“Burgundy with bubbles”: Profound Champagnes of Ruppert-Leroy

Posted on: 02/15/19 9:15 PM

Ruppert Leroy

Ruppert-Leroy is one of the most exciting new voices to emerge from Champagne in years. Lead by Bénédicte and Emmanuel Leroy, this tiny four hectare estate in the Aube has quickly gained attention from critics and collectors worldwide. The wines, which many insiders have proclaimed to be “Burgundy with bubbles”, are incredibly vinous and fruit-intense making us recall another heavy-weight we’ve come to feverously collect, Cedric Bouchard.

Ms. Leroy’s parents were originally sheep farmers settling in Essoyes in 1975 to start a small farm on a clearing above the town. In the 1980s they learned that they could plant grapes on the land they had been renting for the sheep to graze. It was a prudent choice. The vineyards rest on clay and white limestone. Little by little they created a domaine and in 2010 everything farmed was completely (and uniquely) organic.

In terms of house style the vinification is uniform across all bottlings: natural yeast from their own grapes, malolactic is not inoculated, rather it happens on its own time in either 225L barrels and 500L demi-muids. There is no fining or filtering and cold settling occurs naturally with the winter frosts. Lastly the bottles are disgorged à la volée brut nature without any added SO2 or liqueur.

Five years ago, Bénédicte converted the family’s vineyards to biodynamic farming. As Bénédicte says, “The quality of our wine comes directly from the quality of the grapes we have,” a direct result of the family’s unwavering focus on keeping their soil and vines as naturally healthy as possible. This reads easier than it is. Champagne, unlike other appellations in France, is notoriously difficult to farm organically, and even harder to do so biodynamically. To do so with the amount of mildew pressure, along with the constant threat of botrytis, is a true testament to the heart and soul of this special estate. Unlike the polished images from the grande marques, the magical champagnes of Ruppert-Leroy fittingly suggest soil on the boots and dirt under the fingernails. We urge you to experience them.

2015 Ruppert-Leroy “Martin Fontaine”

From the importer: “Organic. Clay-Limestone with a majority of white limestone. Elevage in barrels sur lie for 6 months, then 2 years in bottle ‘sur lattes’. Bottled brut nature. Elegant and complex wine with aromas of white pepper, white flowers, and white fruit. Notes of ripe lemon. Good tension and a straightforward and powerful first flavor, which finishes with finesse and a long beautiful minerality. 3,500 bottles produced.”

2015 Ruppert-Leroy “Fosse-Grely”

From the importer: “Organic. Clay-Limestone with a majority of red clay. Elevage in tank sur lie for 6 months, then 2 years in bottle ‘sur lattes’. Bottled brut nature. Complex and elegant. Aromas of white flowers, peche de vigne, and pears. Fresh in the mouth, silky with a beautiful fluidity. 7,000 bottles produced.”

Posted in Reserve List By Tim Sellon