x
  • Weather

    8° C Clear sky
  • Time

    03:00 AM
  • Wine average?

    90 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    578
  • Region Ranking?

    63
  • Popularity ranking?

    121

History

Duval-Leroy is a family business, established in 1859 through the merger of two Champagne growers. The company is still based in its village of origin, Vertus.

Handed down from father to son, it has remained independent for 148 years.

With five hundred hectares of vines, Vertus (with 2500 inhabitants) is now the second largest wine-growing district in the Champagne region, after Les Riceys. It has had rather an eventful history. An important regional centre during the Middle Ages, it was entirely destroyed once during the Hundred Years’ War and then again during the Second World War. Today it enjoys its status as a thriving community based on its qualification as one of the top Premier Cru rated areas in Champagne.

 

Since its creation, Champagne DUVAL-LEROY has been located in Vertus, in the heart of “La Cote des Blancs”. Currently the House cultivates about 200 hectares, much of which is devoted to production of high quality Chardonnay grapes. The predominance of Chardonnay in the elaboration of the cuvees gives a finesse, lightness and elegance to DUVAL-LEROY champagnes. Headed by Carol DUVAL-LEROY since 1991, the company is one of the few remaining 100% family-owned Champagne firms and is ranked in the 15 top Champagne houses.

Some figures:

  • 1970: 400 000 bottles sold
  • 2000: 4 million bottles sold
  • 2006: 5.2 million bottles sold

 

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Vineyards

Whilst approaching Vertus, a village nestling in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, where the Duval-Leroy family home has existed since 1859, we fly over part of the 200 hectares vineyard run by this family business.

This independent supply, on a scale rarely found in Champagne, provides one quarter of the company’s annual grape requirement. A major asset, it guarantees the quality and consistency of Duval-Leroy Champagne. The delicate balance of three grape varieties gives the wine all of its characteristics, but because we are in the Côte des Blancs, Chardonnay predominates. The vines, the sun and the rain decide each year on the quality of the grapes. Nevertheless, the involvement of man is essential to ensure that the harvest reveals all of its potential. At Duval-Leroy, more than 30 people manage the vineyard all year round, giving each vine the attention and loving care that it needs. For the harvest, 500 grape pickers join the permanent staff for the major event in the wine grower’s calendar.

The in-house presses receive the grapes as they are picked along with those purchased from other wine growers.

 

As noted above, among the three Champagne grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier), Chardonnay is the only one that produces a white grape with white juice. The other two produce black grapes with white juice.

 

The harvest must be done in the best possible conditions and the pressing must be done immediately after harvesting to avoid oxidation of the grapes. That is the reason why Champagne DUVAL-LEROY has five pressing centres, containing 16 presses, all located in the Champagne area. The must (grape juice) is transferred by tankers to the winery in Vertus to begin the wine-making process.

During this period of intense activity, we need to employ 500 people in the vineyards, the pressing centres, the test laboratories and the winery.

 

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Winemaking

The first step in production that welcomes the grapes is the pressing unit. This will therefore be the starting point of our visit.

The difference in the grape varieties (both white and black) involved in making champagne means that pressing is a delicate process requiring strict control. The Vertus pressing unit that we discover here is matched by four others, located in Bligny, Beaunay, Chouilly and Sézanne. Technology will now make way for the most discreet, yet important in-house activity-blending.

Duval-Leroy develops its own blends, a jealously-guarded secret known to the chef de cave alone, which give a special quality and enduring consistency to the wines. However, the sophistication, lightness and elegance that have distinguished Duval-Leroy champagnes for over a hundred and fifty years do reveal part of the secret: the predominance of the Chardonnay grape in the wines produced here.

We shall gently close the door again and return to the production unit to watch the bottling process.The bottling process starts in Spring each year. Unlike the first fermentation before bottling and the ageing that immediately follows, the time factor is kept to a strict minimum because the whole bottling process is fully automated.

60.000 bottles thus leave the site each day.

Fermentation process

Let¹s follow the bottles. Silent, dark and cool the natural chalk cellars wait for us...19 million bottles spend from 2 to more than ten years here, depending on the cru. The stillness that reigns in the dimly-lit kilometres of passages that make up the Crayères fascinate visitors, but all is not what it seems. Once bottled, the wine starts a second fermentation, a delicate process where the unhurried passing of time will later guarantee fine quality bubbles.

