Champagne Ruppert-Leroy is a story of sheep farmers turned vignerons. In 1970 Gérard Ruppert purchased just over a half hectare parcel of Chardonnay vines outside the village of Essoyes in the southeastern corner of Aube. This parcel (now the Fosse-Grely vineyard) captured Gérard with its beautiful terroir of Kimmeridgian soils and ideal sun exposure. Enamored by the land and with his passion for organic viticulture, Gérard expanded the parcel planting Pinot Noir vines using massale selection. Fosse-Grely is now the only vineyard farmed to both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The reputation of his vines quickly caught the attention of both small and large buyers as demand for his grapes continued to rise.
As Gérard approached retirement and found himself unwilling to sell his land, he convinced his daughter, Bénédicte Leroy, to quick her job and begin working with him. Bénédicte understood her father’s appreciation and love for the natural world and decided to take the family’s farming practice one step further converting the vineyards to biodynamic viticulture and completing the cycle by bottling their own wine. Bénédicte released the first vintage of Champagne Ruppert-Leroy in 2010.
With her husband, Emmanuel Leroy, by her side, the domaine has slowly grown. They now farm 4 hectares spread across 3 parcels all facing south-east. The largest parcel is the 2.13 hectare “Fosse-Grely” planted to both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. **As of the 2014 vintage release, they are bottling the massale selection parcel of Pinot Noir planted by Bénédicte’s father separately as cuvée “Papillon.” ** The next is the 1.32 hectare parcel “Les Cognaux” planted exclusively to Pinot Noir; a vineyard filled with fossilized sea shells, gray clay, and heavy limestone. Finally, the 0.55 hectare parcel of Chardonnay vines, “Martin Fontaine”. This is their steepest parcel. The domaine has built a reputation for producing “Burgundy with bubbles” as their wines are understood to be the byproduct of phenomenal farming combined with delicate hands in the cellar.
In the cellar, grapes are lightly pressed and all fermentation occurs in used Burgundy barriques. Only natural yeast is used. Primary fermentation is not rushed. Secondary fermentation begins in November and bottling occurs in June when the vines are flowering. No dosage is ever added. No sulfur is used at anytime.
Building on their love of nature and biodynamic viticulture, Bénédicte and Emmanuel are building their own ecosystem around the winery. They farms a variety of animals and harvest and dry plants to create their own biodynamic preparations. Bénédicte and Emmanuel are also predominately self-sufficient as they live off their own land providing everything they have to their vineyards.