Alexis Leconte, 5th generation winemaker, joined his father Xavier making wine in the Marne Valley village of Troissy in 2013. He returned home after studying winemaking in Champagne and, once graduated, making wine in Alsace and Burgundy. His first order of business was to return the estate to the Organic farming that his grandfather and great grandfather had always practiced on the land. The focus was now back to the land, the vines and the plough. In 2015 Alexis assumed full control of the estate and very quickly converted to Biodynamics. He also started a parallel brand Champagne Alexis to go along with the family brand Champagne Xavier Leconte. Now both brands are rolling up to become Champagne A. Leconte. This brand culminates not only 5 generations of winemaking but a decade of experimentation, exploration and experience in the vineyards and cellars.
All of the work in the vineyard is organized according to the rhythms and cycles of the season. Natural plant matter and cover crop have been plowed deep for over a decade to encourage deep rooting and help compost the soil. This allows for less need to treat with organics and a natural disease defense built up by the vines due to the biodiversity. There have been subtle changes made in reaction to the changing climate of Champagne. There is very little to no leaf thinning to protect from sun and hail as well as a more nuanced tasting of the berries before harvest to ensure ripeness and acidity are perfect.
A walk through the cellars in Troissy reveals a labyrinth of differing barrel sizes and shapes including new and old 228L , 400L and 500L oak as well as Sandstone tanks to match the soils found in the vineyards. Winemaking feels different here, Alexis does not talk of pressing in the same way some other winemakers do. The press juice is not considered in the traditional way of preserving the parts individually. The berry to Alexis is, “an invisible whole” that must be preserved. The juice is obtained, and then slowly fermented and decanted off of its lees and all impurities removed. This allows for the totality of the terroir to show through in each wine. It is an uncommon approach and the resulting wines are equally uncommon in the most amazing way. The depth and complexity in each wine is unsurpassed and it is always a delight to run across one of Alexis’ bottling.