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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Oenology arrow Duval-Leroy Champagne
Duval-Leroy Champagne PDF Print E-mail
ImageDuval-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, located in the C?te de Blancs.?

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

With five hundred hectares of vines, Vertus, with only 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.?

Champagne

The independent supply of Chardonnay, Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes found on the family?s 200 hectares, 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 its characteristics, but because it is in the C?te des Blancs, Chardonnay predominates. The vines, the sun and the rain decide each year on the quality of the grapes. Nevertheless, the involvement of the skilled artisan is essential to ensure that the harvest reveals all 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, 400 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.

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, or grape juice, is transferred by tankers to the winery in Vertus to begin the wine-making process.

Duval-Leroy develops its own blends, a jealously-guarded secret, known only to the chef de cave, 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 on the estate.

Sixteen million bottles then spend between two and seven years in the Duval-Leroy cellars, depending on the cru. The stillness that reigns in the dimly-lit kilometres of passages that make up the Cray?res 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.

Disgorging Process

Once the impurities are in the bottleneck, the disgorging process can start. This takes place using a very precise tool that measures temperature; the wine in the bottleneck is frozen, creating an ice cube containing the impurities. Once this ice plug is ejected due to the pressure in the bottle, the wine will then receive the dose of liquor that will determine whether it becomes a brut or demi-sec champagne. As a finishing touch the characteristic champagne cork and traditional cork wire can be added.?

Duval-Leroy

Since its creation, Champagne Duval-Leroy has been located in Vertus. Headed by Carol Duval-Leroy since 1991, the company is one of the few remaining 100 per cent family-owned Champagne firms and is ranked in the 15 top Champagne houses.

Steady growth each year ensures the family firm will stay on top.? In 1970, it sold 400,000 bottles; in 2000, it was four million; and in 2006, it reached 5.2 million bottles.?

Madame Carol Duval-Leroy,

Madame Carol Duval-Leroy, the president of Champagne Duval-Leroy, joined the very select group of women involved in running champagne houses in 1991. After the sudden loss of her husband that same year, she became the company chairwoman. For ten years, the modernisation of production processes, the development of traditional distribution channels, the increased product range and expanded exports are all objectives that Carol Duval-Leroy has set for her company. Today the brand?s whole image bears the mark of her passion for his profession

?Over the past fifteen years my key priority has been to raise the quality of all our products to the highest level possible. The mark of our success in this endeavour has been shown in the number of top awards and medals that Duval-Leroy obtains regularly at national and international competitions.

?Fostering a spirit of dynamism which leads to the satisfaction for our customers through the pleasure and enjoyment derived from drinking our champagnes. Ownership of a prime vineyard estate and excellent partnership relations with our grape suppliers, loyal and motivated staff, state-of-the-art plant and equipment in continual improvement and expansion means we are constantly striving for constant upward improvement, solid progress, and individual and collective development.?

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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