Champagne Mouzon-Leroux & Fils
"There is plenty of energy that runs through these Champagnes, but the house signatures are nicely balanced here." -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
This Article Contains
Sébastien Mouzon and Philippe, Pascale
With help from Virginie, Emi, Geoffrey, Nicolas, Christophe and Fabien.
Pure unadorned, single village examples of Verzy, the only ones on the market. Mineral, incisive, and restrained.
(By Archimatth - File:Vignobles_France.svg, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37093378)
Montagne de Reims
Verzy, Grand Cru
- 60 parcels across the village
- 3 hills offer distinct terroir
- Chalk to the east: Chardonnay
- Silex or flint in the middle: unique minerality
- Clay in the west: Power
- This was the northern edge of viticulture until recent decades
- 2nd most northern grape growing region in France, after Alsace, but much less sunshine and more rain.
- Harsh cold winters
- Short hot summers
- Very wet climate, although drought has been an issue in recent vintages because of climate change
- Rain in summer, snow in winter
- Viticulture is possible because of long, (hopefully) dry, temperate autumns to extend the growing season.
- Because ripeness was a struggle, grapes are usually grown for white wine, or in the last 150 years, sparkling wines.
- Cool climate red varieties Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier dominate, but the vast majority are destined for white or rosé sparkling wines.
- Wines are going to be high in acidity, light in body, low in alcohol, and often need extended aging of 18 months or more to temper the high acidity.
- Sugar is often added to wines at the end, called dosage, to help balance the high acidities from cold climate grapes.
- 60% Pinot Noir
- Critical for structure and body, more powerful than the other two grapes
- Fruit profile can include red apple, strawberry, apricot, and peach
- Savory notes of spices, stones, rose petal and violet
- Almost always the grape used for rosé Champagne
- Shows best in on south facing sites with clay over chalk
- 35% Chardonnay
- Adds finesse and freshness
- Often a signature lemon meringue pie flavor profile.
- If handled reductively, can impart white flower, ginger, green apple, quince and other primary flavors
- Oxidative or aged examples can be full of brioche, kernel, honey and truffle
- Does best in east facing sites with little to no top soil on chalk and other limestones
- 5% Arbane, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier & Petit Meslier
- Certified by Demeter
- Started conversion in 2008
- Agroforestry practices with more than 700 trees and shrubs planted on the vineyard blocks and more than 300 aromatic plants (Thyme, Oregano, Savory, Mint, etc.).
- Animals (chickens and sheep) for winter grazing.
- Horses for plowing
- Local yeasts harvested in a pied de cuve (a started with grapes from the vineyard)
- Harvests only the ripest grapes to avoid chaptalization.
- Wines naturally go through malolactic fermentation for stabilization (allows lower sulfur additions)
- Vin clair matures in barrels (from Jadot) or in stainless steel for 7-24 months, depending on cuvée
- No filtration or fining
- Very little to no sulfur (average of 15 mg/l total SO2, less than 5 mg/L free SO2)
- Secondary fermentation is with yeasts from Fleury, the biodynamic pioneer in the Aube
- Wines age on lees 3 to 5 years, depending on cuvée
- Riddling aids are used to keep the yeasts from sticking to the bottle
- Very low dosage.
This family has been growing grapes since the founding of our nation, in 1776, in the village of Verzy. In the 1930’s they started bottling their own wine, and Sebastian, the 9th generation, is now in charge.
Philippe, Sebastien’s father, was the first to stir the pot, both in the family and village, allowing grass to grow between the vines. Neighbors thought he was crazy.
This was nothing compared to Sebastien who made sweeping changes when he came on board in 2008. A stint in Burgundy opened his eyes to alternative farming and winemaking methods. When he returned home he joined a small study with Groupement de Développement Viticole, a branch of the Chamber of Agriculture, to trial some of his changes in the vineyards. Since then, he’s run many tests and worked with experts from around France to understand and quantify effects on soil life, plants, vineyard treatments and composting, among other things.
Now they are focused on the land above all else, not just subscribing to the fad of biodynamics, but also integrating animals and agroforestry for a true biosphere throughout their vineyards.
Mouzon-Leroux has also joined the Club Trésors de Champagne or “Special Club”. A preeminent wine-growing association who strives for quality above all else.
Sébastian Mouzon describes the differences between Verzenay and Verzy in this way: “In Verzenay, the mineral is inside the fruit. In Verzy, the fruit is inside the minerality.”
I find the wines to have a good mix of ripe fruit, texture, and depth. Some vintages can be yeasty, maybe a little overly so, but others, like the rosé are excellent.
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Atavique Tradition Extra Brut, NV $67.99 $59.83
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Atavique Tradition Extra Brut, NV (1.5L) $169.99 $149.59
"A sculpted Champagne that's firm and mouthwatering, yet the fine and creamy mousse softens the impression, bringing overall harmony. The baked white cherry, raspberry coulis, pickled ginger and anise notes are underscored by a streak of salty mineral, and accents of lime blossoms and graphite chime on the finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Disgorged February 2021. Drink now through 2025. 125 cases imported. 93 pts"—Alison Napjus
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Ascendant Solera Extra-Brut, NV $89.99 $79.19
"The NV Extra-Brut L'Ascendant is a very pretty wine based on 2017 combined in equal parts with a solera-style blend going back to 2014, 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Bright floral accents, lemon peel, white pepper, mint and crushed rocks lend freshness throughout, I very much like the vibrancy and overall energy. Dosage is 1 gram per liter. Disgorged: January, 2022. 91 pts" -- By Antonio Galloni
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Incandescent Rosé de Saignée Extra Brut, NV $89.99 $79.19
"The (2018) Extra Brut Rosé de Saignée L'Incandescent (100% Pinot Noir) is a deep, somewhat rustic Champagne, with good depth and plenty of character. I see it as a wine for the dinner table, where some of the more angular contours will be less evident. Crushed red berry fruit, game, cedar, tobacco and dried flowers linger. Dosage is 15 grams per liter. Disgorged: September, 2021. 90 pts" -- By Antonio Galloni
Mouzon-Leroux, Coteaux Champenoise Blanc Les Feverins, 2020 $102.99 $90.63
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Angélique Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, 2017 $114.99 $101.19
"Reveals rich hints of bread dough and walnut skin that accent brighter notes of poached apricot, white cherry and lime blossoms as they ride the wooly textured mousse. Shows saline tang and a touch of grapefruit peel, which add more to the fresh feel than the softer acidity. Disgorged October 2022. Drink now. 364 cases made, 24 cases imported. 89 pts"-- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Ineffable Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, 2016 $119.99 $105.59
"A fresh, mineral-driven Champagne, with notes of whole-grain toast, black currant, anise extract and pastry cream set on the lacy mousse. Chalky finish. Disgorged April 2022. Drink now through 2028. 298 cases made, 24 cases imported. 92 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne Les Fervins Extra Brut, 2017 $169.99 $149.59
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Opintâre Blanc de Blancs (Sans Soufre) Extra Brut, 2016 $169.99 $149.59
Mouzon-Leroux, Champagne L'Exaltant Ratafia, NV (500ml) $69.99 $61.59