Champagne Leroy – Brut Blanc des Blancs – 100% Chardonnay
June 20th 2016 marks the Summer Solstice, a time when Mid-Summer is celebrated. Pagans believe that the veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest, a time when fairies and spirits are often seen. The sun rose this morning at 4.45am and will set around 10.45pm. A total of 17 hours of light are blessed upon us this eve. From here on in, certainly in the northern hemisphere the nights get longer… Luckily this won’t be noticed for a while yet! So… with 17 hours of daylight, perhaps even sunshine to enjoy and the potential to celebrate a Pagan festival or the arrival of Tinkerbell, what better way to do this then with a delightful bottle of bubbles?
Champagne Leroy is located in the heart of Champagne in Northern France, in the small village of A Villers-aux-Noeuds and housed in a former monastery, Mr Leroy is busy creating his own magic.
Champagne has always enjoyed associations with a rich following, the drink of kings and the favoured slurp of life’s winners – it’s often overlooked nowadays in favour of its poorer distant relative, Prosecco. The major difference being that champagne is actually a product of fermentation, the bubbles are naturally occurring, the taste and style of the wine are as much part of the drinks identity and character as is the name. The same cannot be said for Prosecco.
The terroir of Champagne is such that the vines need to work hard, the soil type is similar to areas of England, recently Champagne houses have been buying areas of land geographically similar to Champagne in the hope of creating similarly exciting wines with less strict controls. Limestone subsoil and dual climate coupled with excellent drainage and varying microclimates help to produce the world’s most famous drink. There are three permitted grapes used in Champagne, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier but also white Chardonnay.
Mr Leroy is part of a fourth generation, of Champagne makers, he produces 6 different types, this example is in my opinion the best, the Blanc des Blanc. It’s 100% Chardonnay and is simply heavenly. The appearance is that of a delicate white gold, befitting of royalty. The bubble stream constant and equally as delicate. On the nose there is a fresh slight citrus edge and the unmistakable delicate perfume of champagne. On the pallet it’s a refreshing crisp apple bite, followed by the punchy acidity of the chardonnay. There is a slight creaminess and the merest hint of brioche. The acidity is balanced to perfection, and the finish is of a medium length. There is real potential for this to age well, although it’s drinking excellently now. It pairs perfectly with sea food, notably smoked Salmon or Oysters. It’s also excellent as an aperitif and delicious enjoyed on its own.
Interestingly Champagne and Strawberries have always paired particularly well together, which given the “Strawberry moon”, the first since 1967 to coincide with the Solstice is perhaps the perfect reason to pop a cork sit back and enjoy quick slurp.