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Benoit Lahaye Champagne Brut Essential NV

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NV Brut Essential - From brown limestone clay soils in Bouzy (80%) and Ambonnay (20%). 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay with reserve wines making up 40%. Based on the 2011 vintage with reserves from 2010 and 2009. Spends a minimum of 30 months on lees.

“The first bottle straight off the ship was perfection. Opened and left for 15 minutes it showed beautifully harmony with a seamless balance between fruit and secondary complexity reminiscent of Champagne’s greatest makers. There is immense enjoyment already in this wine and its concentration belies its place in the range” Vinous, January 2015

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US Importers Notes: Benoit Lahaye is located in Bouzy, a village in the region of the montagne de Reims, classified Grand Cru. He works in the winery with his wife Valérie and their two sons. The domaine, which covers a surface area of 4.8 hectares, is situated in the region of Bouzy (3 hectares), Ambonnay (1 hectare) and Tauxières (0.6 ha). Bouzy brings structure, power and fruit while Ambonnay brings acidity and roundness. The domaine is mainly planted with Pinot Noir vines (just under 90%) on South - South West facing slopes. The vines average 35 to 40 year old. In addition, a 0.2 ha parcel of 50-year old chardonnay vines is planted in Voipreux, in the southern Côte des Blancs. Since it is far away from Bouzy, these vines are worked by Pierre Larmandier. Lahaye family has been making Champagne since the 1930's. The total production is less than 40.000 bottles per year.Farming practices: In 1995, Lahaye took the decision to allow grass to grow in the totality of the vineyards. He works the soil in order to aerate it and limit competition regarding water intake by the vines during certain periods of the year. The estate is fully organic since 2003 and 2007 was the first vintage certified by ECOCERT. Lahaye only uses his own compost and also some organic manure as a complement. Various herb infusions are applied, along with other fermented extracts from plants, copper-based (in regulated quantities) and sulphur-based preparations and essentials oils in order to combat plant disease. Since 2009, Lahaye has been applying the principles of biodynamic viticulture to further the every-day work, improve the characteristics of the terroir and reveal the full potential of the soil and the vines. Benoît says that the switch to biodynamic practices has brought higher potential alcohol at harvest, but also higher acidity and more anthocyanins. Tamise, a 7 year old working-horse from the Auxois breed, joined the team in 2010. Tamise helps in the vineyards, from ploughing to spreading the compost or picking up the frames. Since 2010, the estate has been certified as biodynamic by Biodyvin.In the cellar the work is as minimal as possible. The major part of the vinification is achieved in Bordeaux (225 litres) and Burgundy (228 litres) oak barrels, using natural yeasts without any chaptalisation i.e. adding of sugar (a practice used by many estates), for a period of 10 months on the lees without any racking. All the wines now go through malolactic fermentation: with the biodynamic practices, they have enough acidity and fruit to go through it, and it is not necessary anymore to stop the malolactic fermentation by adding sulfites. The barrels are in a building with windows so that the wine "sees the seasons" before being bottled. As of the 2012 harvest, all base wines are fermented in barrel. The wine is bottled on a fruit day, or sometimes on a flower day. All the bottles are turned over with gyropalettes. There is no difference with manual riddling and it is actually better when there is a lot of work to be done in the vineyards, and no time for manual riddling. The bottles stay 7 days in the gyro to stabilize before the 7 days riddling process. Since 2008 Lahaye has been experimenting with making wines entirely without the addition of sulfur, bottling a sans soufre cuvée called Violaine.

Additional Information

Volume (ml)750ml
Winemaking PracticesMinimal Intervention
Vineyard PracticesOrganic/Biodynamic
Product typeWine Sparkling Champagne

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