- Vineyard Area: 6 ha
- Soil Type: Clay-limestone
- Varieties Cultivated: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
- Annual Production: 55,000 bottles
- Country: France
The Lamiable family has been rooted to the eastern Champagne village of Tours-sur-Marne since 1600. While Hyppolite Lamiable built the family home in 1859, it took nearly a century before the family would start growing vines. Hippolyte’s descendants, twin brothers Pierre and Auguste Lamiable, officially established the estate in 1955 and bought their first press in 1960. Over twenty years, they replanted the vineyards and painstakingly dug through chalky bedrock beneath the winery to create a traditional underground cellar. In so doing, they planted the seeds, both literally and figuratively, for the exquisite Champagne we enjoy today.
Their successor, Jean-Pierre, took his place at the head of the domaine in 1972. Since 2004, he has worked alongside his daughters, Ophélie and Orianne. Blessed with one of the best lieux-dits in this appellation, Les Meslaines, the Lamiables work together to produce the finest grand cru champagne in Tours-sur-Marne. Orianne oversees sales and marketing. Ophélie manages the vineyards and cellars and also serves as co-manager for Les Meslaines’s consortium of growers—a position of leadership among her fellow vignerons.
The Lamiables farm six hectares in the southern end of the celebrated Montagne de Reims, known for its red grape production. Situated 12 kilometers from Epernay and 25 kilometers from Reims, the domaine is well placed at the convergence point of the Côte de Blancs, the Vallée de la Marne and the Montagne de Reims—the heartland of grand cru country. All of their vineyards are classified as grand cru, with sixty percent of the holdings dedicated to Pinot Noir and 40 percent to Chardonnay. Planted entirely with séléction massale, the Lamiables accept 30 percent lower yields than are the accepted in the appellation in exchange for better grape maturity. Over the years, the family has sought vineyard sustainability by eschewing the use of pesticides and herbicides and adopting organic farming practices—often a gamble in France’s coolest growing region.
The secret to the plump, rich and earthy house style of Champagne Lamiable lies in the terroir. The family works four single vineyards: two parcels in Les Meslaines, Clos de Goësse (in the Côte de Blancs, the source of their Chardonnay), Ambuyères and one in Bouzy. Les Meslaines is the crown jewel of the family holdings, planted with 100% old-vine Pinot Noir. Planted in the 1950s, the deep chalky soils here are free of any clay deposits, allowing the Pinot Noir an entirely unique identity in the region. All of the Lamiable vineyards take their chiseled structure from the chalk and limestone soils while also enjoying southern sun exposure, which lends unusual ripeness, breadth and low acidity to the finished wines. They harvest all of their fruit by hand.
Using beautifully matured fruit, low in acidity, the Lamiables translate the natural state of the grapes into the finished wines. Primary fermentation for all of the cuvees takes place in stainless steel and enamel tanks to preserve freshness. All wines go through malolactic fermentation before bottling and are then left to rest on fine lees for up to 18 months in bottle—three months longer than appellation mandate. The Lamiables dedicate one-third of each year’s harvest to the base wine, which is age in neutral barrels to lend texture and depth to the finished wine, rather than taste. The Non-Vintage Brut, Extra Brut and the Rosé are blended with 60 percent Pinot Noir and 40 per cent Chardonnay. As the vineyards provide sufficient ripeness and expression, low dosages are preferred, ranging from 4 grams per liter in the Extra Brut and Cuvée Phéérie and 7 grams per liter in the Cuvée Meslaines and Cuvée Héliades, to 8 grams per liter in the Brut Grand Cru and Brut Grand Cru Rosé.
The Lamiables are one of the rare producers of Spécial Club champagnes, which they release only during exceptional vintages. In order to bottle champagne labeled as a “Spécial Club,” contributing producers are subject to very high criteria established by Club Trésors de Champagne and are subject to three tastings before approval. Once bottled, Club Trésors requires three years of bottle aging before release. The Lamiables seek to stray from the typical house style to express all of their terroirs equally in the assemblage. They blend one-third Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay from Tours-sur-Marne with one third Chardonnay hailing from the Côte de Blancs. With only 4000 bottles produced in these special vintages, bottles sell out quickly.
Ophélie goes to great lengths to extend the notion of sustainability into all aspects of winemaking, from the growing to the bottling. The family uses an environmentally sound gray water management system, and is always looking for ways to reduce waste. They source lighter bottles for their cuvees and even use the Mytik Diamant composite cork to eradicate cork taint.