The Lahertes at work

Laherte Frères

VigneronAurélien, Thierry and Christian Laherte
LocationChavot-Courcourt (Marne)
Size of Domaine10 ha
TerroirContinental climate with Oceanic influence. Clay-limestone, silt, flint over chalk bedrock. Gentle slopes. 150-190m altitude.
ViticultureSoils are ploughed, no herbicide or insecticide. Sulphur and copper against mildew/oidium although fungicide might be used in case of extreme pressure. Use of plant-based and biodynamic preparations.
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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.

Our wines show more influence of clay than those in the Côte des Blancs, yet they are chalkier than those of the rest of the Vallée de la Marne
89 Vine Trail LAHERTE FRÈRES Growers Page 1 0
Aurélien Laherte

The family have 10ha of vines split into no less than 75 parcels in ten different villages, although 81% are within five minutes’ drive of Chavot. Aurélien identifies no less than 27 terroirs in Chavot. "Our wines show more influence of clay than those in the Côte des Blancs, yet they are chalkier than those of the rest of the Vallée de la Marne", remarks Aurélien. In order to preserve these fine-grained nuances of terroir they are all pressed separately. Pinot meunier accounts for 61.29% of all productive vines in the Marne valley, and not surprisingly Laherte’s main champagne Ultradition includes 60% pinot meunier.

Aged on nourishing lees

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. Viticulture was officially organic from 2010 but mildew devastated the crop in 2016, fungicide was used and the certification dropped. Nowadays the work is tailored to each parcel's needs, the soils are ploughed during Spring but Aurélien plans to reduce this to the minimum to increase organic matter, plant-based infusions are used to fight oidium and biodynamic preparations (500, 501) are sprayed for fertility and vigour.

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 4000kg 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.

03_Vine_Trail_Laherte_16_9_1_0 Winter in Chavot-Courcourt

Laherte Frères Wines

Laherte Frères

60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

This is a subtle amalgam of the domaine’s holdings. Based on the 2015 vintage (60%) and 2014 (40%), the wine was initially aged both in cuve and oak (foudres and fûts 3-15yo) and 60% of the malos were completed. It was given 22 months bottle age and disgorged with 6.5g/l dosage in May 2019. On the nose this gives complex notes of citrus zest, fresh baked bread, chalky tones and floral aromas typical of a cuvée based around pinot meunier. There are good depth of juicy berries with saline notes on the palate, a supple texture and refreshing finish. A serious and complex wine for the price, perfect for the apéritif, it will also compliment many types of food.

Laherte Frères

Brut Nature
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Aurélien makes this crowd-pleaser blanc de blancs from mid-slope vineyards in Chavot and Epernay where the vines average 35yo. It comes from a blend of 50% 2016, 35% 2015 and 15% 2014 and was oak aged in a mix of foudres and barrels with no malos. 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. Disgorged 11/19 - Non dosé.

Laherte Frères

100% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

This is one of the newest cuvée made by Aurélien from 25-40yo vines planted in limestone clay soil and has been made from equal parts 2016 and 2015, with 60% white wine, 30% rosé de macération and 10% red wine all from meunier grapes. It was disgorged in May 2019 with a 2.5g/l dosage. It is a beautiful rosé with incredibly attractive delicate red fruits, a touch of pepper and a saline freshness on the finish. As well as being excellent on its own, its structure (thanks to the perfectly judged blend) makes it extremely versatile with food. A strong effort from Aurélien who has also designed beautiful, colourful and eye-catching labels.

Laherte Frères

100% Pinot Meunier (12.5% alc.)

'Les Vignes d'Autrefois' refers to the venerable age of the vines, indeed the Laherte family uses four parcels planted between 1947 and 1964 in the villages of Chavot and Mancy. Made entirely from the 2014 vintage and aged in 4-12yo barrels with malos not completed, it was disgorged by hand in January 2020 with a 3g/l dosage. Very terroir on the nose rather than varietal and fruit-driven, it has sculpted, incisive citrus and floral notes on the palate, sustained gorgeous fruit and marked salivation on a long finish.

Laherte Frères

50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)

This cuvée is designed to exhibit just how good the terroir of Chavot can be. Here the pinot noir is planted in rich clay, and the 55yo chardonnay in chalk. The still wine was originally aged in 3-5yo barrels with no malos; the fruit is delicious showing tangerine, papaya and hints of ginger, all the time beautifully underlined by a striking mineral quality, with outstanding length and energy. Disgorged 01/20 - Dosage 4g/l.

Laherte Frères

100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

Aurélien selected two chalky (crayères) west-facing parcels (40 and 60yo) where the particularly shallow topsoil (20cm) lies over a deep strata of Campanian limestone (Cretaceous period as in the Côte des Blancs). The absence of malo emphasises the wine’s chiselled and 'aérien' qualities, it’s fine and poised on the palate with impressive balance, racy acids, and fine chalk-infused bitters that drive a long sapid finish. Disgorged 01/18 - Dosage 4g/l.

Laherte Frères

Brut Nature
18% Pinot Meunier, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Blanc, 15% Petit Meslier, 14% Pinot Noir, 10% Fromenteau, 8% Arbanne (12.5% alc.)

The idea here was not only combining many indigenous varieties, but also many different vintages – a unique champagne made from a solera system (or perpetual reserve) started in 2005 of seven older Burgundy barrels from which reserve wines are pulled off annually, they are bottled with wines of the year and represent 40% of the blend. The young vines here were co-planted by Thierry Laherte in 2002 and are tended biodynamically, the grapes are picked and pressed together. The current bottling is based on the 2015 vintage (60%), it is a complex and harmonious champagne, with a mix of chalky stone and truffle on the nose, subtle, stretched and restrained with savoury, earthy notes on the finish – a unique glimpse in Champagne's past and future. Disgorged 02/18 - Non dosé.

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