Georges Laval 'Les Hautes Chèvres' 1er Cru, Brut Nature, Champagne, France 2017 (dis. 05.22)
After finishing his studies in 1991, Vincent Laval has taken over operations at this historic property as the fourth generation at Georges Laval. The family has resided in Cumières since 1694! Since 1971, the domaine has been fully organic, one of the first wineries in the region to make this conversion.
Of the 2.5 hectares of vines that the Laval’s own and farm, 2 of them are in Cumières and only a 1/2 hectare is in Chembrecy in the Montagne de Reims. The fruit from the Chambrecy parcel goes into Vincent’s only wine produced with reserve juice, Garennes. However, the wines of the domaine are really all about Cumières and the family’s holdings in the village. Laval produces some of the most profound, flavorful and terroir driven Champagne within the tiny 1er Cru of Cumières.
Although the entire production rarely hits 10,000 bottles annually, Vincent does manage to carve out 3 distinct bottlings from single vineyard sites alongside his two village labeled bottlings. His single vineyard bottlings include Les Chênes, Les Hautes Chèvres and the most recent addition to the line-up Les Longues Violes. All wines are made in a similar fashion; after meticulous selection at harvest the grapes are pressed in a traditional 2000kg Coquard vertical press. The vins clairs are fermented with native yeasts, aged in barrels, bottled with low sulfur and typically without dosage.
The Laval plot, Les Hautes Chèvres, planted to Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier located in the upper reaches of the mid slope on clay-limestone soils | originally a Pinot Noir only bottling, this is where most of Laval’s Pinot Noir is located, it is now a 100% Pinot Meunier bottling after Vincent had to pull out is old vine Pinot Noir in 2012 | the Meunier vines were all planted between 1931 & 1971.
I always find this bottling to be the one that would benefit from significant time in the cellar. The being 100% Meunier the fruit is driven by unripe strawberry & tertiary earth notes. The palate is intensely linear, but provides a density and weight on the palate. Very shy on opening. Put this in the cellar and you will be heavily rewarded in years to come.
Grape: Pinot Meunier
Soil: Limestone Clay