David Léclapart L'Artiste 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Pas Dose 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 rare occassions, is released without dosage because he believes careful work in the vineyards allows for the right maturity in the grapes. L’Artiste, is generally made from Chardonnay vines between 30 and 50 years old, but the particular parcels vary from year to year. Léclapart calls this cuvée “a discovery of terroir”: “I’m not looking for anything in particular,” he says. “I’m just trying to learn about the terroir of Trépail.” 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.