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Wine Review Online Lauds Duval-Leroy

In a recent piece on Wine Review Online, Champagne expert Ed McCarthy explores the women who have headed up Champagne houses, and features Carol Duval-Leroy and the wines from Champagne Duval-Leroy. Below are a trio of reviews from McCarthy, but don’t miss the full story, online here.

Champagne Duval-Leroy Premier Cru Brut NV:  This Champagne stunned me with its excellence.  Several years ago, I remember tasting Duval-Leroy’s standard brut when it was being imported into the U.S.  But this Premier Cru NV, made from 80 percent Premier and 20 percent Grand Crus, is in a class by itself.  With a cepage of 70 percent Chardonnay and 30 percent Pinot Noir, the Duval-Leroy Premier Cru could easily be mistaken for a Prestige Cuvée when tasted blind because of its finesse and class. Its bold flavors and striking acidity seduced me; I drained my glass of it and in fact decided to write this column based on this superb, delicious bubbly.  This Champagne and Duval-Leroy’s Prestige Cuvée, Femme, are considered the flagship Champagnes of this house, and I can understand that totally.  Suggested list price is $70, but if you shop around, you can find it in the $50 to $60 range, for me, a great value.  97

Champagne Duval-Leroy “Femme de Champagne” 2000:  Femme, Duval-Leroy’s prestige cuvee, is made only in exceptional years.  The 2000 release is the fourth vintage, following the 1990, 1995, and 1996.  It is comprised primarily of Chardonnay (95 percent), along with 5 percent Pinot Noir.  Many exceptional Grand Cru vineyards are used in the blend.  Femme ages 10 to 12 years in the winery before it is released.  I enjoyed my last bottle of 1990 Femme (its first vintage) just recently, and at the age of 25, it was perfect, with no signs of decline.  The 2000 Femme is silky, with lots of finesse, and will benefit with some more aging.  It might never reach the heights of the ’90, ’95, or especially ’96 Femmes, all better vintages than 2000.  But it’s a Champagne with lots of class.  $164, average price.  94

Champagne Duval-Leroy Rosé “Prestige” Premier Cru NV:  Duval-Leroy’s Rosé Premier Cru is made mainly from Pinot Noir (90 percent) with 10 percent Chardonnay.  It follows the same formula of Duval-Leroy’s Brut Premier Cru–80 percent Premier and 20 percent Grand Cru grapes, and is a lovely rosé.  I put in my notes, “drink in 2018,” indicating that I thought it would actually improve with a few years of aging.  It is dry, with cherry aromas; it’s a not-flashy rosé, with a quiet presence, not nearly so dramatic as the Brut Premier Cru.  I would attribute this to the excellent Chardonnay Côte des Blancs grapes (70 percent) in the first wine.  But the many rosé Champagne lovers, of which I am one, will be very happy with this Champagne.  Average price, $66.  92

(Aug. 4, 2015)

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