Champagne from David Léclapart and a couple of others

Finewines 20130427 Franska Vinlistan JN

Jan Netterberg from the importer “Franska Vinlistan” performs a quality control of one of his products

In my previous post, I mentioned having tasted a quite odd rosé Champagne (l’Alchimiste) from David Léclapart. This reminded me that I actually had tasted other wines from Léclapart on two occasions during this spring thanks to their Swedish importer, but hadn’t put those into any blog posts.

David Léclapart was the second small producer rated ***** by Richard Juhlin. Léclapart’s production is quite limited, around 10 000 bottles annually. The trio l’Amateur, l’Artiste och l’Apôtre are all blanc de blancs – 100% Chardonnay – and are differentiated by an increasing proportion of oak – 0%, 50%, 100% – adapted to the substance and weight of the respective wine. The grapes are grown biodynamically and the Champagnes do not receive any dosage, i.e., they are bottled bone dry. The extremely dry palate is something I find characteristic for Léclapart and probably an important factor in deciding whether you like them or not.

If I try to make a comparison to Selosse – something that may be unavoidable when we’re talking about small grower blanc de blancs with a certain cult status – I’d say there is some similarity at the level of l’Artiste and l’Apôtre, since they receive oak treatment, be it in what seems like a less oxidative way than that practiced by Selosse. Perhaps these two should primarily be compared to Selosse V.O., which is bottled Extra Brut. The “entry level” at Selosse and Léclapart are rather different in style, though. Selosse Initial see oak and is bottled “Brut”, while Léclapart l’Amateur is produced without oak and completely without dosage. So l’Amateur can probably be seen as a very dry and firm type of aperitif Champagne, while Initial more can be seen as a food Champagne with much more white Burgundy character. But it would actually surprise me if everyone would agree with such a short and simple characterisation…

Formally, Léclapart’s wines are non-vintage, but the vintage is specified on the back label in the form of a cide. LV07 = vintage 07, LV08 = vintage 08, and so on. The vintages sold in Sweden early this year were 2009 l’Amateur, 2007 l’Artiste and 2006 l’Apôtre, but at the tasting offered in connection with this, 1-2 years older wines were served.

These three wines tasted in March 2013:

David Léclapart l’Amateur 2007

Nose with yellow apple, some citrus, hints of toffee, some mineral.
Palate with green and yello apple, citrus, noticeable minerality, high acidity, quite dry. Has matured somewhat, can take more. 89 p.

In August 2011, when this wine was my very first encounter with Léclapart, I scored it 90-91 p, i.e., this year’s score was lower. Possibly, wines in Léclapart’s style didn’t show well during the cold weather in March (we had a very persistent winter and a late spring), which may have bearing on the following two scores as well.

David Léclapart l’Artiste 2005

Nose with ripe yellow apple, ripe citrus, some peach, a hint of honey, just a hint of smoke, the oak can be detected but is well integrated, rather noticeable mineral notes.
Palate with a lot of mineral, yellow apple, slightly “earthy” bitterness and salinity, high acidity, very dry, aftertaste with mineral. No signs of oak on the palate. 91 p.

David Léclapart l’Apôtre 2005

Nose with ripe yellow apple, strong mineral notes, peach, a hint of smoke, some honey, the oak can be detected but is well integrated.
Palate with yellow and green apple, noticeable minerality, slightly earthy and salty, long aftertaste with mineral. No signs of oak on the palate. Could develop some more. 92 p.

Tasted 27 April 2013 (both Léclapart and other Champagnes):

David Léclapart l’Artiste 2005

Slightly developed nose with dried herbs, nutty. Very dry, high acidity, powerful mineral notes with some spice and menthol, apple and citrus in the background. Good development, 90 p.

Reminded me somewhat of an l’Amateur 2004 that I had tried half a year before, i.e., came across as much more developed than a bottle tasted 1 month before, described above.

Legras & Haas Blanc de Blancs NV

Nose with white flowers, citrus, green apple. Rather dry palate, apple, citrus, high acidity. Classical blanc de blancs. 87(+) p.

Vilmart Grand Cellier NV
70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, the base wine is stored in large oak barrels.

Nose of ripe yellow apple, some spice, discrete oak notes. Palate with good concentration, yellow and green apple. Rather young, 89+ p.

Marguet Tradition Blanc de Noirs NV
74% Pinot Noir, 26% Pinot Meunier, disgorged September 2012.

The nose is flowery with red apple, some mineral. The palate is foody with red and green apple, good acidity, mineral. 88(+) p.

Marguet was a new acquaintance to me.

Selosse Initial NV
100% Chardonnay, disgorged September 2012.

Nose with ripe apple, peach, perfume notes, some oak, and quite a lot of white Burgyndy feeling. Good concentration on the palate, goody, palate with green apple and yellow fruit, definitely high acidity. Generous nose, young, 92+ p.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the 2012 disgorgement of is a damn good Initial, and it also is unusually approachable already now!

The Swedish version of this post can be found here.

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