One of the most impressive wine cellars in Cambodia, Topaz has a dedicated, atmosphere-controlled space where we keep our carefully selected range of premier and prestige wines including Duval Leroy Champagne, for which Thalias is the exclusive supplier in Cambodia.
Honored for its reknown excellence of sparkling wines, Duval-Leroy Champagne has become a celebrated name in the world of wine. Its dry, bubbly wines are often associated with elegance and celebration. Many top sommeliers describe Duval-Leroy’s Champagne as elegant and well-structured.
The most famous Champagne wineries are called “houses”, they usually source grapes from small farmers in the region of Champagne.
Founded over 160 years ago, Champagne Duval-Leroy is a label with strong historical ties to the world of fine wines. A brand inspired by passion, not fashion, the Duval-Leroy winery is located in the Côte des Blancs region of Champagne within the village of Vertus. The house of Duval-Leroy produces both vintage and non-vintage cuvées and a line of organic wines. It is also known for pioneering a sustainable model for its viticulture expansion.
House of Duval-Leroy
The house of Duval-Leroy was formed in 1859, when Edouard Leroy, a wine trader from the town of Villers-Franqueux, allied with Jules Duval, a grape-grower and winemaker from Vertus. The partnership lead to a wedding between their children. Then the Duval-Leroy heir and successor, Raymond was born. In 1911, Raymond Duval-Leroy revolutionized the Champagne world by creating the first champagne crafted entirely from Premier Crus grapes.
Cuvée can be a term used for the mixture of any combination of wine—vineyards, vintages or varieties. In 1911, champagne was ranked through a three-tier system of “Grands Crus”, “Premiers Crus” and “Crus non-classes”. Raymond famously launched a new cuvée made exclusively from “premier crus”, the first such cuvée at the time. He named it “fleur de champagne” which means “flower of champagne” for its white flower aroma. The cuvée was an immediate success and continues to be popular today.
War and Modernization
Over the next few decades, Duval-Leroy grew and experienced the damages felt by all champagne houses during both world wars. When France fell under German occupation, Raymond even took measures to shut down production to prevent the cellars from being looted by the nazis. Work continued after the war ended.
In 1950, Charles Roger took over from his father Raymond. In 1985, his son Jean Charles decided it was time for a major upgrade of the Duval-Leroy facilities and line of wines. He started a new prestige cuvée, which would later become “Femme de Champagne”.
The Lady of Champagne
Jean Charles Duval-Leroy died of cancer in 1991, at the age of 39. His widow, Carol Duval-Leroy, was left with three young boys and a company to run. Jean Charles made her promise to take care of the company and keep it in the family.
Belgium-born Carol Duval-Leroy took over the company and excelled in her new role. Over the past three decades, she kept her promise and successfully helped the company thrive, by expanding exports and increasing production.
Her first decision was to push forward the new prestige Cuvee proposed by her late husband. She decided to call it “Femme de Champagne” (Woman of Champagne) in honor of the company ran by a woman. Formed from 85% chardonnay and 15% pinot noir, which was grown in Grands Crus areas, Femme de Champagne is known for its elegant delicacy, thus seen as feminine champagne.
Her second decision was to create a new position in the company for Sandrine Logette-Jardin to become “head of Quality control”. Within three years, Duval-Leroy became the first house of champagne granted the ISO 9002 certification.
Eleven years later, in 2005, Sandrine Logette-Jardin, became the first woman to become the head winemaker at Duval-Leroy and in the Champagne region.
After a while, Carol Duval-Leroy’s three sons joined her at the company. Julien, the eldest is General Manager, Charles handles Communications and Marketing, and Louis, the youngest is in charge of public relations.
Champagne is fast gaining a new fanbase with its comitment to sustainability. Once known for being the black sheep among the French wine regions on environmental awareness, Champagne is fast on its way to leading the industry in the environmental and sustainable stance on development of agriculture and winemaking. Duval-Leroy developed a rigorous program for wine growing after focusing on microbiological diversity in the vineyard, reducing sprayings, reducing the carbon footprint, and treating and reusing waste and water.
Since 2000, they have cut the use of weed killers in the vineyard by over 50%, water consumption by 30%, and installed renewable energies for the new winery. They also have solar panels powering and heating the tasting room, reception areas, and wine resting areas. A green wall made of over 2500 plants helps brings insulation from both heat and sound to the space, while providing a cool temperature and dampening noises for winemaking.
Duval-Leroy was the first house to produce a Cuvee from organically grown pinot noir grapes. This Cuvee is called “Authentis” and has received the “Ecocert” (for “eco-certification”) label. They also produce a “Brut AB”, from organically grown grapes. “AB” stands for “agriculture Biologique”, the French equivalent of “organic agriculture”.
Although champagne is from grapes, it is not always vegan. Due to the wine used to create this bubbly concoction, many winemakers add fining agents from animal products to help lessen the bitterness of the wine. This process removes the proteins that can cause the wine to be cloudy or change its color.
The process lets the champagne clear up by letting the wine rest three months longer than usual. This means that Duval-Leroy does not need to add fining agents, which can have milk protein, gelatin and egg whites.
Written by Sotheavy Nou