Domaine Leroy Savigny Les Narbantons (signs of seapage) 1991
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
No name enlivens and ignites a discussion of Burgundy as quickly as Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy. She is unrelenting in every way, from her personality to how she runs her business to the quality of the wine in the bottle. The Leroy family’s 50% ownership of Domaine Romanée-Conti gave Lalou ample ability to amass the deepest and most revered cellar in Burgundy during the past six decades. Speculation is rampant about its size and holdings; only one person knows for sure. Today, Lalou is the force behind three domaines: Maison Leroy, Domaine Leroy and Domaine d’Auvenay.
The story of the Leroy family’s dominance in the wine world began more than a century ago, in 1868, when François Leroy founded Maison Leroy in Auxey-Duresses, a small village near Meursault. When Lalou’s father, Henri, joined the family business in 1919, the firm was already established as one of the greatest in Burgundy. Lalou joined her father in 1955, taking over the house in 1971.
Maison Leroy is the heart of the Leroy empire, a négociant house through which Lalou purchases and distributes wines from most appellations in Burgundy. With her legendary palate and stringent standards, she unearths some of the most thrilling wines of each vintage, then ages or finishes the wines herself, only releasing them to the market when she knows they are at their peak. Lalou never fails to impress with her unparalleled depth and understanding of the most hidden corners of Burgundy’s terroir.
Savigny-lès-Beaune is a small village near Beaune that produces delightful red and white wines under its own appellation name. Cut by a river, the vineyards on its southern side have sandy soils that result in charming, floral reds. Premiers Crus vineyards on this side include Les Peuillets, Les Narbantons, Les Rouvrettes and Les Marconnets.
On Savigny’s northern side, bordering Pernand-Vergelles, vineyards are planted on rocky soils and produce juicy and spicy Pinot Noir. The village’s best whites, all made of Chardonnay, are full on the palate and abound in texture, complexity and freshness.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”