David Léclapart L'Apotre 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2014
100% Chardonnay. Although his family has been growing vines for four generations, David Léclapart established his small domaine in 1998. He had developed a deep interest in biodynamic viticulture, and when his father passed away in 1996 and his mother asked him to take over the family vines, he agreed to do so only on the condition that he would be able to farm them biodynamically which is still a rarity in Champagne. This was the start of a cult winery that produces only around 15,000 bottles a year. Just miniscule! Léclapart uses no reserve wines, and therefore all of his champagnes are always from a single year, stated on the back label. He also uses Domaine Leflaive oak barrels for all primary fermentation except for Amateur and half of the Artiste, which are in steel tanks. Fermentation is with wild yeast, there is no fining or filtering, sulfur use is minimal, and every bottle, except in very rare occassions, is released without dosage because he believes careful work in the vineyards allows for the right maturity in the grapes. L’Apôtre is a single-vineyard champagne from the lieu-dit of La Pierre St-Martin and the top cuvee from the winery. The vines were planted by Léclapart’s grandfather in 1946, and the wine is vinified entirely in barrel—this barrel fermentation is well-suited to the wine's old-vine concentration and intensity, and this is always the most complex and expressive of Léclapart's cuvées.Though these wines are of extremely high quality, they are also uncompromisingly individual. Even though it is unusual for champagne, I would advise decanting them or otherwise giving them plenty of air, as they can be extremely stern, angular and wound-up in their youth.