2012 Champagne Leclerc Briant, Château d'Avize, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru, Brut Zéro
One of a handful of single vineyard châteaux in Champagne, now being made by Leclerc-Briant (although they are not owners). Crisp, clean, touches of green apple on the nose but there is weight behind this and it opens to show plenty of quince, hazlenut, biscuit and flaky pastry character, not quite as far as brioche at this point although it will develop over the next few years. The first wine to be released under the new regime, with Hervé Jestin chef de cave, as for Leclerc-Briant (he was in fact already making wine here under the previous owners). Ageing in neutral oak casks, biodynamic viticulture. 2.5ha of vines, 12%abv. Tasted twice, loved it both times, powerful depth of flavour. Brut zero (2g/l dosage), Blanc de Blancs, 100% Grand Cru.
Drink 2022 - 2038
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (Jul 2022)
Smells fresh with lemon and soft floral scents. Delicate and refined, this is crips, sharp and piercing yet also layered and rich. Bitter lemon rind mixes with honeyed orange and some pie crust savoury elements to give real character. A little bit woody still, just peeking out, in contrast to the fruit, still showing its youthfulness. After a few minutes all the flavours seem much brighter in the glass, more evocative and expressive. Thrillingly precise, dry and crisp. Dosage 2g/L. Made from 100% grand cru grapes.
Georgina Hindle, Decanter (Aug 2022)
About this WINE
Champagne Leclerc Briant
Champagne Leclerc Briant is part of our Spotlight on sustainability series. You can view the full range here.
Champagne Leclerc Briant focuses on organic and biodynamic viticulture, working in harmony with nature to produce some of the region’s most exciting wines.
Lucien Leclerc founded the estate in 1872 in the village of Cumières. In the mid-20th century, in the hands of Lucien’s great-grandson, Bertrand Leclerc, and his wife, Jacqueline Briant, the operation was moved to the beating heart of Champagne, Epernay, where it also took a new name – Leclerc Briant. It was around the same time that the house started practising biodynamics (one of the first in the region), eventually earning certification in the 1980s.
Since 2012, Chef du Cave Hervé Justin, formally of Duval-Leroy, has refined the House’s style. Working with organic and biodynamic fruit, he also practises biodynamic principles in the winery. The House has taken on new vineyards, renovated its facilities and has a renewed, uncompromising focus on quality.
The wines are low dosage, vineyard-specific and extremely interesting. Its Abyss cuvée is aged underwater.
Blanc de Blancs
In Champagne, the term Blanc de Blancs designates Champagnes made only from Chardonnay grapes. The vineyards located between Cramant and Mesnil-sur-Oger in Cote de Blancs yield the best examples of the style.
A classic Blanc de Blancs is restrained and elegant when young, yet with ageing it develops a mouth-coating brioche richness that overlays an intense expression of fruitiness. Blanc de Blancs are endowed with longer ageing potential than a typical Blanc de Noirs.
Recommended Producers: Salon, Billecart Salmon, Jacques Selosse, Dom Ruinart, Krug, Le Mesnil Grand Cru, Guy Larmandier
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
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The 2012 Chateau d’Avize is an ethereal Champagne that personifies the meticulous processes at Leclerc Briant. The nose shows layered citrus fruits, pear, white flowers, and fresh patisserie. The palate is ripe and shows notes of brioche and toast underpinning the white fruits. Drink 2023-2033.
Paul Keating, Account Manager, Berry Bros. & Rudd (Oct 2022)
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