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A Woman’s Paris: Carol Duval-Leroy on the Essence of Exceptional Champagne

womans parisA Woman’s Paris, a publication “captivated by women and men … who use their discipline, wit and resourcefulness to make their own way and who excel at what the French call joie de vivre,” has published an interview with Carol Duval-Leroy, President of Champagne Duval-Leroy.

We present a few questions and answers from this wide-ranging conversation here. Please visit A Woman’s Paris to see the entire interview.

AWP: Winemaking in France has been an industry dominated by men. When you entered the industry in 1991, at age 36, what were the challenges and how did you grapple with the cultural differences? How has it changed?

CDL: I was only 36 and had 3 children. For managing such a company, that was far from the standard of the industry. I was not even from Champagne or French. Only a few thought I would be up for the challenge. What pushed me to success is the promise I made to my husband that I would transmit the familial company to our children.

The challenges were numerous, but I overcame them. When I am looking back, I am first of all proud of what I have accomplished as a mother… that’s probably a main difference with my male counterparts!

Regarding the wine industry in general, I doubt the situation for women evolved much. We always have to prove ourselves more than men.

AWP: What are the great traditional culinary pairings with Champagne Duval-Leroy?

CDL: I made a whole book (called Femme de Champagne) about this, and I am thinking sometimes about doing a new one! There are so many possibilities depending of the cuvée you pick. It is traditionally easy to pair champagne with fish. Yet some older vintages, like Femme de Champagne 2000, are magnificent with poultry and a creamy sauce with morels. I also love our Femme de Champagne Rosé with duck or pigeon. We even produced a rosé champagne, Lady Rose, in collaboration with Pierre Hermé with more sweetness to perfectly match desserts with red fruits, or his famous macaroons!

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