Introduction to the Marvellous Leroy Auction

By Serena Sutcliffe, M.W.

M any memorable auctions have a silver thread running through them, reflecting the personal preferences and passions of the collector. This remarkable sale is stamped with the authority of someone who is often described as the Queen of Burgundy, Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy. Her influence in this most blessed of French wine regions is profound and she has spread wide her convictions and experience. She has also created huge worldwide demand for her wines, with devotees going to great lengths to find those appellations and crus that particularly appeal to them. It is a market that is difficult to satisfy, but this very special auction will bring much happiness to all those who consider Domaine and Maison Leroy and Domaine d’Auvenay to be rallying calls.

Lalou Bize-Leroy loved wine from her youth and was brought up amongst the vines, the daughter of the famed Henri Leroy who became co-owner of the Domaine de la Romanée Conti. At first, Lalou Bize-Leroy concentrated her talents on her selection of wines for Maison Leroy but, in 1988, she bought Domaine Charles Noëllat with its great vineyard holdings, thus forming the basis of Domaine Leroy. A year later, she made her first vintage at the newly created estate of Domaine d’Auvenay. From the outset, she was committed to old vines, massal selections and healthy soil, which led to becoming one of the first advocates and practitioners in Burgundy of biodynamics. Low yields and infinite care at every stage of winemaking are a given, with long macerations for the reds and bottling according to the lunar calendar. The Domaine d’Auvenay wines, with a preponderance of white wines, have great elegance and intensity, while Domaine Leroy’s reds have an authority, a depth and an impressive fleshiness that demand attention – and excite wild enthusiasm.

All the fabulous Domaine Leroy Grands Crus from the Côte de Nuits are here, vying for your attention in a phenomenal range of vintages. You may wish to keep some further, as they age with splendour, but I would be tempted to start ‘comparing and contrasting’ at the earliest possible moment. Opportunities like this do not arise very often and a favourite phrase of mine, where great wine is concerned, is ‘strike while the iron is hot’! The Maison Leroy wines here are also formidable – I have a particular penchant for the Meursault Les Perrières.

A pivotal part of this sale is the possibility of studying a mosaic of styles and ‘climats’ from an array of other top Burgundy Domaines, such as Coche Dury, Lafon, DRC, Leflaive, Bouchard, Dujac, Jayer and Mugnier. My own pick might be the Jeroboam of Clos des Lambrays 2002, which I covet with ill-disguised longing, for both the marvellous character of this Clos and the perfect charm and fragrance of the vintage.

We hope that this magnificent Leroy collection, with its Burgundian friends and neighbours, will form a beacon to fine drinking at a time when we all deserve a distribution of vinous pleasure, to share with like-minded wine lovers.

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