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Laherte Frères, Champagne, France

Laherte Fréres
Chavot, Champagne

A wonderful Grower-Producer of Natural Champagne from Chavot, a small village on the southern slopes of Épernay with vineyards in Côteaux sud d’Epernay, Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs. 

The Laherte estate was founded in 1889 by Jean-Baptiste Laherte. Today, the 10-hectare of vineyards are run by the two Laherte brothers, as well as Thierry’s son, Aurélien who represents the 5th generation and has been giving a new dimension to the estate since 2004. 

The Philosophy: The Laherte Freres philosophy is centered on the goal of stewarding the purest expression of terroir by letting the soil and plant grow naturally and harvesting the grapes when maturity reaches its phenolic optimum. All vineyards are organically and biodynamically farmed, the vineyards are propagated via selection massale. Fermentations are totally natural. Single Parcel Vinification is practiced to express true terroir and the vinification process is totally focused on preserving the fruit and minerality from the soil. 

The Vineyards: The Laherte Freres estate covers more than 10 hectares within the Champagne region and spreads over three clearly delimited areas: 

  • mainly on the southern slopes of Épernay with Chavot, Épernay, Vaudancourt, Moussy, Mancy and Morangis vineyards, planted with the three Champagne grape varieties, 
  • the Côte des Blancs with the Vertus and Voipreux vineyards, planted with 1er Cru Chardonnay 
  • the Vallée de la Marne with the Le Breuil and Boursault vineyards, planted with the Meunier grape variety. 

The wonderful patchwork of soils in their vineyard which includes more than 75 parcels and 10 Champagne vineyards offers many creative opportunities and allows Laherte Freres to make the most of their Terroir. Today, all the family members are working hand in hand to preserve this precious Terroir passed on by their forefathers and try to create wines that are just like them – pure, sincere, and authentic.  Oak aging for more than 25 years: they own several foudres from their ancestors and buy barrels, mostly from renowned estates in Burgundy.  Today, they are one of the few estates to vinify more than 80% of their wines in barrels. 

The Wines: 

Brut Ultra-tradition 

  • From the Côteaux sud d’Epernay, Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs 
  • 60% Pinot Meunier, 30 Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir 
  • 40% of which are reserve wines of past years kept in barrels. 
  • Selected parcels from 7 villages in Côte des Blancs and Vallée de la Marne. 
  • Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in foudres, tanks and barrels with regular stirring of the lees. Malolactic fermentation partly made. 
  • Dosage: 5 to 7 gr/l 

Les Empreintes Millesimé 

  • Blending of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which come from our oldest plots. 
  • The yields are naturally very limited and the date of the harvest is an important element to obtain a great aromatic presence and a perfect balance between sugar and acidity which are important for the ageing of the wine. 

The Rosé de Saignée 

  • 100% Pinot Meunier from plots situated in “Les Beaudiers”. 
  • However, there are a few Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Fromenteau vine stocks in those parcels. Terroir de Chavot. Plots planted in 1953, 1958, and 1965. 
  • Short pruning for limited production; this is manual and careful work with regular plowing to obtain healthy grapes.  
  • Clay and silty soils, not very deep, with a little of flints and little stones. Chalky subsoils. 
  • Vinification: Destemming and maceration for 12 to 16 hours depending on the years. 
  • Alcoholic fermentation (with natural yeast) in barrels, aged of 4 years minimum. No malolactic fermentation. 
  • Dosage: 0-5 Gr/l (Extra-brut) 

Les 7 

Our ancestors already cultivated the vine many centuries ago. Working methods and grape varieties were different at that time. However, we found those lost grape varieties again in our old plots and we have decided to recreate a former plot to taste a wine of Champagne with the same taste as 250 years ago again.  

  • Vineyard: parcel was planted by Thierry Laherte in 2003. Terroir of Chavot. 
  • Varietals: 10% Fromenteau, 8% Arbanne, 14% Pinot Noir, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Blanc, 18% Pinot Meunier,15% Petit Meslier 
  • Vinification: Natural alcoholic fermentation in barrels from Burgundy (aged of 10 years minimum) 
  • Wine maturation during 6 months with regular stirring of the lees. No malolactic fermentation. 
  • Blending of several years, such as a solera: 60% of wines of the year are added to 40% of reserve wines (kept since the first harvest). 
  • Dosage: 4 Gr/l or no dosage

Les Vignes d’Autrefois 

  • The selected plots have been planted by our forefathers between 1947 and 1953. Since that time, many grape harvests have taken place and many generations followed one another to preserve this patrimony and keep all the qualities of these old vine stocks of Pinot Meunier. Some have been planted on franc vine stock; others are the result of selection massale. 
  • 100 % Pinot Meunier. However, there are a few Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vine stocks in those parcels. 
  • Village de Chavot : La Potote, Les Rouges Maisons. Clay and silty soils, quite deep, with a presence of flints and little stones. Chalky subsoils. 
  • Village of Mancy : Les Hautes Norgeailles, Les Bas putroux. Clay soils with a little silt stratum in surface. Chalky subsoil. 
  • Vinification: Grapes are picked up by hand when fully ripen, and traditionally pressed 
  • Alcoholic fermentation in barrels from Burgundy (aged of 4 years minimum) 
  • Ageing during 6 months with regular stirring of the lees, No malolactic fermentation 
  • Disgorging: « à la volée » (by hand) 
  • Dosage at 2-4 Gr/l (Extra-brut)