Eric Asimov of the New York Times writes about the Laherte Frères Les Vignes d’Autrefois from the 2006 vintage, which is big-boned, broad-shouldered champagne (article). We sold out of that a long time ago and are now on the 2007 vintage, which is sleeker and more focused. Several other snippets:
1. Amusingly, it’s one of the few times where the New York retail price is higher than what you can purchase the wine for in Singapore. Our cost structure, including local taxes, mean that it’s usually impossible to match prices in Europe and often the US except for very expensive wines.
2. The Champenois knew what they were doing when they planted Pinot Meunier in some of the sunniest spots (not necessarily with the best mix of chalk and clay).
3. Pinot Gris is indeed not listed as one of the permitted varieties in the INAO document for champagne, although I come across it more often than Petit Meslier or Arban(n)e in the vineyards. My suspicion is also that there is some Auxerrois lurking under the guise of pinot blanc in the Aube; only Pinot Blanc vrai (true Pinot Blanc) is allowed.
4. Given the fruit-forward characteristics of Pinot Meunier, I often wonder if a rosé might not be a more interesting expression than a normal white champagne. There’s of course Laherte’s ‘Les Beaudiers’, but there are many other Pinot Meunier rosés which are fascinating as well.