Chavot under a blanket of snow.

They Just Keep Getting Better: Laherte Frères Champagnes

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We’ve been following the progress of Laherte Frères Champagnes with keen interest for several years, since we had the good fortune to meet the talented Aurélian Laherte at a trade show in Italy. We’re drawn to these wines for their intense acidity, their long, mineral-laden finishes, and the variety of cuvées offered by this excellent Domaine. We find distinction and personality in these wines, which is crucial. (There’s a lot of Champagne out there.) We admire the eagerness with which Aurélian, seventh generation winemaker at Laherte Frères, constantly strives to improve in the vineyard and cellar, efforts that we can taste in the wines. Presently half of Laherte’s ten hectares are farmed biodynamically and half are farmed organically. Old barrels and native yeasts preside in the cellar. Aurélian Laherte certainly shares our convictions about what makes great wine. Just back from Champagne and a very chilly visit to Laherte Frères, we’re happy to report that these wines just keep getting better. 

Laherte Frères are truly “grower” in spirit and mentality, though technically classified as a négociant because the various participating family members sell grapes to one another. Located in the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay, the area just south of Epernay between the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs, Laherte Frères farms an incredible number of micro-terroirs with something like 75 parcels in total. The Coteaux Sud d’Epernay has the good fortune to feature both chalk and clay soils; the chalk imparts shelly aromas and porous, mouth-coating minerals to the wines; the clay gives ripe and supple flavors and textures to the wines. It’s a dynamite combination and we love the way Laherte Frères shepherds these soil types into the bottle. We find the “house style” at Laherte Frères to be wonderfully earthy with abundant rustic charm.

Even for Champagnes, these wines are particularly acid-driven. Aurélian prefers low dosages and the majority of the cuvées receive six grams or less. One of our favorite offerings from Laherte Frères, the Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, receives no dosage at all and has delightful transparency and a delicious, zippy, rocky freshness that suits our tastes just fine. Laherte Frères does especially fine work with Pinot Meunier and typically the Meuniers (unlike Laherte’s other cuvées) undergo maloloactic fermentation, which complements the full, ripe, generous character of the grape. Laherte’s Rosé de Saignée from old vine Meunier is a favorite at Chambers Street.  And let us not forget Laherte’s “Les Clos,” recently renamed “Les 7,” as refined an example of an ancient variety Champagne as we’ve tried featuring Fromonteau (Pinot Gris), Arbanne, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Petit Meslier, which are co-harvested and co-fermented.  The wine is a “perpetual cuvèe,” like a solera, which means any given bottling comprises every vintage since the first: 2005. Stunning. Salut! -Sophie

Laherte Frères NV Champagne Brut Ultradition .375 ml

60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay that doesn't go through malolactic fermentation, along with 10% Pinot Noir. There is a delicate red fruit quality — pale plums — but otherwise the high-toned Chardonnay comes through with a delightful lemon tone. Earthy salinity and minerals lead to a dry, mouth-watering finish. A large percentage of Meunier gives this Champagne a broad, rich, earthy character that matches very well with Beau Soleil oysters and Caviar. MSB

  • white sparkling
  • 8 in stock
  • no discount
  • $23.99

  • Organic

Laherte Frères 2007 Champagne Extra Brut Les Empreintes Disg. 02/12

This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, with some of the Chardonnay in the blend a rare strain called Chardonnay "Muscaté," which is marked by the exotic flavors of the Muscat grape. These vines of Chardonnay "Muscaté" are very old and massale selected, planted by Aurélian Laherte's grandfather. This wine offers delightful notes of anise, citrus zest, and foxy white flowers on the nose, yet it's a subtle wine with the chalkiness of the soil speaking loudly on the finish, which shows citrus pith and an intriguing note of cherry red fruit. Bottled as an Extra Brut, the wine receives 4 grams dosage. (disgorged 2/12) MSB

  • white sparkling
  • 3 in stock
  • no discount
  • $74.99

  • Organic
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Laherte Frères NV Champagne Brut Ultradition

60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay that doesn't go through malolactic fermentation, along with 10% Pinot Noir. There is a delicate red fruit quality — pale plums — but otherwise the high-toned Chardonnay comes through with a delightful lemon tone. Earthy salinity and minerals lead to a dry, mouth-watering finish. A large percentage of Meunier gives this Champagne a broad, rich, earthy character that matches very well with Beau Soleil oysters and Caviar. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $45.99

  • Organic
  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $99.99

Laherte Frères NV Champagne Saignée Rosé Les Beaudiers Vieilles Vignes

Entirely Pinot Meunier, this is a notably unique rosé. It's incredibly vinous and is wine — serious wine — before it's rosé or Champagne. But as a saignée Champagne it has delicacy and poise, and yet is serious and structured. It's most curiously savory — our flavor associates included soft cheese, herbs, ferns, sausage, and spices. It is wonderfully dry with chalky minerality on the finish. Not a party Champagne, but one for serious consideration and engagement. Worth contemplation by any serious wine or Champagne lover. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $65.99

  • Organic

Laherte Frères NV Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut

I had to make a special request with the importer for this wine and I'm very excited it has finally arrived. From 30 year old vines, the Chardonnay that goes into this wine is grown on chalk and clay. Aurélian Laherte is fortunate to make wine in Chavot, south of Épernay, where the Côte des Blancs, the Montagne de Reims, and the Vallée de la Marne run together. Each of his wines is an exercise in Champagne terroir. This wine is aged in 3-15 year old barrels, uses indigenous yeast for the first fermentation, and does not go through malo-lactic fermentation. The result? A very dry, and super minerally Champagne with fine, lacy bubbles. Bring on the oysters! MSB

A staff favorite, this is the go-to Blanc de Blancs for a lean and food friendly Champagne. The nose is understated with notes of Meyer lemon, sage, and orange blossom. The palate offers a rush of freshness that carries aromas of white peaches, apricots through to a McIntosh apple finish.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $49.99

  • Organic

Laherte Frères NV Champagne Chavot "Les 7" Extra Brut

From the "Les Clos" parcel, this wine contains all seven legal Champagne grapes, field-blended, farmed biodynamically, and vinified in barrel as its own cuvée. The wine has lots of savory notes, hazelnuts, and the edgy rusticity of Pinot Meunier, which comes through in handsome spades. The fruit is rose-hip-red, and the wine finishes with textured, dry minerality. All our eyes got big and wide and happy when we tasted this! WOW. JBT

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $79.99

  • Organic

Laherte Frères NV Champagne Chavot Brut Rosé Ultradition OLD

Delicate, high-toned cherry fruit, subtle mousse notes of lemon peel and vermouth. Brisk with striking acidity and balanced tension, the wine has, nevertheless, a core of sweet, red fruit that makes it one of the more accessible in the lineup from Laherte. Laherte's wines across the board are high-acid with fresh mouth-watering finishes. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $46.99

  • Organic
  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $229.99

  • Organic