MCF Rare Wine
A Lovely, Singular Champagne from Laherte
So, I know I've discussed this before - my feeling that, despite how much of an embarrassment of riches the 'Grower' Champagne movement offers all of us, the sheer breadth of producers can be both overwhelming and impossible to keep up with.
Since so many of these tiny producers are committed (and rightfully/admirably so) to the singularity of varietal, vintage and terroir in Champagne, when you factor in the number individual wines from each producer, it gets even more bewildering.
Certain growers, like today's Laherte Freres, offer enough wines by themselves that I have a hard time deciding which, if any, of them I should work with.
But, every so often, I encounter one that just grabs me, and today's wine is definitely one of those.
While Aurélien Laherte works with all three varietals across the dozen or so wines he produces, a decent chunk of his vineyards are down in 'Meunier Country' in the Vallée de la Marne.
In fact, when I think of Laherte, I think Pinot Meunier and I consider them Meunier savants, if you will, crafting wines that put its dark, tangy, vinous character front and center, without letting it lose its focus.
BUT, just a few weeks ago, I tasted a relative newcomer to the lineup, the Extra Brut 'Les Longues Voyes' ('The Long Way') from the lazer-beam 2013 vintage.
It's the first Blanc de Noirs of Laherte's to be 100% Pinot Noir. Whitney (Polaner Selections' French Portfolio Manager/Champagne Sage), mentioned that fact as she was pouring me a taste, so before I even took a whiff, my attention was already 'grabbed' - I was very intrigued to see what a 100% Pinot Noir from Laherte would taste like.
The wine went racing past my expectations almost instantly. The deep, hyper-fragrant, intensely focused and beguilingly vinous style that all Laherte wines show was running full steam, but that tangier, more exotic fruit you expect from one of his Meunier-dominant Blanc de Noirs, wasn't there.
In its stead was a lithe, misty, perfectly balanced medley of ethereal berry fruit that hung on a frame of delicately savory nuance and spine-tingling acidity. The very subtle nutty/oxidative personality at the edges launched the whole thing into orbit.
It was unmistakably Laherte, and unmistakably Pinot Noir.
After taking a moment, I looked up...
'How many cases can I get?!" is all I said.
Whitney's eyes got a little wide and she took a breath and I could tell she was in one of those situations where she had to walk the tightrope between letting an enthusiastic customer have at it with a tiny production wine and making sure she saved some to go around.
I'm happy and grateful to say she made enough of it happen that I could share it with all of you, so...you should really take advantage of it...
I know we're still a month off, but...Thanksgiving Champagne...like for the meal, not just for the apps!
To inquire about this wine, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.255.8870.
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10011