Weightless Intensity: Benoit Lahaye Naturessence NV

Posted by Joe Salamone

Benoît Lahaye is one of the most talented growers working in Champagne.

Across the board his Champagnes have an extraordinary combination of intensity, finesse and agility. There's no better evidence of how conscientious he is about farming and how sensitive his winemaking is than this.

Since arriving two months ago, Benoît Lahaye Naturessence has become a go-to bottle for the staff. It's that impressive.

What we love about Naturessence is its sheer elegance; the remarkable power

just takes the wow-factor to yet another level here. The wine showcases Lahaye's signature - intensity with detail and lightness - in an absolutely wonderful and obvious way. The bottle shows plenty of complexity and juicy red fruits that are wrapped around a refined and nervy core of chalky minerality. Overall, there's incredible purity.

Naturessence comes from 45- to 60-year-old vines and is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Pinot is sourced from the Montagne de Reims' Grand Cru vineyards of Ambonnay and Bouzy, while the Chardonnay comes from nearby Tauxières, plus a tiny 0.2-hectare plot in Voipreux, which is further south in the Côte des Blancs. This is actually too far south for Lahaye - who is fastidious about his vine care - to tend to personally, so he has his friend, the benchmark grower Pierre Larmandier, help farm it.

Benoît Lahaye only has 4.8ha, which he farms at low yields, and his reputation in Europe is formidable. The small amount that makes it to the U.S. gets snapped up by a small group of Champagne fanatics. Just to underscore the rarity, I should mention that there are only two other listings of Naturessence in the country.

It's unfortunate that Lahaye's wines can be so difficult to find. They are some of the most compelling Champagnes around. We don't expect our stock of Naturessence to stick around for much longer.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits