Remarkable Power and Agility -
Lowest Price: Benoit Lahaye Naturessence NV

Posted by Joe Salamone

"Lahaye is rapidly becoming one of the top grower-producers in the Montagne de Reims." -Peter Liem

Finding Benoît Lahaye's Champagnes in the U.S. can be extremely difficult. It's unfortunate, because he's making some of the most compelling Champagnes around.

He 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 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.

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.

Everyone who knows Benoit Lahaye always talks about how hard he works in the vineyards and in the winery. All of this dedication becomes clear when you witness the wine's extraordinary combination of intensity, finesse and agility.

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

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

Benoît Lahaye Naturessence NV

Peter Liem: "This is made of equal parts pinot noir and chardonnay, with the former coming from Bouzy and Ambonnay and the latter from Tauxières and Voipreux. All of it is from vines between 45 and 60 years of age, and the wine was vinified entirely in barrel, giving it a creamy richness despite the lack of malolactic. The vibrant red-fruit flavors feel densely-knit on the palate, showing a silky texture and a resonant, energetic grip, and the finish is long and elegantly fragrant, with a lot of dimension and detail. This is a wine of uncommonly subtle refinement and expression, and also one that is easily overlooked—spend some time with it and allow it to reveal its full potential."