It’s the season for bubbles (though in fairness, is there such a thing as a bad time for Champagne?), and I’ve been able to enjoy a few good Champagnes in recent weeks.
At the start of this year, I had been keen on exploring Champagne in more depth beyond just the couple of big houses that I knew well, and was able to familiarize myself with a number of small growers making some incredible wines that, for me, were as compelling as some of the best wines I’ve had from the likes of Taittinger and Krug.
One producer that has consistently wowed me time and time again is Marie-Noelle Ledru. Ledru is a small grower based in Ambonnay, whose land is split between there and Bouzy.
I’ve had access to a few of her different bottlings imported by Bonhomie Wine on the east coast, which I’ve purchased from Chambers St. Wines and Crush Wines and Spirits in New York. At all price points and styles, the wines are stunning. Marie-Noelle Ledru’s wines aren’t particularly expensive considering their quality, and most of her wines retail in the $50-70 price range.
I’ve found these wines to be the equal of any top grower such as Cédric Bouchard or Selosse, with a remarkable sense of purity and focus to the flavors, fantastic depth and amazing balance.
Tasting notes on a few of her wines follow below the fold.
2002 Marie-Noelle Ledru Champagne Grand Cru Brut Nature
A little oxidative at first with vanilla cream and nutty notes on top of rich doughy and white fruited flavours, but with some air the oxidative aspects blow off and the fruit freshens up as freshly baked brioche and chalky elements emerge. There’s superb balance, a wonderful sense of clarity and purity to the flavours and fantastic length.
2006 Marie-Noelle Ledru Champagne Brut Rosé de Saignée Grand Cru
The darkest rosé I’ve come across; this is an incredibly bright red, looking like more like cherry soda than any wine I’ve seen before. It’s also remarkably un-Champagne-like, not showing any yeasty/autolytic flavours but instead it’s all about incredibly pure cherry and raspberry fruit over a vivid chalky mineral base. There’s a sense of real refreshment here and while it may not be the most complex wine right now, it’s certainly compelling and very enjoyable.
2007 Marie-Noelle Ledru Champagne Grand Cru Brut
Stellar Champagne. This is all about purity and elegance; incredibly fresh pear and citrus fruit framed by layers of chalky, doughy and gingerbread notes, all conveyed on a medium weight frame with remarkable focus, vibrancy and balance. A stunning bottle of wine, and easily the most impressive grower Champagne I’ve had this year.
2008 Marie-Noelle Ledru Coteaux Champenois Ambonnay Rouge
A break from bubbles with Ledru’s still red Pinot Noir. Quite high toned and acid-driven with very fresh red berried fruit seasoned by spicy, herbal, slightly stemmy and earthy elements. It comes across slightly reticent and closed, with the aromatics developing quite slowly with air and a rather tannic, short finish.
2007 Marie-Noelle Ledru Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée du Goulté
This is Ledru’s flagship cuvée, which retails around $65-70, and is a Blanc de Noirs. It’s outstanding. Starts out full of savoury doughy and brioche notes around a core of fresh lemon and pear fruit, and with air more exotic gingery spicy elements and minerally accents emerge. There’s great balance, depth and a sense of purity to the flavours here and it’s a wine I’m excited to have a few bottles of in the cellar.
For those interested in reading more on Ledru, Brooklynguy has more from his visit there.