Larherte-Freres is a family business in Champagne that spans 10 hectare spread over 75 plots. Mostly they are from just south of Epernay but some plots are further afield. The new generation Aurelien has taken over and is making wines in the style of the great Grower producers: Organic or biodynamic grapes, natural yeast, old oak maturation and celebrating outstanding parcels of land. The wines are generous and soft due to their placement near Epernay and so are not as challenging as some Growers can be.
This wine is 100% Pinot Meunier from vines planted in 1947 and 1953 on chalky terroirs. This is a distinctive wine because you don’t often see Meunier given a chance to shine, and when you do it tends to be a bit brutish. This wine was brilliantly vibrant with dark and red fruits but and underlying minerality and earthiness is ever present. The palate is dry with a crisp phenolic edge, this makes it all the more enjoyable and easy to say yes to another glass.
Champagne – A wine region of France approximately 160km East of Paris. It is also the name of the wines produced from the area. Most famously it is a sparkling wine that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and is aged on lees. Although there is the occasional still wine you can find around particularly Pinot Noir. The fantastically named Bouzy Rouge is one such example. There are very few single vintage, single vineyard, single variety Champagnes (I can only name one and it was produced only 47 times between 1900 and 1999). Why? Due to the large area the region covers, and the challenging weather the houses blended wines to produce a consistent and reliable product every year. This is where the growers come in. They relish the chance to show off vintage variation and small plot wines.
Pinot Meunier – Meunier is most famous for adding body and richness to the wines of Champagne. The trade-off is it tends to make the Champagnes age quicker and is therefore often left out of Prestige Cuvées. Not often found in still table wine production.