Vineyards of A & J Beaufort

Extraordinary Organic and Biodynamic Champagnes from Benoit Lahaye and A & J Beaufort!

Share

We're very proud to offer new arrivals from Benoit Lahaye and A & J Beaufort, many of which are only available in the US at Chambers Street. Although quite different in style, these two estates offer some of the most fascinating and terroir-expressive wines in Champagne and we urge you to try them.

There’s a special glint that some Champagne lovers get in their eye when the name “Benoit Lahaye” pops up in conversation. This glint is attributable to a certain balance between deliciousness and rarity that leaves the drinker struck by the wine whilst unable to procure more. An almost romantic feeling of longing for Lahaye is thus born in the drinker. Lahaye has quite a following in France, and his 4.8 hectares of vines yield barely enough wine to satisfy European demand. When our good friend, Peter Liem, described Benoit as the village leader in Bouzy, we knew we had to get the wines, even just a few cases for the curious (ourselves included).

The facts are as follows: Lahaye’s vineyards are planted almost entirely to Pinot Noir (88%), with the majority of the vines in Bouzy, a hectare in Ambonnay, and a small parcel of old vine Chardonnay in the Cotes de Blancs. By all accounts, Benoit feels strongly about working the land as naturally as possible; he stopped using chemicals in the vineyards in the mid-90s. He became organically certified in 2003 and biodynamically certified in 2010. In the cellar, Benoit has a reasoned and non-dogmatic approach to oak use (a portion of 205-liter barrels), malolactic fermentation (he often blends malo and non-malo base wines), and dosage (depends on the wine; each wine finds balance with a different dosage). Lahaye believes that malo gives wines immediate complexity while non-malo wines are more complex in the long term. Though Lahaye’s dosages have decreased over the past few years as his chemical-free vineyard work has produced better grapes, Lahaye maintains that balance is more important than the market clambering for bone-dry Champagne. From these wines, expect harmony between ripe fruit, vinosity, cut, and an ethereal quality not necessarily typical of Pinot Noir based Champagnes. We’re offering three bottlings in extremely limited quantity: 2006, a vintage we love in Champagne, Blanc de Noirs, and Brut Rose. Drink up! -Sophie

The outstanding organic Champagnes of A & J Beaufort come from grand cru vineyards in Ambonnay, and other parcels in Polissy, in the Aube. These are complex, full-bodied wines, fermented with wild yeasts and bottled after very long sur-lie aging. "We keep our wines sur-lie as long as possible before release, so one can taste a Champagne of ten years of age with mature aromas, having conserved some traits of youth - thus, disgorgement is always recent, with the date inscribed on the label." Converted to organic agriculture in 1971, the Beauforts only became certified in 1994. "Having been among the pioneers of organic viticulture, we protested against the payment for certification - it seems paradoxical to pay to not pollute!" Untreated soils, long sur-lie aging, no additives/corrections and minimal (if any) use of sulfites gives wines that are unusual and quite "old-fashioned." Quoting the French review, Bettane and Desseauve: “Here is a grower out of the ordinary. With Beaufort you get not neutrality but an exalted, aromatic Pinot Noir, whether from Ambonnay or the Aube. The natural expression of his wines will remind older fans of the incomparable Champagne that prevailed before the adoption of industrial agriculture…”  Quantities are limited and these prices are quite low given the unique quality of the wines. -DL

Beaufort, André 2002 Champagne Polisy Brut Nature (Dis 03/17)

A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort - the estate converted to organic agriculture in the early 70's and makes brilliant, full-bodied Champagnes that are among the most "vinous" being made today. Medium golden yellow in color and sporting a discrete mousse. The nose is quite floral with tones of cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and irises before touches of quince and fresh baguette. The palate is concentrated with a spherical yet laser-like focus that offers notes of lemon sorbet, tart lemon custard, and apple pie, underlined by a fine minerality that persists through to a rounded, savory finish. Really a very pretty and lovely wine. This medium-bodied Champagne is made of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and was disgorged in March 2017 after 14 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.

