David Leclapart is a biodynamic Grower Producer located in Trépail, which is in the Montagne de Reims region and just northeast of the Grand Crus of Ambonnay and Bouzy. Where Ambonnay and Bouzy are mostly Pinot Noir, Trépail's planting are 87% percent Chardonnay.
His wines are very dry, have energy beyond belief (just the bubbles from my first glass sounded like a race car revving up), and are one of my personal finds of the year in Champagne. Yes, others know they are great too, and despite producing only 8000 bottles a year, his wines are exported to at least the USA (try Premier Cru.net and tell them The Champagne Poodle sent you) and Australia.
David's father, grandfather, and great grandfather also grew grapes, and when he graduated from the agro-biology school of Beaujeu he came back to his nearly 3 hectares of vines in Trépail and followed a biodynamic path. His vines are 90% Chardonnay, and he uses his 10% Pinot Noir both for Coteau Champenois red (non sparkling red) and for Rose Champagne.
David Leclapart has been described as a "biodynamic artist" and Champagne critic Richard Juhlin ranked Leclapart's 2004 L’Apotre as one of the top 100 Champagnes in the last 100 years, the only recent vintage Champagne to make the list.
He is often compared to Selosse, or as following the Selosse school. Selosse is a pioneer of biodynamics in Champagne. My friends at the Rare Wine Company say "Every decade or so, a winemaker comes along who, through the force of his ideas, and the brilliance of his work, has the power to change the course of wine history. Anselme Selosse is such an individual — and the man most responsible for the revolution that’s changing Champagne for the better."
Leclapart's wines, like Selosse's, are so transparent, have such a sense of terroir - we are talking profound wines. And I've only tried his entry level wine so far!
There are four main wines you may stumble across (with some concerted effort). The Cuvee L'Amateur NV is the entry level wine and an absolute steal at the $45-$50 dollars I paid for it. The Cuvee L'Apotre, Cuvee L'Artiste, and Cuvee L'Alchimiste Rose, all Non Vintage, are very roughly twice the price and on my hit list.
Tasting Note: David Leclapart Cuvee L'Amateur NV Blanc de blancs -Rated A, November 2011
Oh my, this shit rocks!
Plenty of small to medium sized bubbles and a very light yellow color
Nose: Chalk and slate with something spicy in the background initially. With air, tangerine, light grapefruit, and a little kiwi.
On the palate this is very balanced, elegant, and vivacious.
Awesome! Lemon, almost custard on the tongue. Some orangeish citrus, maybe
kumquat, on the palate with air.