Aurélien makes this crowd-pleaser blanc de blancs from mid-slope vineyards in Chavot and Epernay where the vines average 35 years of age. It comes from a blend of three different vintages and was oak-aged in a mix of foudres and barrels. The reserve wine helps give an extra richness and flesh to the wine – good weight of fruit on the palate, there is a nice play between a marrowy, protein quality, a structure that comes from the clayey and chalky soils, good tension and a brisk savoury depth. No dosage.
Laherte & Frères are based in Chavot-Courcourt just to the south of Epernay in an area that falls between the Côte des Blancs and Vallée de la Marne. In 2002 brothers Thierry and Christian, were joined by Thierry's son Aurélien who now heads the domaine and represents the seventh generation of the family to grow vines in the area. Aurélien is part of a dynamic young generation of vignerons making waves in Champagne and producing a fine array of terroir-driven champagnes, adopting a natural approach to viticulture. Along with his friend Raphaël Bérèche, Aurélien founded the Terres et Vins group of champagne producers in 2009, showcasing at a superb tasting every April the champagnes and vins clairs of the most recent harvest from a group of cutting-edge growers, including Agrapart, Chartogne-Taillet and Benoit Lahaye. They are a meticulous domaine where every action is carefully weighed and considered, and their philosophy essentially involves the infinite quest of looking for balance in their grapes, soils and vineyards. As they explain, 'we are constantly striving to highlight the true nature of our vines'. Aurélien learned from his father that you have to take the time to do things well and that being a vine-grower means remaining humble and patient. And so they keep old vines (in some parcels up to 70yo) which all come from sélection massale plantings, they have a team of ten employees, train the vines high for optimum maturity, vinify separate cuvées from individual plots, work with two 4000 kilo Coquard presses to ensure that grapes can always be pressed at the optimal moment, use natural yeasts for the first fermentation, taste all cuvées every year before deciding whether to block or carry out malolactics, oak (80%) or cuve age their wines, and use minimal dosage.