  • white sparkling
  • 7 in stock
  • no discount
  • $79.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
Sorry, the Following have Already Sold

Lahaye, Benoît 2006 Champagne Brut

This vintage wine from Lahaye is truly singing right now. The wine hails from parcels of old vines in Bouzy, including some Chardonnay (30%) planted on chalk, and there's a chalkiness to the wine's finish that adds to its overall complexity. The nose shows the Pinot Noir in the blend (70%), offering vinosity and a touch of oxidation; the midpalate is powerful, sappy, and resonant with acid and mineral. Dosed at between 3 and 4 grams, the wine feels very well-balanced; one doesn't want for a gram more or a gram less of sugar. I'd encourage all Champagne lovers to try a bottle of this outstanding wine today. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $67.99

Lahaye, Benoît NV Champagne Blanc de Noirs

The first thing I noticed about this wine when I poured it in the glass was how incredibly fine the bubbles are. Certified biodynamic since 2009 and organic since 2007, Lahaye's Champagnes are a testament to what good vineyard work can do for a bottle of bubbly. On the nose, there's an initial burst of tangy yellow fruit such as mirabelle plum. Further nosing reveals a floral, raspberry note. More ethereal than rich, the wine maintains a certain level of vinosity while also being quite airy, lacy, and delicate. Constantly changing in the glass, this wine over-delivers for its price and offers a lot to contemplate. Dosed at 5 grams/liter. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $69.99

Beaufort NV Champagne Grand Cru Brut Reserve

Based on the 2008 vintage, recently disgorged, this is an elegant Grand Cru Champagne with earthy white fruit and herbal aromas. The palate is balanced and quite rich with earth, spice, quince and mineral flavors backed by firm acidity. A complex wine that will be great at the table with any full-flavored fish, poultry or pork dish.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $51.99

  • Biodynamic

Beaufort 1996 Champagne Grand Cru Ambonnay

It is a gift to have access to recently disgorged wine from such an extraordinary vintage. Almost 18 years spent on the lees before disgorgement (August 2014) add textural depth, but are barely perceptible aromatically; an expansive but precise bouquet of tallow, mountain honey and marzipan carry over to the palate, along with acidulous lemon and ripe stone-fruit. Wholly possessed of the striking contrast between ripeness, acidity and salinity that is the hallmark of the vintage; a little bit of oxygen exposure won’t hurt, nor will another decade in the cellar. -jmw

1996 has proven to be a banner vintage in Champagne, Jacques Beaufort's blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from his Grand Cru Ambonnay vineyards is a prime example. Light golden yellow and color and discretely moussed, the aromas begin with ripe red peaches, molasses, and honeysuckle before expanding to lighty toasted bread, graham crackers, Red D'Anjou pears, and dark chocolate. An impeccably poised palate is held by a backbone of minerality and verve that speaks of lemongrass, white tea, and a finish of fresh blueberries and cream. (Disgorged 8/2014, Lot n. 96A). David Salinas

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $139.99

  • Biodynamic

Beaufort, André NV Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé (2011 - D 10/16)

This full-bodied and robust Rosé Champagne is expressive of Pinot Noir character as well as natural and chemical-free winemaking, a rare combination, especially in Champagne. The nose offers ripe sour cherry, cherry pit, quinine, almost Burgundian earthiness, and an ever so slight note of bitter herbs reminiscent of amaro. Cherry fruit carries through the mid-palate to the finish, which is downright tannic, in the best possible way. There is some dosage here, giving the wine a compelling balance of acid and sweetness. It's a fairly serious Rosé Champagne, one that could accompany a meal, but it doesn't present itself as austere in any way. Unique within our selection of Rosé Champagnes and well-worth trying. (Lot 11A. Disgorged 10/2016.)

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $57.99

  • Organic

Beaufort, A & J 1990 Champagne Grand Cru Ambonnay Rose Disgorged 10/11

This wine is a fantastic treat. Umami, cheesy, the wine shows abundant secondary and tertiary aromas and is aromatically fascinating. Further nosing reveals notes of fennel, celery seed, and a hint of tangy red fruit. The palate is focused, dry, and mouth-filling with mellow bubbles and great length. If you're looking for a thought-provoking, mature, delicious bottle of Champagne to contemplate, here is your wine. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $159.99

Beaufort 2002 Coteaux Champenois Rouge (still wine)

We're very happy to have received the last few cases of the Beaufort's 2002 Coteaux Champenois Rouge. From a successful vintage in Champagne, this wine speaks of cool climate Pinot Noir with lots of tangy berry fruit expressing itself on the nose, the mid-palate, and the finish. The wine tastes very young for its age, with firm structure and a minerally backbone. The fruit shows as the wine opens up to reveal a velvety texture and a sense of fruit skins and fruit seeds. It's a very lovely wine, one that will certainly appeal to fans of cool climate reds. Certainly, if you need to stump your fellow Burgundy lovers at a blind tasting, here is your bottle. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $54.99