A long ageing process now starts in the optimal conditions provided by the darkness, adequate humidity and constant temperature of the Duval-Leroy chalk cellars.

 

 

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28 different wines with 64 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  56 wines 

The Champagne Magazine's "The 100-Best Champagnes 2022" tasting - Day 2.

1m 19d ago

 Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  18 wines 

From a cooler, fresher vintage and based on more Chardonnay than usual (55%), with 45% Pinot Noir, the Philipponnat 2008 Clos des Goisses Extra-Brut shows an exciting bouquet of bright fruits, crushed chalk, bread and iodine notes. On the palate, this is an excitingly vibrant, fresh and chalky Clos with lovely citrus and cumquat flavors on the finish. The 2008 is very complex, bright, super clear and fresh, with a tightly woven structure but still great finesse and elegance. This is a fabulous Clos for the next three decades. The dosage is 4.5 grams per liter. Disgorged in April 2017 (?), tasted at the domaine in April 2018.


In April this year, on a very sunny early morning and after a memorable tasting at Jacques Lassaigne in the far south, I had a fantastic tasting with Charles Philipponnat and Antoine de Boysson, his commercial director. Sixteen cuvées instead of breakfast was a great start to the day, the more so since I had a trilogy of the famous, south-facing, 30% to 45% steep Clos des Goisses (2007 to 2009), the rare but adorable 2006 and 2007 (!) Clos des Goisses Just Rosé and the 2008 Les Cintres, the second vintage of the single-plot cuvées. A 100% oak-fermented Pinot Noir from the central part of the Clos des Goisses, the 2008 Les Cintres is not only the most impressive one of this group but also one of the finest Champagnes I have had this spring. The 2008 Mareuil-sur-Aÿ is also an outstanding Pinot Noir, though I did not taste the 2006 Le Léon, which is also crafted exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes from the historic Le Léon plot between Aÿ and Dizy that was—like the Clos des Goisses—already being cultivated by Charles's forefathers in 1522. All of the 1522 cuvées, not matter if 2007 or 2008, are extraordinary again.

4m 3d ago

 Marc F, Wine Collector (Belgium)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  1 wines 

Eye: Full, lemon yellow, crown with many small bubbles.
Nose: Pure, full, ripe apple, pear, peach, melon, brioche, yeast.
Mouth: Round, fruity, good balance between acids and plumpness, sufficient draft, small bitterness in the aftertaste. This bottle has everything I expect from a Champagne.

4m 19d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  5 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  198 wines 

Wow, the 100 Best Champagnes ranking for 2021 is launched. It was such a pleasure to be part of the tasting panel and experience the great overall quality of all the champagnes. Such a superb line-up from prestige champagnes to non-vintages from Grands Maisons to growers and coops. Where there any surprises? Hell yes, check out the rankings and you'll see!

9m 28d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 5th day of Champagne Magazines annual The 100-Best Champagnes of the year 2020 -tasting!

11m 2d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  47 wines 

100 Best Champagne semifinals continue.... Some great surprises, such as Alfred Gratien Brut Millésime 2007!

11m 29d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  40 wines 

The hard work of assessing hundreds of champagnes for The 100 Best Champagnes 2021 has started! First tasting session behind. Great champagnes with very consistent quality.

1y 1m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  40 wines 

Champagne Magazine's The 100 Best Champagnes 2021 Day 1 -


6 more days to go.

1y 1m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  72 wines 

Champagne Magazines 100 Best Champagnes 2020 -tasting day III.

1y 8m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  41 wines 

2017 Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Blanchots / Pale lemon yellow. Apples, minerals, detailed, nuanced, intense nose, layered. Fresh acidity, apples, lemons, spices, nuanced, layered and detailed, intense and long, superb. 96 points

2y 4m ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  44 wines 

Champagne Magazine's The 100 Best Champagnes 2018-tasting / Day 1

3y 6m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Duval-Leroy . In a tasting of  31 wines 

The Finnish summer has not started yet - the sea is still cold (+14c) and it's raining every second day - but the colder the weather is, the better is the taste:)


Here are some summer wines I have tried between the showers.

4y 3m ago

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