François Lecompte, Premier Cru Brut Millésime
François Lecompte, Premier Cru Brut Millésime

François Lecompte, Premier Cru Brut Millésime

Champagne / Montagne de Reims, France 2013 (750mL)
Regular price$50.00
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François Lecompte, Premier Cru Brut Millésime

Now here’s a fantastic deal that would confound Champagne’s most devoted students if I served it to them “blind.” I’d start by describing it as a luxurious 2013 Premier Cru from a Rilly-la-Montagne grower that dates back to the 1800s. Almost immediately, I’d be bombarded with excited “VILMART” responses—because when it comes to complex, long-aged vintage Champagnes from the village of Rilly, they are the headliner. Confusion would then wash over the faces of everyone as I proceeded to reveal that the price of this nearly decade-old stunner is not $150 like Vilmart, but a mere $50.

That’s right: Hiding in plain sight of Vilmart & Cie, quite literally 200 feet away, is Champagne François Lecompte, a grower estate that predates Vilmart! As the shocked taster absorbed all this, I would mention that I’ve been a devout follower of Lecompte for many years, and that they would be too after tasting this meticulously hand-made, wonderfully generous Champagne. In summary, 100% Premier Cru fruit and 7+ years of cellar maturation make this $50 gem an astounding rarity so if you enjoy rich, toasty vintage Champagne for a steal, this may become your favorite discovery yet! At the very least, you’ll start including them in the upper echelons of value Champagne’s heavily competitive “vintage bottling” category.

There are more than 15,000 grape growers in the Champagne region, a majority of whom sell their grapes to cooperatives or the larger “Grandes Marques” which produce over two-thirds of all champagne. As I’ve noted before, grower champagnes are catnip to sommeliers, the Davids to the Goliaths. Lecompte is the ultimate example of “grower champagne” and the antithesis of mass-produced, big-ticket Champagne: Founded back in 1876 in the Montagne de Reims village of Rilly, this small estate has been farmed/owned by the Lecompte family since day one. Today, proprietor François Lecompte works in a cellar hand dug by his grandfather, producing a small, incredibly value-driven lineup of Premier Cru wines. 

What’s more, Lecompte focuses on sustainable farming in his vineyards and exceptionally long aging in the cellar before releasing his wines. Today’s 2013 Brut Millésime is a roughly equal blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier, all culled from family-owned vines in Rilly-la-Montagne—a top Premier Cru village in the midst of several Grand Crus. The first-press juice underwent a spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentation before spending over seven years aging in Lecompte’s chalky caves. It was disgorged with a six-gram dosage. 

The result is the kind of brioche-y, creamily textured Champagne you’d expect from such a prestigious terroir and time-consuming process. This energetic, yellow-gold elixir releases a generous outpouring of quince, white peach, Meyer lemon, ripe yellow apples, toasted hazelnut, acacia, honeysuckle, toasted bread, heaps of crushed-stone minerality, and hints of tropical fruit. It truly is a generous, toasty Champagne designed to delight hedonists now and over the next 3-5 years. Just imagine: When you pull the cork on a bottle in 2025, this dozen-year-old Premier Cru will be spilling out ultra-savory, luxurious layers, and then you’ll remember it was only $50—now that’s hard to beat!

François Lecompte, Premier Cru Brut Millésime




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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