Laherte Frères, Champagne Meunier & Meslier Brut Nature Rosé
The past few years have seen a surge of interest in Petit Meslier across many growers in Champagne and elsewhere. The reason is simple as the varietal has the unique ability of preserving high acidity and mineral notes when grown in even the hottest weather, traits that are ever more popular in northerly wine-growing regions as the Earth heats up. Aurélien Laherte is definitely in this camp and sees this formerly overlooked varietal as a much-needed tool in his arsenal.
2016 was to be the first crop from a much-prized parcel planted to Petit Meslier on the warm slopes of Chavot and bud-break was quite early due to another mild winter when along came a killer frost the night of April 27 that destroyed most of the young shoots. As the growing season progressed and harvest rolled around, Laherte managed to glean 300kg of grapes from the entire parcel, 1830 vines. This they combined with the same volume of Pinot Meunier off the same slope and proceeded to craft one single barrel of Brut Nature Rosé.
The wine shows the plump, up front red fruit qualities of Pinot Meunier, backed up with high-toned mineral notes and fresh acidity more typical of Petit Meslier.
336 bottles produced, aged 36 months on the lees before disgorgement.
The 2016 Brut Rosé Nature Meunier & Meslier is a fascinating wine. It emerges from two parcels that were severely affected by frost. Yields were just 6 hectoliters per hectare, which is basically nothing. In the glass, the wine is rich, deep and expansive. The 50% Pinot, done in a saignée style, dominates but there is plenty of aromatic intensity from the Meslier too. Sweet red cherry, game, licorice, rose petal and dried flowers meld together in a Champagne of striking vinous intensity. Disgorged: March, 2020.