Champagne Laherte Frees, Champagne Brut Ultradition Rose NV
About the Wine: Bold, powerful and vinous in the glass, the Ultradition is an impressive wine endowed with real depth and textural resonance. There is a good bit of intensity to the fruit. Even so, the wine retains terrific freshness. Cranberry, orange peel, rose petal and mint are some of the many overtones that add nuance throughout. About the Producer: 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. he 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 Founded in 1889 by Jean-Baptiste Laherte, the estate was originally made up of vines primarily in the village of Chavot.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 3,000 bottles each) from some of their most unique and expressive biodynamically-farmed parcels. These wines are all vinified in used Burgundy barrels, without malolactic fermentation, 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. Technical Info: 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. Because the family property has been parceled out among aunts, uncles, and cousins throughout the 20th and now the 21st century, Aurélien and his parents decided to register as a negotiant so Aurélien could incorporate all family fruit into his blends. This was the best way to contend with complicated French inheritance laws and keep the estate whole. 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.