The Laherte family pride themselves on wines that reflect the power of the unique terroir of the Coteaux d’Epernay. As winemakers, Thierry and his son Aurelien are innovative and precise, and this shows in their wines. With 75 parcels in 10 villages, they have an impressive palette of grapes from which to create their masterpieces.
3 Rue des Jardins, Chavot-Courcourt +33 3 26 54 32 09
The father and son winemakers, Thierry and Aurelien, are creative and inspired, and it shows in their wines. Each cuvee is terroir driven and speaks of the unique landscape of the Coteaux d’Epernay. You’ll find intense aromas and remarkable depth of flavour in these wines.
Laherte Freres Brut Ultradition
60% Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. The must of each variety is fermented separately in vats and barrels. Partial malolactic fermentation. 40% of the blend is reserve wines from barrel. The wine ages for 6 months and dosage is 7-8g/L.
Laherte Freres Blanc de Blancs Ultradition
100% Chardonnay from the best vineyards in the south of Epernay. The minerality of the wine shines through in this pure expression of Chardonnay. Fermentation takes place in barrels and foudres, with batonnage throughout. Partial malolactic fermentation. The blend includes 50% of reserve wines from barrel. The wine is aged for 6 months and dosage is 5-7g/L.
Laherte Freres Rose Ultradition
50% Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay, 8-12% estate-made red wine. Fermentation occurs in vats, foudres and barrels. Partial malolactic fermentation. 40% of the blend is reserve wine from barrels. The wine ages for 6 months, and dosage is 7-8.5g/L.
Laherte Freres Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature
100% Chardonnay from the best vineyards in the south slopes of Epernay and the Cote des Blancs. Fermentation takes place in barrels and foudres with batonnage throughout. Partial malolactic fermentation. The blend includes 50% of reserve wines from barrel. The wine is aged for 6 months and no dosage is added.
Laherte Freres Millesime
85% Chardonnay, 15% Meunier. Made only in the best years, this vintage wine uses the oldest Laherte vines. Fermentation occurs in oak barrels (approximately 40% are new) and the wine ages for six months on the lees. There is no malolactic fermentation. Dosage is low at 2.5-4.5g/L.
Laherte Freres Rose de Saignee Les Beaudiers
100% Meunier. These vines were planted in 1953, 1958 and 1965, and are farmed biodynamically. Following destemming, the grapes are macerated for 12-16 hours. Fermentation is initiated by natural yeasts, and takes place in barrels with a minimum of 4 years of age. There is no malolactic fermentation. The wine ages for 6 months and has a dosage of 0-5g/L.
Laherte Freres Les Grappes Dorees
100% Chardonnay. Formerly known as ‘La Pierre de la Justice’, this is a single-vineyard wine from the Premier Cru village of Voipreux in the south of the Cote des Blancs. Vinification takes place entirely in tank, with partial malolactic fermentation. A non-vintage wine, this is blended with 30-40% reserve wines and has a dosage of 7-8g/L.
Laherte Freres Les 7
18% Chardonnay, 18% Meunier, 17% Pinot Blanc, 15% Petit Meslier, 14% Pinot Noir, 10% Fromenteau (Pinot Gris), 8% Arbanne. Fermentation using natural yeasts takes place in 10-year-old Burgundy barrels, with no malolactic fermentation. The wines ages on its lees for 6 months, with regular stirring. The wine from the harvest is blended with 40% reserve wines kept since the first vintage. The dosage is 4g/L, and the family often make a non-dose version too.
Laherte Freres Les Vignes d’Autrefois
100% Meunier from the villages of Chavot and Mancy. The poetic name (which translates as ‘the Vines of Yesteryear’) refers to the age of the vines, planted between 1947 and 1964. Fermentation takes place in Burgundian barrels aged at least 4 years. The wine stays on the lees and is regularly stirred for six months. No malolactic fermentation. Dosage is 2-4g/L.
Laherte Freres Les Empreintes
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir (in earlier releases, the blend contained approximately 20% of Meunier). This wine is the Laherte family’s ode to the terroir of Chavot – it is the archetypal expression of that land. Fermentation takes place with natural yeasts in 10-year-old barrels from Burgundy. Malolactic fermentation does not occur. The wine ages for 6 months with regular stirring of the lees and has zero dosage.
Laherte Freres La Troisieme Vie
100% Meunier. A Coteaux Champenois, and a new wine to the Laherte range. Its name (meaning ‘the Third Life’) references the three styles of Meunier made at the estate – the first two being blanc de noirs and rose champagnes, and the third is this still red wine. The grapes come from the villages of Chavot and Vaudancourt from old vines planted in 1951, 1957 and 1959.
Jean-Baptiste Laherte founded the house in 1889 and sold his grapes to other houses. Several generations later, Michel Laherte doubled the size of their vineyard holdings from the original 5 hectares, and started bottling their own estate wines. His sons Christian and Thierry have continued this tradition. In 2002, Thierry’s son Aurelien joined them as the seventh generation to continue the family tradition.
Laherte Freres is based in a small and relatively unknown commune of Chavot in the Coteaux d’Epernay, which is one of the reasons their wines are so fascinating. The Laherte family have taken the time to pay close attention to the particular soil types in their vineyards and to adjust the viticulture practices they use to ensure the best representation of these unfamiliar areas.
Their 10.5 hectares are divided amongst 75 parcels spread over 10 villages. Most of their holdings can be found in the villages of Chavot, Epernay, Vaudancourt, Moussy, Mancy and Mourangis. They also have Chardonnay planted in the Premier Cru villages of Vertus and Voipreux in the Cote des Blancs, and parcels of Meunier in the Vallee de la Marne villages of Le Breuil and Boursault.
Many of these vineyards benefit from vines with an average age of over 30 years, and several are older than 60 years. More than 500 of these vines are grown on ungrafted rootstocks. Additionally, the family have a small plot, Les Clos in Chavot, planted with all seven of the permitted champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier, Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc and Fromenteau (Pinot Gris). These are blended together for a unique cuvee, called ‘Les 7’.
Five of the 10 hectares of vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since 2005. They would like to convert all their land to biodynamic cultivation, but given the distance between some of the plots, it’s not feasible to do. The remaining 5 hectares, however, are farmed organically without chemical fertilizers or herbicides, but they are not certified.
Despite being listed as a Negociant Manipulant, Laherte Freres do not buy grapes, and only use the crop from estate-owned vineyards. However, since each of the family members - Christian, Thierry, Aurelien and Laurence (Aurelien’s mother) - individually own their own vineyards, they acquire grapes from each other, hence their classification.
In the winery, the grapes are pressed by two traditional Coquard presses, but they are not wedded to tradition for its own sake. The family varies their winemaking approach depending on the grapes and the vintage. Each plot is vinified separately, so that the site characteristics may be fully expressed.
Approximately 70% of the production is fermented in barrel, but this could be large ‘foudres’ or smaller barrels. Laherte use two coopers - one from Champagne, the other from St-Romain in Burgundy - and they prefer a light toast for the barrels. Natural yeasts are used for the older wines, while the younger ones are inoculated. Malolactic fermentation may or may not occur, but when it does, it is usually in the Meunier wines.