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Domaine Leroy

I cannot think of a more extraordinary wine producer in all Burgundy, and perhaps the entire world, than Domaine Leroy.  There are so many facets of this Domaine that make it truly unique, such that a little background information is required.leroy-sign.jpg

The spritely Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy is the fourth generation of the Leroy family run the wine business, joining in 1955.  Whilst the original Maison Leroy was established in 1868 and continues to be run by Lalou, it is the illustrious Domaine that garners the lion's share of attention.  Starting in 1988 with the purchase of some 15 hectares of vineyards throughout Vosne-Romanee (the former Charles Noellat estate) as well as nealy four hectares in Gevrey-Chambertin (the former Philippe Remy estate), there have been additional purchases since and today she has no less than nine grands crus (Corton-Charlemagne, Corton-Renardes, Romanee St.-Vivant, Richebourg, Clos Vougeot, Musigny, Clos de la Roche, Latricieres-Chambertin and Chambertin), seven premiers crus and numerous villages-level lieu dits.  She owns the majority of Domaine Leroy, with a share held by her long-time Japanese importer.

leroy-vines.jpgShe also runs her personal domaine, Domaine d'Auvenay, based is Auxey-Duresses, which includes a stellar collection of wines from around five hectares, including Mazis-Chambertin, Bonnes-Mares, Chevalier-Montrachet, Criots-Batard-Montrachet and recently a purchase of 0.3 hectare of Batard-Montrachet for a reputed 25 million euro.  To cap it off, the Leroy family (essentially Lalou and her sister) own a 50% stake of DRC.  So it's fair to say, Madame Leroy knows a thing or three about the greatest Burgundies!

Domaine Leroy have also always been the most expensive wines of Burgundy.  Whether they're worth the price, including in comparison to other top Burgundies, is naturally extremely subjective.  Having been lucky enough to drink many of her wines over the years, including numerous large horizontal and vertical tastings, there is no doubt that at their best (which is regularly), they are essentially as good as Burgundy gets.leroy-fermentation-tanks.jpg

Domaine Leroy has always been one of the leading proponents and vocal exponents of the virtues of biodynamics.  But that's not the only explanation for the extraordinary nature of the wines.  Yields a miniscule, even by typical Burgundian standards.  Average yields are between 15 and 20 hl/ha, and then severe sorting (as many as 50 people working on two vibrating sorting tables) mean production of most wines is very small.  Often only a single barrel or two of certain cuvees.  

To characterise the wines, they are exceptionally concentrated yet pure.  They're very complex, with quite stemmy flavours often despite the fact they're not fermented on steps, but rather each berry retains its petival (the bit leroy-cellars.jpgthat joins the grape to the stalk).  Whilst they're aged in 100% new oak, they are bottled early, often in less than a year, and [needless to say] without fining nor filtration.

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