By Alexandria Rae Cubbage, 17th Jan 2020
This Grower Champagne has quite small holdings with only 2.5 hectares. They produce approximately 15,000 bottles per year. Based in Cumières in Vallée de la Marne, they are one of the oldest winemaking families (since 1694) in Champagne. Georges Laval has farmed his vineyards organically since 1971, and he makes the wine in a natural and artisanal way. His son, Vincent, who took over in 1996 follows this same approach and farms and works in this way in order to preserve the original aromas and flavours of the great terroirs of Champagne.
For winemaking, Vincent uses indigenous yeast, ferments in oak barrels and uses very little sulphur. There is no fining or filtration.
The NV Cumières 1er Cru Brut Nature is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier. It spends eight to twelve months in oak barrels and additional ageing in bottle of at least one year prior to disgorgement. This cuvée represents the largest amount of their production at approximately 7,000 bottles, depending on the vintage.
Another cuvée we offer from Georges Laval is 2014 ‘Les Hautes Chèvres’ 1er Cru Brut Nature. The name of this wine translates to ‘The High Goats’, and the vineyard is located above the village of Cumières on clay-limestone soils. This Champagne is made from Pinot Meunier vines that were planted between 1930 and 1971 and provide low yields which produce intense aromatics and concentrated flavours on the palate. The wine spends ten months in barrel and four years in the bottle before disgorgement and release. For the 2014 vintage, approximately 1,473 bottles were produced.
The final cuvée that we offer from Georges Laval, and the one that is the rarest is 2012 Les Longues Violes 1er Cru Brut Nature. The Longues Violes is a unique parcel of 14.61 ares that has belonged to the Laval family for several generations. This wine is a Blanc de Noirs made from Pinot Meunier planted in 1947 and Pinot Noir planted in 1964 and 1984. The vineyard has never been treated with any herbicides or chemicals. This Champagne is fermented naturally in oak barrels which gives it diversity and richness and allows the delicacy of aromas to come out. The 2012 vintage is the first vintage of Les Longues Violes 1er Cru Brut Nature and 1,520 bottles were produced. The first 480 bottles spent 50 months on the lees before disgorgement.
Champagne Georges Laval is for the wine lover in search of artisanal Champagne as this small production grower Champagne has its own unique style and character. The style largely comes from their long history of organic farming and respecting the land which results in a minerally driven Champagne that’s concentrated and drinks much like a Chablis or other fine white Burgundy. This Champagne is one for food and contemplation; it’s one that benefits from being decanted and can even be served in a Burgundy glass.