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.”
Côte de Nuits is the northern part of the Côte d’Or and it includes the most famous vineyards and wine communes in the world. There are more Grand Cru appellations in the Côte de Nuits than anywhere else in Burgundy. Of the fourteen communes, or villages in the Côte de Nuits, six produce Grand Cru wines. They are Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St.-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Flagey-Échezeaux and Vosne-Romanee. Some of the vineyards within the Côte de Nuits are tiny, which adds to their prestige. The fabled Grand Cru vineyard La Romanee is barely two square acres. Altogether there are twenty-four Grand Cru vineyards. The region takes its name from the village of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Côtes de Nuits produces mostly reds from Pinot Noir, and the wines have been in demand for centuries. During the 18th century King Louis XIV’s physician recommended that for his health the king only drink wines from Nuits-Saint-Georges. Like most of Burgundy, the soils of the Côte de Nuit can vary greatly from one vineyard to another, though most are a base soil of limestone mixed with clay, gravel and sand.
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.