Domaine Leroy   Clos de la Roche Grand Cru

2011 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru

By Domaine Leroy

2011 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru from Domaine Leroy, Burgundy, France

The nobility of the 2011 vintage from Domaine Leroy finds its embodiment in the intricate layering and distinguished character of their Clos de la Roche Grand Cru. Wrapped in the enigmatic terroir of Burgundy, this wine represents a particularly fascinating chapter in the storied tapestry of Domaine Leroy's offerings, resonating with both connoisseurs and investors alike.


Epitome of Elegance: A Wine of Complex Patronage

The 2011 vintage, a year marked by its early onset and swift progression, challenged Burgundian winemakers to harness the full potential of their vineyards under unique climatic conditions. The result, particularly for Domaine Leroy's Grand Cru, is a testament to the meticulous care and precision that shaped its creation. The producer’s almost transcendental dedication to biodynamic principles shines through in every nuanced sip.


Clos de la Roche's Quintessential Expression

My palate recalls the initial tasting of the 2011 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru with an indelible clarity: an intricate dance of wild red fruits and earthy undertones was poised against an unexpectedly vivacious acidity and fine-grained tannins. Impeccably balanced, it exudes whispers of nutmeg and violets, which linger long into its finish - a hallmark distinction of this climat within the mosaic of Burgundy.

As it resides in the glass, one distinguishes the precise moment when the austere precision of youth metamorphoses into a wine whose splendour has unfurled at last - a process expedited no doubt by that years' warmth. Investors looking towards allocations of 2011 Burgundies could scarcely overlook this jewel in Domaine Leroy's crown.

To immerse in the 2011 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru from Domaine Leroy is to embark on an enological exploration where the gifts of nature blend seamlessly with human artistry. Combining rarefied qualities – depth and luminosity, strength and grace – it stands as a vibrant embodiment of an unparalleled Burgundy vintage, ensuring its esteemed position amidst the pantheon of investable fine wines.

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Scores and tasting notes


The 2011 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru has a lifted, airy bouquet with wonderful delineation with scents of black plum, hints of mulberry and subtle oyster shell aromas. The palate is structured with firm tannins, foursquare at first but fanning out wonderfully on the second half. There is a gentle grip here with layers of pure black fruit laced with minerals and an extraordinarily long aftertaste. Since I started visiting chateaux and growers in 1997, I have been fortunate to have ticked off most of my personal Holy Grails, yet a handful remain. One was to visit Domaine Leroy and taste with Lalou Bize-Leroy, who I have only met briefly on two occasions in London. Given the responsibility of covering Burgundy, I avowed to tick that one off as soon as possible. So, on a sultry Thursday morning, I finally pulled into the pebbled courtyard of her winery in the village of Vosne with maybe just a single butterfly fluttering around inside. Lalou was stepping out of her 4x4, beloved dogs yapping around their mother and perhaps warning her of an intruder in their midst. They are not exactly cut out to be guard dogs – no offence intended. Lalou was exactly how I remembered – with her wiry frame, like a titanium alloyed twig. Her piercing hawk-like blue eyes and angular cheekbones would give Kate Moss a run for her money. She was attired like a fashionable thirty-something and exuded the vivacity of a twenty-something with a penchant for the occasional rock climb. After pleasantries we discussed her belief in biodynamism and the ways in which the cosmos affects Mother Nature down to the Earth’s core. We toured the rudimentary winery occupied by the black-painted wooden vats and then down below to a vaulted tasting room, bottles lying hither and thither of what must constitute every wine she has made since acquiring Charles Noellat’s holdings in 1988 to establish Domaine Leroy. She was courteous to the point of occasionally scolding herself for vocally enthusing about the wines, mindful of not disturbing my perspicuity. Did the wines stand up to their reputations and let us face it, stratospheric price? The answer is “Yes.” Here was a master-class in terroir: the wines made in almost identical fashion in the winery, so that what is perceived in bottle is the interplay between Mother Nature and vine (under the guiding hand of Rudolph Steiner philosophy). Of course, one must always remain objective, and I have been around the block enough times to simply relate precisely what I find within the radius of a wineglass. And in 2011, it was clear that the wines of Lalou Bize-Leroy seemed to deliver a sensational level of quality that would make most winemakers curl up and weep, asking: “How does she do it?” I had to inquire at the end of the tasting whether they were all matured entirely in new oak, so seamlessly was the wood embroidered into each cuvee. Tasting through the entire range of 23 wines, before zooming down to Domaine d’Auvenay, the high points were scintillating Nuits-St-Georges Village Crus that transcended all my expectations and the sheer consistency of the Grand Crus, perhaps with the exception of the 2011 Latricieres-Chambertin, which I have always found wanting in the past. The Romanee-St-Vivant could be the apotheosis of the vintage, certainly one of the finest that I have tasted from the domaine and even dared “out-finesse” the Richebourg. What amazed me was the otherworldly precision, as if you could pick out each aroma or flavor from the air. Only the Chambolle-Musigny Charmes appeared unruly when compared to its peers, a little too feisty on the nose for my liking. Otherwise, this is just magic in a glass. Importer: Martine’s Wines, Novato, CA; tel. (415) 883-0400

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 28 August 2013

Vintage performance