From: Champagne, France
Blend: Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir
Taste & Critical Acclaim: The Laherte Brothers' Ultradition, a thoughtful blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir, presents an unexpected depth for its price. Farmed organically and biodynamically across approximately 75 parcels, this family-operated vineyard's dedication to quality shines through. The wine reveals a crisp effervescence, enriched with layers of chalky minerality, hints of winter citrus, and a fresh brioche aroma. Its earthy, mineral-rich maison style is highlighted by a rich, earthy texture, nuanced with lemon peel and an enduring mineral finish. This Champagne is an ideal choice for those seeking a taste of France from the comfort of home.
Wine Spectator 92
"Well-spiced and mouthwatering, this vivid Champagne offers a finely detailed bead and expressive flavors of black raspberry, dried apricot, orange blossom, fleur de sel and crystallized honey. Clean-cut and minerally on the finish."
Vinous Media 92
"The NV Brut Ultradition is the same base wine as the Extra Brut Ultradition. Here the higher dosage seems to give the wine greater fleshiness and immediacy, while changing the wine's shape. Some of the mid-palate creaminess seems to have been achieved at the expense of a bit of persistence. Disgorged: November 2016. Dosage is 6-8 grams per liter."~Antonio Galloni
John Gilman 92+
"The current release of Laherte Frres non-vintage Ultradition Brut is composed from an atypical and highly attractive cpages of sixty percent pinot meunier, thirty percent chardonnay and ten percent pinot noir and was finished with a dosage of six to eight grams per liter. This is from the base year of 2012 and the wine is outstanding, offering up a very refined, meunier dominated constellation of white peach, loads of spring flowers, chalky soil tones, gentle smokiness and a dollop of brioche in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, fullbodied and extremely elegant, with a fine core, superb soil signature, refined mousse and a very long, complex and dancing finish. This is a beautiful bottle of non-vintage Brut! 2017-2035."
Pairing: Of course, seafood like oysters, Dungeness crab, and caviar are fantastic matches for champagnes like this one, but we also love to pair snacking-type fare with extra-brut champagne in particular. Check out the recipe and list below!
Potato chips. The acidity in the wine will cut through the fat in the chips, which makes them both taste delicious.
Anything deep-fried. Crab cakes, spring rolls, samosas and calamari match perfectly.
Oysters. Freshly served oysters with a glass of Brut Champagne is a great way to start a party.
- Mini toasts or canapés with cheese, vegetables, cream, or fish pair well with bubbles.
Smoked Salmon, Fromage Blanc and Caper Spread
By Amanda Hesser
From the importer, Beaune Imports. Aurélien Laherte is part of a dynamic generation of young vignerons making waves in Champagne and producing a fine array of terroir-driven wines using a natural approach to viticulture and winemaking. Along with his high school friend Raphael Bereche – another star in the region – Aurélien founded the “Terres et Vins” collective of producers back in 2009. This group taps some of Champagne’s more progressive and like-minded producers, including Agrapart, Marie-Courtin, Vincent Laval, Benoit Lahaye, among others. Each spring, the group holds a tasting in Champagne to showcase both the vins clairs of the previous harvest as well as their actual bubbly versions.
The Laherte family has a long history in the region. Founded in 1889 by Jean-Baptiste Laherte, the estate was originally made up of vines primarily in the village of Chavot. Fourth generation vigneron Michel Laherte expanded the family estate which then covered about five hectares. With his wife Cécile, the two young vignerons modernized the press and tanks, but soon realized that too much modernity such as the use of herbicides and pesticides would prevent full terroir expression in the wines. They began working the soils, gently vinifying the juices, and remaining humble and patient as the wines developed. This philosophy is the foundation of the estate and has endured through the generations.
Today, under the direction of Aurélien Laherte who took over in 2005, the estate has become one of the most progressive and dynamic "rising stars" in the appellation. Like many of Champagne's top practicioners, the estate has begun to produce a series of tiny production, single-vineyard/single vintage cuvees (around 3000 bottles ea) from some of their most unique and expressive Biodynamically-farmed parcels. These wines are all vinified in used Burgundy barrels, without malolactic fermentations, and are bottled without fining and filtration. They are then finished with little or no dosage so as to not mask the individuality of the underlying terroirs.
The Laherte vineyards are situated largely in the Coteaux Sud D'Epernay, an interesting sub-region sandwiched between the Cotes des Blancs and the Vallee de la Marne, with pockets of soils that greatly resemble these two fine and geologically diverse regions. The vineyards themselves total 10.5 hectares (over 75 separate parcels), seven of which are farmed biodynamically and certified organic, with the rest farmed either 'uncertified organic' or at least sustainably.
Great lengths are taken to ensure each vine fully expresses itself and the underlying terroir. A team of ten, including aunts, uncles, and cousins, works throughout the year (in accordance with the lunar calendar) to employ techniques such as plant infusions to improve the vine’s natural defense system, and high foliage to encourage photosynthesis and thus, balanced maturity. Aurélien and his team are now beginning to experiment with more consistent cover crops of both indigenous and sown plants, and they are reducing the amount of plowing to minimize soil disturbance in hopes of building and keeping soils rich in microorganisms. Given the diversity of soils and expositions, the three major grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay all thrive and are planted on the southern slopes of Epernay in the villages of Chavot, Epernay, Vaudencourt, Moussy and Morangis. The family also has some 1er Cru Chardonnay vineyards on the famed Côte de Blancs in the villages of Vertus and Voipreux. And finally, more Meunier plantings are found in the villages of Le Breuil and Bourgault in the Vallée de la Marne, often referred to as Meunier country.
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