Pinot Noir from Where? Lahaye Bouzy Rouge

Posted by CrushWine

Delicate, Graceful Pinot Noir,
from Champagne

2007 Benoît Lahaye Bouzy Rouge
Non-Sparkling, Red, Champagne

Five or ten years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine repeated customer inquiries about the rare, ethereal reds of the Côteaux Champenois.

But today, even to our amazement, this esoteric little category is picking up steam.

For the Pinot Noir connoisseurs, for the curious, for the lovers of delicate reds that speak of minerals and earth... keep reading.

Last summer, we did an offering on Paul Bara's Bouzy Rouge, and our sizable parcel flew out the door faster than we could answer some people's inquiries.

"Huh? Still, red Pinot from Champagne? Is it actually good?"

Yes, it is, and we've been fielding requests for more ever since.

So today we're excited to offer the stunning 2007 Bouzy Rouge from Benoît Lahaye, one of Bara's peers who's quickly moved into a position neck and neck with Bara and André Clouet - two historical benchmarks in this Grand Cru village.

Lahaye's Bouzy Rouge is a perfect example of the nervosity, the ethereal finesse, the vibrancy of great Côteaux Champenois. It displays fragrant raspberry and strawberry fruit with complex aromatics wrapped around a driving, dark mineral core. For all its fruit and florality, the wine is structured and uniquely mineral.

All in all, it's defined by a sense of detail and precision. If you've had the 02 Bara Bouzy Rouge, which is leaner, more compact and overtly chalky, expect Lahaye's to be slightly rounder, more powerful in its expression of flowers and soil, with a minerality that's earthier.

Last January, I was lucky enough to attend a dinner where nine different Côteaux Champenois were served. For me and many others, Lahaye's 03 Bouzy Rouge stole the show.

I was so enamored, especially by its distinctive thread of minerality, that I sought out his current-release 2007. This is a small parcel of a rare wine: Crush is the only place in the U.S. where this bottling can be found; indeed availability all around the world is quite limited.

Making very good wine in Champagne is never easy, but making still wine is even more demanding in these northern latitudes. It requires the best sites, conscientious vineyard work and adept winemaking. If you're one of the few who already knows Lahaye's wines, it'll come as no surprise that his Côteaux Champenois is fantastic.

He's not only located in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy - the best place for making still Pinots in Champagne - but he's also one of the hardest working vignerons in the region. He pulled out all the stops to bring in the most pristine, healthy grapes, and he's moved the domaine to full biodynamic production, hardly a doctrine for us, but still, he says this resulted in riper grapes with the same acidity - key for making good Bouzy Rouge.

This wine is from three superb midslope, southwest-facing vineyards (Les Cloches, La Priorée and Les Cercets), offering the best balance of chalky bedrock and calcareous clay topsoils, as well as the most sunlight.

Côteaux Champenois is never exactly inexpensive, as it demands the best slopes, and when those grapes are bottled as normal Champagne, they fetch a good amount of money. Given the level of craftsmanship, purity of expression and uniqueness, today's price of $45.95 on a bottle and $42.95 on three-packs offers value and is, frankly, nothing more (or less) a reflection of the risks and the work involved at nurturing Pinot Noir at these northern latitudes.

We've been working with a number of wines in this category for the last few years, and as happy as we have been to see the reputation of these wines grow, they will always remain outliers. Argentinian Malbec this is not.

For the foodies out there, it's worth noting that Lahaye's red merits particular attention for the way it excels at the dinner table - especially, looking forward, the summer table. And don't be afraid to hold on to a couple bottles for the next three to five years.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2007 Benoît Lahaye Bouzy Rouge

Wine arrives late May
NET | No further discount