Champagne Laherte Frères
Enter Laherte Freres, located in Coteaux Sud d’Épernay.
With a 10 hectare estate this grower Champagne producer is achieving great things.
Aurélien Laherte joined the family estate in 2002 and took over the vineyards and cellars in 2007.
Most of the vines are situated in Chavot with some other parcels in Coteaux Sud and a tiny amount in Côte des Blancs and the Marne Valley.
The distinctive, geologically complex terroir of Chavot and the Coteaux Sud d’Épernay in general is very different to the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims areas where other growers are based, and the style of wine is creamier and with more fruit generosity (to generalise). It’s a deliciously textured and yet racy style of Champagne.
Most of the vineyards are biodynamically farmed, no herbicides or pesticides are used.
80% of the wine is fermented and matured in large foudres and aged barriques.
The high standards continue in the cellar. Aurèlien uses the traditional Coquard wooden Champagne presses.
He has two of these (very unusual for an Estate of this small size), which allows him to press more quickly and also to keep small parcels separate. The wines are moved only by gravity.
Fermentation occurs with natural yeast and more than 80 percent of the wine is fermented and matured in large foudres and old barriques (many 10+ years of age), as all Champagne once was pre the 1950s. Interestingly Aurèlien buys barrels from Benjamin Leroux (small world!) and the Liger-Belair family (of la Romanee fame).
We've tried a couple of different Champagnes from this producer and they’ve been sensational including the Brut Nature.
“[The small village of Chavot, in the Coteaux Sud d’Épernay]... is also home to the Laherte family, whose 10ha estate is a model of what can be achieved in less well-known terroirs by careful study of the soil, a viticulture of the highest order, and precepts of winemaking that are the best sort of evolved tradition … In their rich variety, though the estate’s policy of separate bottlings from specific parcels, Burgundy comes to Champagne, and the true identity of the vine is revealed.”
Michael Edwards, The Finest Wines of Champagne