Remi Leroy’s vineyards are like a wellness spa for his vines when compared to neighboring vineyards. All the vines for his vines are organically farmed and a walk through them shows his deep respect for nature, unlike the vineyards on all four sides of his, which are void of life except the vine itself. Sadly, Champagne is all too often an atrocity of abused, unhealthy soils rich in herbicides, pesticides and vines with unnatural probiotic systemic treatments and excessive spraying of everything under the sun you don’t want in your wines. For the majority of the Grandes Marques Champagne houses, it’s all about volume of grapes, so small growers make sure the poundage is high when their vats hit the scales, regardless of how mistreated the grapes may have been, as long as they are grapes.
Remi Leroy grew up in Meurville, a small town in the south of Champagne, within the Aube. In the past, the Leroy family sold off all their grapes to local negociants, but today Remi vinifies only 1/3 of his family’s nine hectares of vineyards under his label—the rest are sold for a handsome price to big Champagne houses, which is paid upon pickup! For the Leroys it is purely a financial decision to continue to sell grapes because the return is quick when compared to the long return on investment with the wines they make themselves. Remi has the intention to someday use all of their grapes for their own label.
Lay Of The Land
Champagne is a monstrously large wine producing region—it could take one more than three hours of solid driving to get from one end to the other! The Aube is Champagne’s most southerly extreme and if it weren’t so close to Chablis, it would feel like it’s out in Timbuktu. Though the soil here is identical to most of Chablis (hard Portlandian limestone overlaying the softer decomposing Kimmeridgian limestone with varying degrees of clay) as it is on the famous geological formation we refer to as the Kimmeridgian chain. Naturally one would think that with its proximity to Chablis that it might be better suited for Chardonnay, but because of the more southerly temperatures, Pinot Noir is the major shareholder of vineyard land.
Meurville, the Leroy’s hometown, is unique in the sense that a large portion of Pinot Noir is planted to Portlandian soil, giving it a distinct disposition. Portlandian limestones are hard stones and have a much harder time decomposing than Kimmeridgian stones. The tend to make wines that are of forceful and weighty. Thankfully, Remi has a soft touch in the cellar and knows how to sculpt his wines into beautifully balanced wines.