Sparkling Rising Star - Clément Leclere
"Where are all these new young Champagne growers coming from?” Have you ever wondered?
Clément of Domaine Leclere-Minard & Domaine Clément Leclere takes us through what it is like to start as a young grower-producer in the region known for its history & tradition.
A little bit over 20 minutes drive from Reims in the southwest direction takes you to the village of Coulommes-la-Montagne in the area also known as La Petite Montagne de Reims. There you find a vigneron named Clément. As his hair makes gentle curls like winding vineyard passageways, his eyes shine like the excitement of morning lights during the harvest & his passion radiates like the energy of grapevines reaching for the summer sunshine.
During his wine study, Clément had a remarkable chance to work at the respected property of Champagne David Léclapart with the inspiring wizard. He then headed to Burgundy to learn winemaking & other methods practiced outside of the Champagne region at Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Mâconnais for one year.
Returning home for the 2018 harvest, he did part-time work in the vineyard & cellar of Champagne Tarlant while he made his first wine from the fruits raised by his parents in the vineyard site named « La Trame Noire »
Clément’s wines are brand new in the market, but the family property of Domaine Minard dates back to 1922 & his parents established Domaine Leclere-Minard in 1990. They are the 3rd generation making this young man the 4th generation to continue the family tradition.
Since January 2019, he has joined his parents taking care of 2-hectare vineyards planted with 85% Meunier & 15% Chardonnay located across four villages of Coulommes-la-Montagne, Pargny-lès-Reims, Tramery & Courmas.
While his parents make their Champagne from wines pressed at the village’s co-op to bottle under Domaine Leclere-Minard label, Clément has also started his label under Domaine Clément Leclere using all of the fruits from his vineyards in Coulommes-la-Montagne since the 2019 harvest.
For 2020, his parents made their wines & so did Clément, but all wines from this independent property will be under the Domaine Clément Leclere label starting this year 2021.
“The goal of my winemaking is to respect each terroir. Harvest at ideal maturity & I vinify each plot separately using indigenous yeasts. Vinification takes place in oak barrels with no filtration. All this without distorting the wine as simply as possible,” says this bright talent with sparkling eyes.
Clément puts his efforts, work & heart into protecting their precious terroir & environment by implementing sustainable viticulture. No use of herbicides or insecticides & a small caterpillar tractor handles all the mechanical work without compacting the soil. Mowing practice is also minimal to protect biodiversity & to preserve plants for insects. Trees will join in the vineyards as, among other things, to be beneficial for birds & other living creatures.
“Apart from a helping hand from seasonal workers, my parents will help me for a couple of years. But I do pretty much everything” From grape growing to winemaking & taking care of the business side as a grower-producer is a lot of work with many challenges. But he does it all with so much passion & intelligence. My sincere respect goes to this rising star who is shining brilliantly & resiliently in the sky of Champagne.
About Clément’s Debut Bottling
« La Trame Noire Coteaux Blanc 2018 »
White Coteaux made from 100% Meunier of selection massale vines planted in 1969 on the site of « La Trame Noire » which’s got clay-limestone in the village of Tramery. A tiny bit of sulfites at the harvest but no chaptalization, no fining & no filtering. Bottled at the end of August 2019 & 290 bottles produced.
Pictures by Clément