Xavier Leconte Ratafia Champenois
18th October 2022
A rather unique set-up in that Champagne Xavier Leconte vineyards are a combination of forty small plots spread over the villages of Troissy, Dormans, Mareuil-le-Port, Vandières and Aÿ. The family winery sees Alexis as the head winemaker keeping to the traditions of his grandfather, Aimé, working the vineyards and wines in a singular way including work organised with respecting the phases of the Moon.
“At Champagne Xavier Leconte, 25% of the different grape varieties are vinified in barrels and 75% in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats however the wine from the smaller plots are vinified only in oak barrels.”
‘But‘ alas, we are not here today to talk about Champagne from Xavier Leconte (even though I counted 15 different labels that you can explore with them), instead we are delving in to the passion they hold for Ratafia Champenois with a look at their three main “Apeiron” labels that are currently on the market – Chardonnay, Meunier and Pinot Noir.
The Xavier Leconte Apeiron labels were each medal winners at the 2022 Ratafia Champenois Awards achieving a Gold Medal for their Meunier label along with Silver Medals for the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir. Tasting notes for the Meunier included: “If you are a big lover of pure light bodied, though at the same time very complex, then this is for you. Very elegant, has a lot of complexity yet within a light body. Fresh apples, citrus, apricot, peach and candy fruits. Future star this Ratafia Champenois maker in my eyes.”
This somewhat little known (liqueur) wine really packs a great depth of aromas and flavours as well as a lending itself well to pairing with foods such as cheese, chocolate cake, white meats, melon and more. Though Champagne might take the crown for global awareness and certainly the exposure it gets for fine gastronomy pairing, Ratafia Champenois can be a wild card when it comes to specific dishes (especially cheese):
Ratafia is a liqueur and usually around 18% alcohol content. The aroma and flavour diversity is immense from tropical fruits to leather with caramel, toast, walnut, vanilla and much more in between. Most Ratafia Champenois will be a single blend from a winery though there are an increasing number of wine makers taking things more seriously with blends dedicated to grapes / parcels as well as aged vintages.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.