Vincent in the Vines.

New Releases from Vincent Laval.

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It might seem counterintuitive, but there’s a school of thought amongst some wine lovers that very fine Champagne represents good value in comparison to equivalent wine from other prestigious regions. Yes behemoth Champagne négociants drive up the prices of their luxury brands, but Champagne is also costly to produce, requiring extensive labor and long periods of sur lie aging. While the wines of Domaine Georges Laval in Cumières are, by most folks’ standards, expensive, we’d like to assert that they are good values, that you should buy them with gusto, and mention them in the same breath as your favorite Grand and 1er Cru Burgundies. In terms of vineyard land (2.5 hectares) and total bottle production, Laval is as tiny as they come in Champagne, often producing less than 10,000 bottles per year. The Lavals have been farming organically since the early ‘70s, when Georges Laval began to trade parcels with his neighbors to create contiguity in the vineyards – necessary for a vigneron who works organically in a region where heavy chemical use is standard practice. Today the Domaine is in the hands of Georges’ son Vincent Laval, who does the vineyard and cellar work essentially single-handedly.

A recent dinner at which we tasted (read: drank) all the Laval Champagne we could get our hands on confirmed for us that these Champagnes are truly special. Due to long-time organic vineyard work, the base material is of incredible quality, and the result is an impressive sense of terroir and minerality that brings Burgundy to mind. Cumières in the southern Montagne de Reims is a warm microclimate and Laval’s wines are typically harvested very ripe. First fermentations take place with native yeast, and the vins clairs are aged in barrel. Often there’s a lightly oxidative base note to the aromas and flavors that makes these wines sensations at the table, particularly when paired with rich, savory food. For the most part, Laval releases his wines without dosage, and they feel just right this way, as though sugar would be an odd supplement. Barrel aging, warm sites, and organic vineyard work help these wines carry their dryness with grace and aplomb.

2010 base Cumières showed very well at our dinner. It’s more delicate, crisp, chalky, and laser-like than the two previous releases, and makes a beautiful accompaniment to oysters. Today we are also thrilled to offer the exceedingly rare single vineyard wines from Laval: “Les Chênes” – Chardonnay from a warm, extremely chalky, mid-slope site, and “Les Hautes-Chèvres” – Pinot Noir and Meunier grown on dark, clay soil with chalk further from the surface. Always stunning, we are especially excited about these wines in the 2008 vintage, one of the best and most age-worthy vintages in recent memory for Champagne. In composing this offer, we observe that sometimes the wines closest to our hearts are the hardest to write about. These wines are extremely rare and they don’t come cheap, but we truly believe they are worth every penny.  Santé! -Sophie

  • white sparkling
  • 10 in stock
  • no discount
  • $39.99

  • Organic
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Laval, Georges NV (2010 Base) Champagne Cumières Premier Cru Brut Nature

Domaine Georges Laval is the epitome of a tiny, artisan estate. The estate is just 2.5 hectares in the 1er Cru village of Cumières, close to Ambonnay and Bouzy but with full southern exposition. Vincent Laval makes a miniscule amount of extremely terroir-driven wine (we are one of the few places in NY offering Laval). The estate has been organic since 1971 and is certified with Ecocert. Fermentation takes place in barrel with indigenous yeasts; there is no fining, filtration or cold-stabilization, and minimal use of sulfur. It is 50% Chardonnay and then split between Pinot Noir and Meunier. This edition of the Cumières is based on the steely 2010 vintage. The wine smells like delicate wildflower honey and fresh cut grass. It's extremely mineral-driven and resonant on the palate, and very chalky on the finish. Brut Nature Champagne lovers dream come true... (disgorged April 2013)  MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $84.99

  • Organic

Laval, Georges 2008 Champagne Cumières Premier Cru Les Chênes

Some wines are simply expressions of great terroir. If there’s a case to be made for particular Champagne vineyards being counted world class then Laval’s Les Chênes will be a part of that conversation. 100% Chardonnay, the 2008 Brut Nature keeps airy lightness and mineral power with an understated and graceful tension that morphs with time in a glass.

 

Micro-bubbles star an opulent golden color and carry up aromas of spearmint, honeysuckle, lemon blossom, sage, vanilla bean, black tea, and molasses. The palate floats and shifts effortlessly to offer tart Macintosh apple, Seville orange marmalade, and Graham crackers towards a caraway seed, all spice, and lemon mint finish. A gift for the contemplative sipper. David Salinas

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $164.99

  • Organic