Leclerc Briant, Champagne Extra Brut Rosé
Leclerc Briant, Champagne Extra Brut Rosé

Leclerc Briant, Champagne Extra Brut Rosé

Champagne, France MV (750mL)
Regular price$75.00

Leclerc Briant, Champagne Extra Brut Rosé

Every time we think we’ve turned over every limestone rock in Champagne, yet another boutique house pops up on the radar—and these aren’t flash-in-the-pan “brands,” either, but historic entities with all the street cred a serious Champagne aficionado could ask for. It could be argued, in fact, that the “grower Champagne” movement has democratized fine wine—nowhere else (except maybe Bordeaux) will you find so many impeccable, cellar-worthy treasures for well under three figures. Tonight, we’ve got a spicy, savory rosé from tiny Leclerc Briant in Épernay, an early adopter of organic and biodynamic farming in Champagne and the author of one of the most holiday-appropriate wines we’ve ever tasted. The baking spices, the dried fruits…this Extra Brut may be served chilled but it has a soul-warming quality to it. Think of it as the all-natural, underground alternative to big-house rosé yardsticks like Billecart-Salmon and Bollinger. When it comes to venturing outside one’s comfort zone without risking disappointment, Champagne may be the safest place in wine.

As is so often the case in this part of the world, the history behind Leclerc Briant is significant. It was founded in 1872, in the village of Cumières, by Lucien Leclerc. Subsequent generations of Leclercs grew the business to the point where it supplemented its estate vineyard production with purchased fruit from contract growers, and eventually this (still-small) maison moved to Épernay, where it is still headquartered today.

Fifth-generation vigneron Patrick Leclerc is credited with moving the estate in the direction of organic and biodynamic farming in the late 1980s, and the estate obtained biodynamic certification from Demeter in 2003 (it is safe to refer to them as “early adopters”). In 2012, the property was acquired by an American couple, Mark Nunelly and Denise Dupré, who have maintained the rigorous standards in the vineyards while also overseeing an extensive renovation of the winery. Overall, Leclerc Briant farms 14 hectares of its own vineyards, most of which are in villages classified as either Grand Cru (Mailly; Le Mesnil) or Premier Cru (Hautvillers; Cumières; Mareuil sur Aÿ; Bisseuil; Rilly la Montagne; Villers-Allerand; and Trépail). 

This non-vintage cuvée is composed of 95% Chardonnay from Chouilly and Montgueux blended with 5% still, oak-fermented Pinot Noir from Les Riceys in the Aube. The dosage (sugar addition) is kept around 3 grams/liter, qualifying it as an Extra Brut, and it is indeed a dry, savory, spicy style of rosé that will shine with everything from hard cheeses and various salty hams to all sorts of poultry and game. It shines a pale salmon pink in the glass and gives off lots of holiday spice-cake vibes on the nose: dried cranberries, pomegranate, nutmeg, rose petals, underbrush, even a hint of pepper and clove. It is medium-bodied and quite taut on the palate, best served in larger stems and allowed to come up to about 50 degrees to let all its aromatics shine. Whereas a lot of the rosé Champagne we offer skews a little bigger and broader on the palate, this is laser-focused and star-bright. Although turkey and cranberry sauce is behind us for the year, something along those lines would make a great partner for this wine. Cheers!

Leclerc Briant, Champagne Extra Brut Rosé

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