Maison Leroy is often called the greatest estate in Burgundy. Its wines are legendary, as is its history. Founded in 1868 by Francois Leroy in Vosne-Romanee, the Leroy name was associated with outstanding wine by the late 19th century. In 1942 the family purchased half of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Today the estate is run by the remarkable Lalou Leroy, who ran the family’s negociant business for decades before taking over winemaking in 1988. She added vineyards to the estate and today has 56 acres of prime parcels planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Aligote. About 17 of her acres are in grand cru vineyards, including Corton-Charlemagne, Corton-Renardes, Richebourg, Romanee-St. Vivant, Clos de Vougeot, Musigny, Clos de la Roche, Latricieres-Chambertin and Chambertin. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called Leroy’s wines “the reference point for Burgundy…(the wines) are among the noblest and purest expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy.”
Burgundy in eastern France is, if not the most famous and storied wine region in the world, certainly one of the top two or three. Its winemaking history dates from the Roman era, and its relatively small size and reputation for outstanding wines means that the best wines of Burgundy are generally among the world’s most prized – and costly – wines. At about 110,000 vineyards acres, Burgundy is only 40% as big as Bordeaux, and its system of dividing up vineyards into small, family-owned parcels makes understanding the wines of Burgundy a life-long pursuit for Burgundy enthusiasts. The three main grapes of Burgundy are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay. Burgundy is a long, narrow, north-south running region consisting of five main areas. They are Chablis in the north, Côte D’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais, which is just above the Rhone Valley. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are grown throughout most of Burgundy but Gamay is grown primarily in Beaujolais. The appellation system and rules about labeling can be confusing and the system classifies regions, villages and even individual vineyards. Grand Cru is the most prestigious appellation category, followed by Premier Cru and many village and regional appellations.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.