Leclerc Briant is a trailblazing Champagne house producing wines of singular energy and nerve. Lucien Leclerc founded the winery with four hectares of vineyards in Cumières in 1872. The business moved to Épernay in 1955 when Bertrand Leclerc married Jacqueline Briant and formed the négociant firm which still carries their name. Leclerc Briant was an early adopter of organic practices beginning in the 1960’s and was one of the first to bottle single-vineyard Champagnes starting in the 1970’s. In the late 1980’s, Bertrand and Jacqueline’s son, Pascal, began integrating biodynamic principles and part of the production has been Demeter certified since 2003. Today, enologist Hervé Jestin continues the legacy of this visionary house.
Location of Vineyard
La Croisette is the home vineyard of Leclerc Briant, a 0.6 -hectare plot adjacent to the winery in Épernay, planted in 1966 to Chardonnay. Remarkably, this vineyard has never been treated with herbicides or pesticides. The remaining 9.6 hectares of vineyard are spread between the Premier Cru villages of Cumières, Hautvillers, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Bisseuil in the Vallée de la Marne, Villers-Allerand and Rilly la Montagne in Montagne de Reims and in the Grand Cru villages of Cramant and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs. A small amount of Pinot Noir is sourced from the Aube. Leclerc Briant also holds long term contracts with another 8 hectares of biodynamically farmed vineyards.
Oenologist Hervé Jestin has overseen production since 2008, taking a distinctly non-interventionist position: “Our vines and our wines have a certain sort of independence,” says Hervé. “We provide guidance and care, but don’t want to force anything.” Hervé is a respected expert in biodynamic farming and is a forefather of bioenergetics, a movement among a small group of vignerons who are working to bring the energy of nature to the finished wine. All fermentation is spontaneous, and the wines are vinified in a combination of INOX tank, terracotta egg or French oak barrel. Malolactic fermentation is allowed to happen naturally and dosage levels are kept low (below 4g/L). All the wines are bottled 100% unfiltered and unfined, using only time and gravity for clarification. The end goal is gastronomic Champagne, wines intended for the table, that brim with energy and speak clearly of their terroir.