. 95pts” -- AG
“The 2016 Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs Les Longues Voyes 1er Cru is a dense, powerful Champagne built on vertical intensity. The dark, brooding side of Pinot emerges as the Longues Voyes starts to open in the glass. There is a real sense of gravitas here. Pear, white flowers, spice and almond are all nicely woven together. Even with all of that intensity, the 2016 retains gorgeous aromatic lift and freshness. I would give it a year or two in the cellar, as it is very tight. The Les Longues Voyes sees relatively long aging in barrel of 18 months. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. Disgorged: February, 2020. 94pts” -- AG