This estate is notable for being one of the largest in Champagne entirely converted to biodynamic production. Pascal Leclerc-Briant’s father Bertrand was one of the first to move away from the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and Pascal followed the same path, going further when he began experimenting with biodynamic vine cultivation back in 1970 at a time when such methods were very rare in Champagne.
Based in Epernay, the house of Leclerc-Briant was founded in 1852; the company owns around 30hectares of vineyards, principally in the crus of Cumières,Hautvilliers (both premiers crus),Damery and Verneuil, all located to the west of Epernay on the northern side of the Marne Valley.
After ten years farming the Cumières vineyards biodynamically, after the 2000 harvest he decided to convert all its vineyards. In 1994 Leclerc-Briant was one of the first in Champagne to introduce a number of single vineyard wines under the Collection Les Authentiques label: Les Chèvres Pierreuses, Les Crayères and Le Clos des Champions. Each was produced on a different terroir in Cumières. More recently he added ‘La Croisette’, a Blanc de Blancs from Epernay, and ‘La Ravinne’, a Pinot Meunier from Verneuil. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of this collection a sixth such cuvée: ‘Les Quatriémes’, also from Verneuil but mostly Pinot Noir, was made from the 2009 vintage and will be released in around three years.
Leclerc-Briant had a flair for publicity, encouraging visitors – and charging them €40 – to the company’s cellars in Epernay by offering them the chance to learn the art of sabrage - opening a bottle of Champagne with a sabre, abseiling 30 metres into the company’s chalk cellars or visiting the museum he opened in1992 to house his collection of old tools, plus over 400 types of cork and bottle. In 2004, at the Charles de Gaulle Hilton Hotel, he celebrated the tenth anniversary of his new range by breaking the record – for the third time - for making the largest Champagne fountain, a pyramid of precisely 33,081 Champagne flutes.
Sadly Pascal Leclerc-Briant passed away in Oct 2010, he had been divorced for several years. He leaves his four daughters, Ségolène - who it is understood intends to take over the business - Astrid, Sonia and Diane.