The SOMM Journal

June / July 2015

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24 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2015 { champagne } IN 1859, TWO FAMILIES CAME TOGETHER TO CREATE DUVAL-LEROY in the village of Vertus in Champagne, never dreaming that 150 years and six generations later, they would find themselves still thriving and independent, with Chardonnay coursing through their blood and tangled in their DNA. Through triumph and tragedy, each generation has added something additional to the family history, and a new facet to the house. Great-grand-père Raymond Duval-Leroy rebuilt the estate from the ruins of WWII and created the flagship blend; grand-père Charles poured his energies into expanding and elevating the family's vineyard holdings; his son, Jean Charles Duval-Leroy, set about modern - izing the house by building a state-of-the-art winemaking facility. Following the untimely death of Jean Charles in 1991, his young widow Carol stepped in, launching the extended line of Duval-Leroy Champagnes and expand- ing exports and sales around the world. That same year, Carol appointed the newly graduated Sandrine Logette-Jardin to the position of Quality Manager of the winery. The bet paid off: Sandrine worked her way up to Head Winemaker in 2005, becoming the first female Chef de Cave at an independently owned Champagne house. When asked if there is one thing that defines their house style, Carol smiles and notes, "We are directed by the grapes." Duval-Leroy continues to grow and adapt, under the watchful direction of Carol and her three sons, who handle the management, marketing and public relations of the winery. Yet, despite their successes, the family has never forgotten their roots. Their 200-hectare (490-acre) estate sits in the heart of one of the top Premier Cru regions in Champagne. Duval-Leroy is "the heart of Vertus," Carol articulates, "and the terroir of Vertus is Duval-Leroy." The Heart of Vertus Julien Duval-Leroy, General Secretary, and Carol Duval-Leroy, Chairman & Chief Executive of Champagne Duval-Leroy. Champagne Duval-Leroy NV Brut 1er Cru ($70) 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir This flagship wine was created in 1911 by Great-grand-père Raymond Duval-Leroy, and is a blend of 80% Premier Cru, 20% Grand Cru vine - yards from the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs regions. This wine strikes a lovely bal- ance between complexity and consistency. Champagne Duval-Leroy NV Rosé Prestige 1er Cru ($80) 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay Made in the traditional saigneé method, the Pinot Noir component of this wine is "bled" off its skins after a brief maceration period. An added step in quality, the fruit for this cuvée is sourced from 80% Premier Cru, 20% Grand Cru vineyards, and is aged 36 months in bottle before release. Champagne Duval-Leroy 2000 Cuvée "Femme de Champagne" ($220) 95% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir This wine, which is a selection of only the best Grand Cru vineyards, has been made in only four vintages since its inception in 1990. As the house's prestige cuvée, this wine is a blend of the best parcels of Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs and of Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. Champagne Duval-Leroy is imported by Terlato Wines. CHAMPAGNE DUVAL-LEROY IS "DIRECTED BY THE GRAPES" story and photos by Karen Moneymaker

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