Champagne Benoit Lahaye
Benoit and Valerie Lahaye make exceptional champagnes from superb terroirs, including four from single vineyards. They have just 4.8ha of vines in Bouzy and Ambonnay that they work together with their two sons, and their incredible hulk of a horse, Tamise, who helps with plowing, reducing soil compaction around the vines.
Since going biodynamic in the late 2000s, they have observed that grapes attain higher levels of ripeness whilst retaining the same level of acidity. This has led to them avoiding the use of dosage in most of their wines.
Benoît is a very thoughtful, curious vigneron, who works with touch and feel, for example using either corks or caps for his vintage champagne entirely dependent on the strength and structure of the initial wine, with more structured vintages aged under cork and richer vintages under cap.
He has also isolated indigenous yeasts from different vineyards and tested their influence on flavour and aromatics by vinifying three barrels of the same wine using different strains in two barrels and one with the vineyard’s natural mix – this experiment proving that the impact of yeasts on wines flavours is quite marked, but underlining that a natural mix of native yeasts tends to work best.