Product information

Benoît Lahaye ‘Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre’ NV (base 2012)

Champagne from Montagne de Reims, France, Champagne, Bouzy

$295

$285ea in any 3+
$275ea in any 6+
Closure: Cork
The energy is palpable!

Description

The 2012 Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre is sourced from an old field blend originally planted in 1923 and partly replanted in 1952 that still hosts an unknown number of ancient, partly undefined grape varieties. Disgorged October 2017.

I’ve now had the pleasure of devouring 2 bottles of this. Both divine. Reinhardt’s description below is a solid effort. The fruit is of such high quality that the oxidative handling sits as a complexing layer rather than dominating adding to the myriad of aromas and flavours from the complantation of varieties planted to the site. Now 6 years post disgorging it has wonderful expression.


“The wine shows an intense yellow-golden color and displays an unusually fruity, beautiful and fascinating bouquet that at once takes all my attention. (Any Gewurztraminer here?) It has assertively expressed ripe (white) fruit with chalky finesse and freshness and the flinty flavors of crushed stones but also fresh nougat, pistachios creme, honey, popcorn and bouquet garni. Very deep, intense and mineral. No added sulfur modifies this natural, frank and so elegant expression. This is the purest bouquet you can expect from any Champagne, and we shouldn’t forget that it is the fruit that carries the minerals and not vice versa. There is nothing bad in a fruity Champagne at all as long as there is finesse and elegance. This has plenty of both, and it’s paired with purity, lush ripeness and concentration that leads this 2012 to a very delicate and dry yet complex, persistently salty and aromatic finish. No dosage.”

Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate 95 Points

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Why is this Wine so Yummy?

About Benoît Lahaye

A passionate advocate of natural winegrowing, Benoît Lahaye took over his family’s estate in 1993 and has been bottling wine under his own label since 1996. He became interested in natural viticulture early on, and inspired by Patrick Meyer in Alsace, Lahaye completely stopped using systemic herbicides in 1994. By 1996 he had begun to work organically, in addition to using cover crops in the vineyards and experimenting with biodynamic treatments; the estate was fully converted to organic viticulture in 2003, and certified organic in 2007. Lahaye has noticed a pronounced difference in his wines since the transition to organic farming. “It’s not really a question of being better,” he says, “but my wines attain higher levels of ripeness now, while retaining the same level of acidity.” Since 2010, the estate has been certified as biodynamic by Biodyvin.

“Lahaye is one of Champagne’s finest producers and readers should not miss the chance to try one of his cuvees.”

William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

Lahaye owns 4.8 hectares, largely planted with pinot noir. Three hectares lie in Bouzy, one hectare just over the border in Ambonnay, to the east, and another 60 ares in Tauxières, to the west. In addition, a 20-are parcel of 50-year old chardonnay vines is planted in Voipreux, in the southern Côte des Blancs, and since this is so far away from Bouzy, these vines are worked by Pierre Larmandier. Cover crops are planted in all of the parcels to encourage competition and prevent erosion, and Lahaye has observed that since he’s started using cover crops, a larger number and variety of plants have begun to grow in the vineyards, creating a healthier biodiversity.

In the Vineyard

In 2010, Lahaye began working two hectares of the domaine by horse, as this compacts the soil less than plowing by tractor. His goal is to eventually work the entire estate by horse, but if this isn’t possible, he’ll rotate parcels each year so that the effects are distributed across his vineyard area.

But shortly thereafter, Lahaye began changing his philosophy and the way he worked his vines. He began growing grass between the rows of all his vineyards rather than eliminating it with weed killers as is common in the region. He aerated the soil to limit the nutrients and water that can penetrate to the roots, and began using only organic compost in the vineyards. In 2003, Lahaye began to work the property fully organically, and 2007 was the first vintage to be certified by ECOCERT.  ​

Lahaye uses only his own compost and organic manure to enrich his soil. Various herb infusions are also applied, along with other fermented extracts from plants and essential oils in order to combat plant disease. Since 2009, Lahaye has also been applying biodynamic principles to further improve the expression of his terroir and reveal the full potential of his soil and vines. He says that the switch to biodynamic practices has brought higher potential alcohol at harvest, but also higher acidity. His 9-year old work horse Tamise, who became part of the family in 2010, leads Benoit around the vineyards, plowing the soil and spreading compost.

In 2010, the estate was certified biodynamic by Biodyvin.

In the Winery

In the cellar the work is as minimal as possible. Lahaye has slowly been increasing the percentage of his wines vinified in 205-liter barriques, and as of the 2012 harvest, all base wines are fermented in barrel. All of the wines in barrel are fermented with natural yeasts, although wines that were made in stainless steel or enamel tanks were sometimes fermented with cultured yeasts, as Lahaye notes that indigenous yeast fermentation is more risky in tank, particularly in the inert, reductive environment of stainless steel. Since 1996, he has been working with non-malo wines, and today, the malolactic may be done or not, depending on the individual wine and the conditions of the vintage. In general, he prefers to blend both malo and non-malo lots: “Malolactic wines have more immediate complexity,” he says, “but with non-malo wines the complexity comes out with time.” Since 2008 he has also been experimenting with making wines entirely without the addition of sulfur, bottling a sans soufre cuvée called Violaine.

As a final touch, Lahaye puts his vintage wines under either cork or capsule for their second fermentations, depending on the character of the year. In more structured vintages such as 2004, 2007 or 2008, he will use cork, as it gives the wines a little more richness and breadth. However, in ripe, expansive years, like 2005, 2009 or 2010, he prefers to use capsule, as he says “the wines are already corpulent enough.”

Where in the World is Benoît Lahaye?

Benoît Lahaye is based in Bouzy with plots in Ambonnay and Tauxières, all in the Montagne de Reims.

The map below shows the main sub-regions of Champagne

Click to enlarge🔎


From left to right Champagne vineyards by Soil Type, Aspect and Dominant Varietal

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95 Points

"The wine shows an intense yellow-golden color and displays an unusually fruity, beautiful and fascinating bouquet that at once takes all my attention. (Any Gewurztraminer here?) It has assertively expressed ripe (white) fruit with chalky finesse and freshness and the flinty flavors of crushed stones but also fresh nougat, pistachios creme, honey, popcorn and bouquet garni. Very deep, intense and mineral. No added sulfur modifies this natural, frank and so elegant expression. This is the purest bouquet you can expect from any Champagne, and we shouldn't forget that it is the fruit that carries the minerals and not vice versa. There is nothing bad in a fruity Champagne at all as long as there is finesse and elegance. This has plenty of both, and it's paired with purity, lush ripeness and concentration that leads this 2012 to a very delicate and dry yet complex, persistently salty and aromatic finish. No dosage." 

Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Champagne Benoît Lahaye, Rue Jeanne d'Arc, Bouzy, France

Montagne de Reims
Bouzy
Champagne
France