Wine Monopole

 

The Leroy family started the negociant business (Maison Leroy) in 1868. It was her father, Henri Leroy, who continued to build a successful business and laid the foundation for the family. In 1942, Henri made probably one of the best investment decisions ever in Burgundy history – acquiring 50% of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

Since 1974, Mme. Lalou Bize represented her family interest in DRC and became the co-manager of DRC and was responsible for marketing and distribution. The fame (and sales) of DRC had risen over time and became the absolutely most sought-after Burgundy wines in the world. After Henri passed away in 1980, the Leroy family interest was passed to Mme. Lalou Bize  and her sister Pauline Roch. However, as one can imagine, disagreements and disputes often arise in 50/50 partnership, and this is no difference. In 1992, Mme Lalou was ousted out of the DRC partnership by her sister and her partner. 

Since 1988, Mme. Lalou had been acquiring sizable vineyard holdings in Vosne-Romanee and Gevrey-Chambertin and gradually building up the winery business of the family - Domaine Leroy. She brought in a patient investor to help achieve such goal – Takashimaya. While owned 1/3 each by Mme Lalou-Bize, her sister and this Japanese giant, Mme. Lalou-Bize was the only “boss” and being left alone to pursue perfection in her vines and wines.

At the same time, Mme. Lalou Bize bought out the share of her sister in Domaine d’Auvenay, which the two sisters inherited from their father. This personal domaine had been expanding with additional vineyards and was managed by her late husband until 2004. Since then, this had become the third arm of Mme. Lalou Bize’s wine empire.

Since the establishment of Maison Leroy, Henri Leroy had been acquiring quality wines and maturing them in their private cellar. The cellar is believed to hold more than a million bottles of fine wines, dating back with vintages in late 1910s. These wines would then be released to market when Mme. Lalou Bize considers the wines mature and appropriate. There are no formal contracts between Maison Leroy and the growers. She tastes from the growers each year and only decides to buy if the quality is excellent. Well, with such a deep reserve, there is no pressure at all to buy every year.

What’s the recipe of her success in DRC and then her own businesses? She believes that her wines should express the terrior and her viticulture reflects this philosophy. She was the pioneer in adopting biodynamic in late 1980s. She takes exceptional care of the vines throughout the year and maintains an exceptionally low yield. The quality and longevity of her wine would speak for itself.

Besides her renowned “control-freakiness” and superb winemaking skills, Mme. Lalou-Bize is a chic and athletic woman, famous for her designer wardrobe and love for rock-climbing. Her wine tasting skill (and speed) is also unparalleled – tasting to her is simply a confirmation what she thinks is in the glass.

We would continue to roll out wines from Leroy over time, please stay tuned. In the meantime, check out few of our currently available selections, these are at much affordable tariff but with extraordinary quality.

Written by Wine Monopole — March 08, 2013

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