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Intro: Vallee de la Marne, Champagne

Lamiable are based in Tours-sur-Marne, and have six hectares of Grand Cru vines just to the north of the river on a due south facing hillside. Jean-Pierre Lamiable is also a doctor specializing in sports medicine, who used to look after high level athletes preparing for the Olympics. He has now largely handed over the estate to his two daughters Ophélie and Orianne. At 45yo their vines are very old (which is extremely rare in Champagne where most vines are dug up and replaced as soon as they pass their maximum production point when just 20yo), all planted via massale selection on fine rootstocks. The pinot noir here always tastes much lighter on its feet than in say Bouzy or the Montagne de Reims, and the secondary fermentation is carried out with just 22 g/l helping to give a very delicate mousse. It’s thus a perfect aperitif champagne.

We are also delighted to represent renowned growers Laherte & Frères who are based in Chavot just to the south of Epernay in an area that falls between the Côte des Blancs and Vallée de la Marne. Run by brothers Thierry and Christian, since 2002 they have been assisted by Thierry’s son Aurélien who represents the seventh generation of the family to grow vines in the area. They have ten hectares of vines split into no less than 75 parcels of vines in ten different villages, although 81% are within five minutes drive of Chavot. Pinot Meunier accounts for 61.29% of all productive vines in the Marne valley, and interestingly Laherte’s main champagne Ultradition includes 60% Pinot Meunier.

They are a meticulous domaine where every action is carefully weighed and considered. They have a really good website where they set out their philosophy which essentially involves the infinite quest of looking for balance in their grapes, soils and vineyards. As they explain, ’Aurélien understood from his father that the estate’s true philosophy lies in taking the time to do things well. Being a vinegrower means remaining humble and patient.’ And so they keep old vines (in some parcels up to 70yo) which all come from massale selection plantings, they have a team of ten employees, use vinegrowing techniques based on sustainable and wherever possible bio-dynamic precepts, train the vines high for optimum maturity, vinify separate cuvées from separate villages and micro-climates, 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, and taste all cuvées every year before deciding whether to block or carry out malolactics. We stock an excellent range from them (augmented this year by a superb blanc de blancs and a Rose de Meunier that is a pure pleasure) and comes very highly recommended.

Organic & Bio-dynamic

See our list of organic and bio-dynamic growers.