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The wines of Domaine Leroy, Burgundy   

Domaine Leroy, 21190 Meursault, France
Tel +31 (0)3 80 21 21 10

Lalou Bize-Leroy (right) is one of the superstars of Burgundy. Now in her 60s she began working in the negociant business of father, Henri Leroy, when she was in her early 20s, in 1955. Maison Leroy had been founded in 1868 in Auxey-Duresses, and the business flourished first under Joseph Leroy, son of the founder, and latterly Henri Leroy, to the extent that in 1942 Henri was able to buy half of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

So it was in 1974 that Lalou became co-manager of the famed Domaine de la Romanée-Conti alongside Aubert de la Villaine. By all accounts this was not an easy relationship, and in 1992 she was famously kicked out, in part because she’d already begun running a competing business: in 1988 with the help of outside investors she’d purchased Domaine Noëllat in Vosne-Romanée, which was renamed Domaine Leroy. Subsequent purchases expanded the vineyard area, including the estate of Philippe-Rémy at Gevrey-Chambertin. Of particular note is the Domaine d’Auvenay, whose wines are vinified separately.  

Now she has 23 hectares of vines, most of which is in prime vineyards. Leroy is a celebrated practitioner of biodynamie, and yields are miniscule, in part because of low yielding old vines, in part because of a deliberate choice to restrict yields heroically, and (I suspect) in part because biodynamie will usually result in some crop loss to disease in the relatively damp climate of Burgundy.

With regard to the winemaking, filtration and fining are eschewed, as is destemming, and all the barrels are new every vintage.

But the important bit: what are the wines like? Let’s first say that you come to wines as famous (and expensive) as these with a degree of expectation. Along with the DRC wines, these are Burgundy’s most sought after. They are top of the A list. And they do seem to live up to their reputation: I was awed by the four that I tried. Magical wines.

Domaine Leroy Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Aux Boudots 2000
Huge depth of perfumed, spicy fruit on the nose, together with a distinctive tarriness. There’s great depth here, with a liqueur-like richness to the fruit. The palate is quite structured and full with lovely, tarry, spicy red fruits. Lots of complexity and depth. Excellent 97/100

Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts 2000
Fantastic, open nose: deep, rich, tarry and full but with a lovely perfume, too. Intense, with quite a depth. The palate is concentrated, dense and full but with a lovely silkiness to it. This is elegant and powerful, with firm spicy structure and great length. Excellent 98/100

Domaine Leroy Pommard Les Vignots 2001
Good colour. Forward nose of vibrant cherries and spice with nice depth and intensity. The palate is concentrated, silky and elegant with some tannin – lovely spicy structure. Great depth and finishes with good acidity. Very good/excellent 92/100

Domaine Leroy Clos de Vougeot 2001
Wonderfully perfumed open nose is bold and exciting with a slightly meaty edge and elegant berry fruits. The palate is forward, spicy and elegant with exciting silky structure and some meaty spicy depth to the perfumed fruit. Excellent 95/100

See also: the wines of Burgundy

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